A Canadian blog is alerting readers to potential changes taking place in Internet accessibility. The premise is that as big telecom companies broaden the scope and influence, their effect will mean they ultimately replace smaller, independent Internet service providers (ISPs), which will in turn lead to the demise of open internet thus impeding innovation.
The premise is that as big telecom companies make deals with big internet services such as Facebook to make sites more conveniently accessible on internet TV, in the process they weed out small, independent projects that rely on the open platform of the internet. Among the examples provided were crowd-sourced journalism projects OpenFile, CBC Radio 3 – innovative services that would have trouble competing.
“Canadians need to understand the value of online innovation,” states the post. “They need to reach more people and more effectively demonstrate the importance of the open accessible Internet.”
This appeal to Canadians comes at the same time that U.S. leaders are developing the framework for an Internet identity system, supposedly to limit fraud and streamline online transactions through issue of secure online identities. The proposal is generating confusion and mixed reactions.
“Innovation is one of the key aspects here,” said Ari Schwartz, a senior adviser for Internet policy at the Department of Commerce. “There’s so much that could be done if we could trust transactions more.”
On the other hand, civil libertarians have expressed concern that the system may not protect privacy as well as the government is promising. “Congress, the technology industry and the public need to run as far away as they can from this purported assistance,” states a Washington Post editorial.
What do you think? Is an open Internet fundamental to innovation? Are we in danger of losing that on-line openness or are these writers overreacting? If so, what needs to be done?