Many of us believe the Internet to be open and free for us to explore all known information. Indeed, it is true that we currently can surf to any active website with our browser, and we can start a website or blog on any topic we wish to discuss. And it is quite a profound concept that everyone with a smart phone literally has all of the world's knowledge in the palm of their hand.
Ben Franklin knew well the importance of free access to information when he founded the first public library in America to share knowledge with those without the means to their own books. Today, he surely would consider the Internet's unprecedented access to information, and ability to communicate it instantly, as the ultimate level playing field of economic mobility and freedom.
However, this access is now under threat of authoritarian control. First, it is important to note that the gears of the Internet have always been controlled by central authorities, as Douglas Rushkoff recently wrote
, "From its Domain Name Servers to its IP addresses, the Internet depends on highly centralized mechanisms to send our packets from one place to another."
Therefore, the idea that our movements on the Web are even remotely private or untraceable is false. The central "authorities" who control the gears of the machine know exactly where you have been, while Google and the CIA
have even developed ways of knowing where you're going next as well. It's very creepy to know that our every move is being tracked, traced, and databased, but it has been happening from day one on the Internet, and will likely continue to happen despite the violation of basic rights to our privacy.