Monday, April 13, 2009

Who Controls the Network?

            In my presentation I would have presented about how no one single organizations runs or controls the Internet.  Instead the control of the Internet is divided into many different pieces and spread amongst many industries and organizations.  The Internet is partially controlled by Internet Service Providers, such as AOL or MSN, which provide basic Internet connection and also may provide content.  Without the Internet service providers no one would be able to access the Internet, which gives them partial control.  Telecommunications companies have similar roles to Internet service providers, because they too provide service for a fee.  Examples include Verizon and Time Warner.  There are a few Non- Profit organizations that have a substantial amount of power over the network, such as ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is in control of naming domains and addresses.  Other non-profit organizations include the Internet Society and Internet Engineering Task force, which focus on orderly use, development, and the proper evolution of the Internet.  The Government also has a say in running the network due to its authority received from the Patriot Act to monitor citizens Internet activity.  The United States is an early adaptor and creator of the Internet, which is positive, but unfortunately the Internet is now very American oriented and friendly, which is a problem for the worldwide users who are not affluent in English and American Internet.  The UN is concerned with the US domination of the Internet, and discussed the topic at the World Summit on the Information Society.   Another issue dealing with the network is the digital divide, which is the broadening technological gap between whites and minorities, rich and poor, urban and rural.  It is said that inferior Internet access will also mean inferior access to employment and educational opportunity, deepening the cycle of poverty.  This is an issue that must be addressed in the future, as well as the ownership of the network, and privacy of the users.  The Internet is a fairly new invention and still very young.  As the Internet evolves so do the laws, the digital divide, and issues of ownership in hopes that there will be a good solution in the future.  Until then the Internet will continue to be controlled by many different industries on many different levels but the issues of control must be solved in order to better the developing internet, decrease the digital divide, and to decrease American domination of the network.

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