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“The Internet began as an unlikely collaboration between the military and academia.  This fact alone explains much of its contradictory character.  The military wanted to link their giant mainframe computers together to share data in order to build better bombs and rockets.  They also needed a robust system, open-ended and flexible enough to be extended indefinitely but sufficiently rugged to withstand nuclear attack.  The generals turned to the geeks just as they had during the Second World War.  Isolated in their cozy ivory towers, the scientists wanted to share data and multitask easily.  The system they created elegantly embodied their liberal ideals as well as the military’s strict requirements.  It would be transparent from end to end.  It was also anonymous and egalitarian, in that all data would be treated equally regardless of either source or destination.  Scientists built these values into the Net’s core protocols, or agreed methods of doing things.  Programs can certainly be devised to weigh, block, or trace data, but they are all additions to the protocols, not replacements.  The fact is that freedom for good or evil is built into the very foundation of the Internet.  Any attempt by anyone on any level to limit it in any way is an application built on top of that.  And what one application can do, another can undo.” – Jay Nelson, “Can the Internet Be Tamed?” (emphasis in original)

Published inEconomicsPolitics & LawVerandah

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