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Commercialization brought the Internet to the masses. It also gave us spam


Commercialization brought the Internet to the masses. It also gave us spam.

Carly Goodman

Internet users and activists are launching the final phase of a summer campaign to protect “net neutrality” in the Trump era. Under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to classify Internet service providers (ISPs) as “common carriers” that, like telephone lines, are required to distribute service equally. If the FCC reverses this classification, as it intends to, the big telecom and cable companies that connect you to the Internet could block, slow or prioritize access to Web content based on who is willing to pay.


I thought Hormel “gave” us Spam.



i dispute a basic premise here: That commercialization and privatization bring us faster development of technology and society. To the limited extent that this is true, it is only true because of distortions imposed on the economy, on democracy, and on society by commercial and private interests.

And i dispute that faster development is “better.” Would society and the economy be “worse” if the rate of development were slower, and the penetration of society and the economy by technology had gone at a lower speed than it has since the telegraph was introduced, or since the computer was introduced?

There are vast losses - ecological, cultural, and personal - that are not accounted for on the “balance sheet” of assets and liabilities produced by technological development.

We now stand at the brink of both ecological collapse, and the direct networking of humanity into a single web. The accelerating rush to this brink takes place with almost zero public deliberation regarding the costs and benefits, and with almost zero democratic process regarding the pace and limitations. Meanwhile, the profiteering private and commercial interests who are in the driver’s seat with their foot on the accelerator, bombard our consciousness with slick advertising and propaganda promoting the wonders that their next apps and devices will bring…

Direct brain / chip interface is just around the corner. Who owns the operating system and software that will connect us all?


Actually, commercialization did not “bring the Internet to the masses.”

The Web was largely popularized by Graphical User Interface browsing of HyperText Markup Language by a program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications by Marc Andreesson and others.

This was based on various other protocols developed in government agencies for operation over government and university networks, ARPANET and several others, which were eventually connected.

Whatever right one may feel that they did or did not have to do so, so-called “entrepreneurs” took the work that taxpayers had funded once, laced it with backdoors, sold it back to the same taxpayers, impeded and slowed and complicated transmission by altering and subverting protocols to hamper each other, loaded commercial functions onto client computers to the point that these began to resemble denial-of-service attacks, and peppered the information channels with the disinformation we call “advertising.”

This most recent of various attempts by a collusion of government and industry to destroy the Net as a source of information by making truth and reporting and dissemination of information a matter for control by the highest bidder is consistent with the acts of both Democratic and Republican administrations in extending backdoors–third-party override controls–to both hardware and software in personal computers, telephones, cars, and even climate control in offices and homes.

Money and power do not bring knowledge nor allow the possessor to reliably purchase it. So it has not been simple nor straightforward for government and organized crime to regain control over the dissemination of information.

They may not altogether manage, but they are working on it, and seem to manage to keep doing business despite a long-term and broad increase in public awareness that for present they do not much seem to understand nor know how to measure.


Oh shucks - net neutrality or no - Google is already censoring via its search engine …


Just be glad that with Net Neutrality we have the choice of other, better, search engines. Should it go how long until Google strikes a deal with the ISPs to throttle the speeds of every other search engine. All in the name of filtering out “face news” of course.


That brings up another issue - our insatiable demand for more and more speed … so if we don’t have net neutrality, will folks trade openness for speed …


I think we ought to “divest” from the web … For some time now i have been decrying the tendency of our social “movements” to become so dependent on “social media” …


The FCC will try to mask it as that. However since killing Net Neutrality stifles competition they will have no reason to actually follow up on these claims. Just artificially slow down connections to most customers and claim that the people who pay more are getting “faster” speeds, while in the end they will be fast as they are now. That being said people do genuinely want faster internet. The U.S. actually has one of the slowest internet speeds of the modern nations. It would take a lot of work to update the internet here but apparently the ISPs rather spend that money donating to congress to pass their egregious legislation.


Perhaps you have a point but if every other media outlet ignores such “movements” without portraying them in a negative light than it is understandable why people would gravitate to social media. Unfortunately sites like facebook seem to appropriate such movements to their own agenda.


I think preserving net neutrality may keep the ISPs from giving some sites faster speed but it will do nothing about preventing censorship …


It’s not that i oppose using social media - it is the over-dependence on it I think is a problem and a mistake, neglecting or even denigrating more “old-fashioned” forms - that can actually reach wider audiences with uncensored, unedited material. Tom Paine stoked a revolution with a printing press - pamphlets hand delivered and posted on trees - we don’t have so many trees, but we do have copy machines and shoeleather … I think the only press we can count on to be free is the one we create ourselves …


Most of my life the trend has been - PRIVATIZE…PRIVATIZE !!!

At least for essential public utilities, I think this is a mistake, and The Internet is such an essential service, in my opinion.

But there is a cart and a horse here.

Our governments have been privatized - bought out - and so talk of public utilities is at the present time “pie in the sky”.

It is extremely difficult to make the case that capitalism is other than a death march, and I say this as one who once had his own small company, who was once, for a year, even a stockbroker.

The idea of markets is not the problem, nor of free enterprise.

The problem is reality.

In our present system markets are rigged for the one percent, if you know what I mean, and free enterprise works only at the small scale - it is monopoly and control in the large public domain of publicly traded corporations.

So - how to revamp or even replace capitalism, and take back our governments ?

And even there - a somnolent and easily led and propagandized electorate - is this really capable of taking care of itself and of us in a world such as we now inhabit ?

“Nations have hardly begun as yet to have real morality. They are little more than beasts of prey.”

  • Fridjtof Nansen (Arctic explorer & winner of the Nobel Peace Prize), Rectorial Address to St. Andrew’s University, 3rd November, 1926.

Despite the longing by the reasoned mind - of an ‘ordered’ way forward - we have always proceeded on a drunkard’s disordered walk into the future, and I do not expect the future to be any different.

But circumstances are and will be radically different than anything experienced by mankind in his long tenure on Earth.

Maybe we will have to depend on the heart as the way forward - and not the rational mind alone.

It worked for me - conclusively - and many are the poets and mystics who have found this to be true.


I sincerely hope the final paragraph is inaccurate. The implied intrusion on human will is absolutely terrifying.


And the pigs all lived happily etc!


Thanks JL. i’ve been somewhat terrified of this development ever since i was young.

i remember (like 50 years ago), the first time i walked past a garage and the lights came on from a motion sensor (a new consumer technology at that time), i immediately thought “We are building a giant life form.”

At that time, when i told people that in the future we would get brain implants, pretty much everyone would say something like “Oh hell no, no one is ever going to put a plug in my brain!”

In more recent years, since the development of the internet and then smart phones, i get a lot less of that recoil of horror. Many more people are now looking forward to getting plugged directly into the internet.

i still find it to be, as you say, an intrusion on human will - especially with the ownership of the operating systems being in corporate hands - and in fact, a loss of humanity in a pretty deep way.

But the roll-out of commercial chip-to-brain interfacing is only a few years off, and i do not see how we are going to get a movement organized to democratically decide how to move forward, or a way to remove the profiteering corporate interests from control of that web.

Very “interesting times” to live, as they say.