Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wiki Leaks, Net Neutrality and the future of the Internet

Yesterday, I was having this conversation about whether any discussion can really be called an ‘objective’ one, as our opinions are based on our personal perception and experiences. So much so, that there is always a shade of biasness (overt or covert) when we analyze something. The media, being the extension of human voices and creativity also subscribes to the same principles. Result? We see a Republican loudspeaker in Fox TV, a Democratic middleman in MSNBC, a worshipper of the ruling party in NDTV. Some publications do it in the guise of honest retrospective reporting to cover-up messy operations carried on by the government. For instance, one of the TIME July issues has a horrid cover picture of an Afghan girl with her ears and nose chopped by the Taliban. It says that if it’d be appropriate for the US troops to leave Afghan women to such atrocities? Now you decide whether it’s a true concern or a propaganda mechanism to defend US military presence in Afghanistan amidst fiscal drainage and massive criticism of the Obama government.

The partial, selective highlight of the truth often clouds the genuine message in its entirety.

When it came to what to believe and what not to, the Internet with its uninhibited platform, however flooded us with choices. We no longer had to depend on that colored news at 9 or to listen to the rants and coaxing of the ever popular news anchor. The Internet though much global in its reach and scope, is also that niche for personification. You and I, we all could have our corners to voice our perspective. And for free. It’s simple, economically viable approach epitomized individual triumph in the sheen of collectivism. It got the world to your doorstep and also took your little ideas across the globe. Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange, however, took it to the next level. He claims to have founded a system that tackles press censorship. You get the story just like it is. Uncensored. An ex-hacker, he stunned the world by some gory revelations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How he decoded the secret anecdotes, nobody knows, but he did come up with some investigative journalism that we don’t get to see on print and TV these days.

Not anymore, it seems.

With the surprise deal between Google and Verizon on net neutrality, that specifies Google’s certain privileges on Verizon network, one can’t help but wonder what would be the fate of individual Internet users when the big network corporations hijack search engines and other popular portals under their wraps. Will there be a price tag for every click? Is the common man going to get penalized for connectivity, effectively and figuratively? The Internet which served as a level playing ground for people of all nations and credibility might just be the next caste system of the virtual world.

Let’s see what happens!