Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Internet Zombie Invasion

Brisbane Zombie Walk 2009 by Albert "YingYang" Mactan 
Over the Holidays, I had a recurring dream about a zombie outbreak in the US.
As sometimes happens in my dreams, it was all very cinematic. The casting and production were top-notch.
There were a bunch of these dreams, sometimes two or three in one night. Each one followed the story a single person and how they were trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse.

Most didn't make it.

We were fighting a losing battle. The mindless actions of the zombies were defeating us because they were tough and single-minded.

And, no: I haven't been watching "The Walking Dead."
(I don't have cable - I'm waiting for the DVD.)

The dreams didn't stop until I figured out the metaphore: creatures with no intelligent presence in the world of the Internet are mindlessly attacking it.

We will certainly see a huge blow to civil liberties when the new US legislature convenes and loses its collective mind over WikiLeaks.
Yesterday, the Open Internet suffered an incredible blow when the FCC accepted the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC/Universal.

The "small government conservatives" are already attacking the FCC for attempting any sort of oversight of Internet communications.  They are casting recent FCC actions as a regulatory power grab.  I've been on the fence about "Net Neutrality," but recently it's become clear for me. A free and open Internet is required for the US to stay a major player in the technological world. A major reason China hasn't already blown by us is the limitations and restrictions they place on the Internet.
I don't really fear regulation right now as much as I fear tollways and private restrictions on the domestic Internet.  We are building a future that relies on the Ubiquitous Internet as much as our current world relies on cheap and reliable electricity.
Comcast doesn't want to sell us cheap and reliable bits. They want to sell us Premium Content.

But what the zombies don't (perhaps can't) understand is that the Internet isn't a thing. It's not even a service. It's a place. It's a place where they are not alive. Just animated corpses terrorizing the citizens.
They don't understand our fear as they shamble along. Destroying synapses in the hive mind. Eating at our brains so they can sell Grandma another season of The Marriage Ref.

If the United States is to be a player in the technological world of the near future, we MUST have a platform to build on. Our new businesses must know the costs of working on the Internet without the looming threat that ISPs will simply take them offline or hold their content ransom.
Or those businesses will leave the country.
It's already happening.
The last two companies for whom I did "due diligence" research were looking at moving to Canada.
They can still hire Silicon Valley contractors, but the Canadian government was being a lot more friendly to online creators.

In the EU, they don't even have this discussion. Internet providers aren't content companies. By keeping those roles separate, the Free Market can set pricing and availability of Internet services and content. It's the government-supported monopolies and duopolies that create the need for regulation here in the US.

Of course, many countries in the EU have caved in to pressure from US media companies and have legislated ridiculous (as in "worthy of ridicule) copyright controls. But that problem will solve itself as new publishers opt out of the current systems.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment here.