Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The future of the internet

  1. Aug 8, 2008 #1
    Take a look at this video.
    [crackpot link deleted]

    Recently comcast.net apparently blocked infowars.com, a news aggregation site with a focus on current affairs and the way our world works / how we can fight this invisible oppression.
    The guy in the video, the owner of infowars.com, is stating that the internet might die, when internet2 is put into action.
    The reason for this is that apparently many ISP's (if not all) will only allow certain websites to be browsed, and all other websites will be blocked.

    He speaks a lot about censorship, and net neutrality / open internet.

    So my question to you, and for general discussion about this, what do you feel is the future of the internet, and also indeed our very civilization?
    Is the censorship that is going on the right way to do it, to achieve security, or should we allow open internet to be free, but thus maybe have more dangers?
    Can we, and indeed should we, fight for our liberties? Is there anything to fear?
    And what do you think can be done, if anything needs to be done at all, to make sure the right thing occurs in the future?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2008 #2
    No, it's a site for crackpot conspiracy theories, but that's irrelevant in this case.

    If the Free Market (TM) really works, then you'll have a smaller ISP crop up that allows access to all the [strike]filthy porn[/strike] information you want and eventually come out on top.

    Yeah, don't hold your breath.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2008
  4. Aug 8, 2008 #3
    As long as they don't take away my 4chan I'm good to go. They can take whatever else they want.
  5. Aug 8, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah, cause that's how capitalism works - narrow your customers' choices. :rolleyes:
  6. Aug 8, 2008 #5
    1) I think you are confusing capitalism with the free market. Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production, the free market consists of rational decision makers who determine the price of goods according to the laws of supply and demand.

    2) I agree with the point of your sarcasm, that the free market should encourage corporations to expand consumer choices, and I would therefore infer that regulation is necessary to achieve a truly free market, in the Economist's sense.
  7. Aug 8, 2008 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Dave is wrong, WP is right. You will see capitalism hit Comcast hard if they do this. They are already in a heavy fight with Verizon and something like this could absolutely kill them.

    That aside, legislation may take care of this. If it doesn't, proxy servers will.
  8. Aug 8, 2008 #7
    Take a look at book publications or news information. It used to be you could get more decent books at the stores, now everything is mostly catered to pop-culture books, romance novels, and other fast money makers. The media has also been dumbed down to a great degree.

    I'm not sure about the former, but I really doubt people directly wanted sensationalist programming. I think the companies just decided investigative reporting costs too much, and they could get just enough viewers with this sensationalist stuff, so profits won out over their service to the public.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the internet went this same way, with the blocked sites being the ones "people didn't want."
  9. Aug 8, 2008 #8
    Do we agree that DaveC was clearly being sarcastic? He seems like a conservative fellow.

    Anyway, I do think that a free-market can only exist under regulation, because with massive corporations controlling the economy they gain too much power and can, in effect, regulate the economy themselves, hurting the economy. I think it's been shown that for every job a Wal-Mart creates, three good ones are lost, and so on. Not to mention the corporations get so big, they government feels they need to provide favors to them or their constituents will get mad and actually blame them for lost jobs.
  10. Aug 8, 2008 #9
    You misunderestimated my point.

    The "don't hold your breath" part was referring to the Free Market fairy coming and saving the day.

    Your average person fumbles through the internet on a daily basis, and likely doesn't care enough to change their ISP simply because one of their websites is blocked. Especially if it means going to one who is small, since they don't have the customer support and availability that Comcast or Verizon do.

    The only people who would care enough to switch would be geeks who like information and knowledge. I suspect they (...ahem... we) make up a small portion of the internet users around, so we wouldn't make much of a difference. Definitely not enough to damage the giants.

    Legislation? The government? No wai!!!!
  11. Aug 8, 2008 #10
    But guys, regardless of if this infowars site is a crackpot site.. The fact that ISP's and other companies keep blocking sites is by default bad.
    Many other people fight for an 'open internet' where only the bad stuff might be blocked, like spam, sexual abuse, phishing sites and others.
    The fact is that blocking a site like infowars, even IF it is crackpot, is bad.
    That means that people can't even reach the site, they are being robbed of information because their isp/government/whoever decides that they aren't allowed to read it.

    It's a purely harmless site in theory, if it creates more crackpots then that's not really anything THEY can do about it, because they would go to other sites and whatnot anyway.
    And furthermore, who knows what they will decide to block, and why?
    They can in theory block anything.
    And they are also filtering peer 2 peer traffic in many ISPs.

    My first post I think was pretty open to suggestions, I did not say "HEY they are blocking everything" I was simply asking to keep an open mind, because believe it or not.. Not everyone wants an "open internet."
  12. Aug 8, 2008 #11


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh good grief. The internet is a private commercial for profit network. I don't have the time to set everyone straight on this again. I will look up the last thread on this a bit later.

    I don't blame you all for not understanding what the internet is since you aren't involved in it as I am.

    I realize to you guys it's like turning on the tv or something. You can't discuss something you don't understand and have no knowledge of.

    I'll just say. You don't understand.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2008
  13. Aug 8, 2008 #12


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I've watched the video and I'm locking this. It's conspiracy theory straight from the horse's a--mouth, the owner of infowars himself. He says quite a bit in that video that is just plain wrong - crazy, even. He's a certifiable nutcase.

    In the video he says he's only repeating what those in the industry say themselves. So, here's what comcast has to say about the subject:
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  14. Aug 8, 2008 #13


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, actually, I do believe that Comcast did block some peer to peer streams due to standard network congestion monitoring. No conspiracy though. It was standard network congestion control.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: The future of the internet
  1. Future of the UN (Replies: 5)

  2. Internet Regulations (Replies: 93)