Information Highway: The Final Free Frontier

The internet has long been a haven of freedom, neutrality, and open information. It has for decades been a way in which people can connect, share ideas and innovations, and simply enjoy free time. Many of these aspects today remain, but there is an ever increasing threat to the safety and freedom of our internet rights. Many social networking sites press and drill for our personal information, from what kinds of foods we like to see, to where we will be spending our weekends. This information is often auctioned off to the highest bidder in an effort to garner a profitable idea of who you are and what companies can sell to you, but this is hardly the most egregious assault currently in action. Wireless network providers can stifle and bottleneck access and speed to sites they do not currently have contract deals with, oppressive governments can completely bar access to content they feel threatened by (as has been regularly demonstrated within the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East), and media companies like Apple and even Youtube can control or limit what information you have access to or ever share within the bounds of their programs /websites; the internet may soon very well be a much less free place.

These are of course simply a few examples of an issue that is largely in the minority at the moment, but the possible futures they entail can be quite chilling indeed. The internet itself was built on the principles of freedom of information, a system founded by multiple outlets and individuals all working together across a digital medium to share ideas and content. This is the true spirit of the internet, and it is the exact way that it needs to stay. So one might ask, what is it I can do to help ensure that our rights as human beings, entitled to certain personal security even on the internet, are not threatened or abolished entirely? The answer is actually articulated simply enough, be informed. Pay attention to the questions in the User agreements for every change facebook makes conscerning your private information, read up on and actively participate in the voting of Government backed laws that would greatly limit and oppress the freedom of speech and information across the Web, learn the rights you have even while online and spread that knowledge to others around you. You’ll find that simply acknowledging a problem is often the first step to solving it, the internet is our final safe haven of true freedom. And if we aren’t careful, this information highway will be shutdown for good.

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