The internet is the answer to all the questions of our time

Cory Doctorow in The Guardian: “…Why do people work for these organisations? Because they are utopians. Not utopians in the sense of believing that the internet is predestined to come out all right no matter what. Rather, we are utopians because, on the one hand, we are terrified of what kind of surveillance and control the internet enables, and because, on the other hand, we believe that the future is up for grabs: that we can work together to change what the internet is and what it will become. Nothing is more utopian than a belief that, when things are bad, we can make them better.

The internet has become the nervous system of the 21st century, wiring together devices that we carry, devices that are in our bodies, devices that our bodies are in. It is woven into the fabric of government service delivery, of war-fighting systems, of activist groups, of major corporations and teenagers’ social groups and the commerce of street-market hawkers.

There are many fights more important than the fight over how the internet is regulated. Equity in race, gender, sexual preference; the widening wealth gap; the climate crisis – each one far more important than the fight over the rules for the net.

Except for one thing: the internet is how every one of these fights will be won or lost. Without a free, fair and open internet, proponents of urgent struggles for justice will be outmaneuvered and outpaced by their political opponents, by the power-brokers and reactionaries of the status quo. The internet isn’t the most important fight we have; but it’s the most foundational….

The questions of the day are “How do we save the planet from the climate crisis?” and “What do we do about misogyny, racial profiling and police violence, and homophobic laws?” and “How do we check mass surveillance and the widening power of the state?” and “How do we bring down autocratic, human-rights-abusing regimes without leaving behind chaos and tragedy?”

Those are the questions.

But the internet is the answer. If you propose to fix any of these things without using the internet, you’re not being serious. And if you want to free the internet to use in all those fights, there’s a quarter century’s worth of Internet Utopians who’ve got your back….(More)