We Own the Web, and You Can’t Stop the Signal!

WWW Foundation

WWW Foundation

A month ago at the NETmundial Conference (A Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance. The meeting is organized in a partnership between the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) and /1Net, a forum that gathers international entities of the various stakeholders involved with Internet governance.) TBL said:

The Web we will have in 25 years time is by no means clear, but is completely up to us to decide what we want to make that web, make that world. That is why I am asking web users around the world – not just us in this conference room today – to define a global Magna Carta for the internet. That’s why I am asking countries everywhere to follow Brazil’s example and develop positive laws that protect and expand the rights of users to an open, free and universal Web.

While I think this could be a really good initiative, I also think that whatever governments and large corporations do, the the design of the net and the Web layer upon in will ensure that it is a grass-roots technology which for the most part cannot be controlled. People may cite China as an example of having banned websites, but it is only because these websites choose to ‘enable’ that ban that it works at all. Rotating IPs and DNS entries, using VPNs and other services providing anonymity, allows access – we know it does as people in China access banned sites all the time.

Control on the Web is often an illusory concept, and while I don’t want to break my countries laws, as soon as they enforce censorship, or act in a detrimental way to the Web then I will.

As they say ‘you can’t stop the signal!

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