Silicone Valley, USA…Many of the tech giants like Google and organizations like the Free Software Federation are becoming increasingly concerned over the future of the web. The web has been the driving innovator in the worlds economies and expanded freedoms as well. Since it’s early days the web was designed to be standards based, fault tolerant and open. The free nature of it is coming under attack from many angles and it will take an awareness and concerted efforts for it to remain free from restrictions in the future. Many governments don’t want their citizen truly free including ours. Google is one of the best on web freedoms their early China stance notwithstanding. In a standards based web it treats all content and the people who create that content as equals.
We are giving our government including the President the power to take sites like this one offline. The core of the web is also under attack in seemingly benign ways such as moving the TLD or top level domain control to the United Nations. This could slowly erode the openness of the web in many ways that most people in the general public might not even recognize
Another seemingly benign but long term damaging trend is for our content online to be moving increasingly to Walled Gardens so to speak. Sites such as Facebook services such as iTunes while they have made it easier for virtually anyone with even just a phone create and share content. The problem with walled gardens is that they are walled. Your content lives at the mercy of whatever guidelines that Facebook or Apple set. Once it is in their hands they own it and control it. What we gain in convenience we lose in freedom.
In a search dominated world the content, ideas and freedoms are more diverse because the content lives in millions of different places and is only indexed. In a Facebook and Twitter world it lives on their servers. The social media revolution has been an amazing thing that really took the web the last mile so to speak in the utilization of the web. It’s only downside is that it concentrates the content and ideas of users in fewer and fewer places where content and conversations can be easily provided to others.
So as we celebrate the greatest experiment in self government in the worlds history lets not forget that to ensure our future freedoms the web needs to remain free as well