Dire warnings about the future of the Internet from Nitin Desai, chair of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). According to Mr Desai, the web could be splintered in the not-so-far future into national firewalls, high-speed fiefdoms and limited consumer choice.

We have become used to the world-wide network where everyone supposedly has access to all resources, but if some national regulators and private enterprises have it their way, then the open web will not survive the next five years. Regulators in countries like Pakistan and China already have in place firewalls that filter all manner of content (including your truly’s). Then there are the efforts by some telecommunication companies to have a two-tiered web via higher subscription charges. And to make things worse, news sources have started applying country-specific filtering to some news items that may initiate litigation.

John Perry Barlow’s Independent Republic of Cyberspace looks more like an utopia than reality.


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