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article imagePew study gives dark prediction for future of web

By Justin King     Jul 5, 2014 in World
Internet freedom is greatly threatened, mainly from government and corporate interests say internet experts in a Pew Research survey conducted as part of its Internet Project.
Even though the majority of those surveyed hope for a better future for the internet, experts pointed to four main threats to the internet as it exists today. The threats are all attributable to government surveillance, crackdowns, and interference in the world’s freedom of speech. The study’s landing page summarizes the concerns:
The Net Threats These Experts Fear
Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation, and balkanization of the Internet.
Trust will evaporate in the wake of revelations about government and corporate surveillance and likely greater surveillance in the future.
Commercial pressures affecting everything from Internet architecture to the flow of information will endanger the open structure of online life.
Efforts to fix the TMI (too much information) problem might over-compensate and actually thwart content sharing.
The predictions for the future are rooted in current attacks on free expression. The threat of governments blocking and filtering the web is already occurring. Even in cultures that have historically promoted the free expression of ideas, the idea that dissent against the wealthy should be filtered is already gaining ground, as is shown by the European Union's decision to filter unfavorable coverage about the wealthy and powerful.
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, knowledge of government and corporate surveillance is already promoting self-censorship in the United States and elsewhere in the West. Other oligarchies throughout the world are actively conducting internet surveillance and intimidation of dissidents.
In the United States, the Net Neutrality decision alters the very design of the internet and allows corporations to control content.
Experts worry that in an effort to sort through the endless supply of selfies and meaningless posts, companies will introduce filters that will filter information from users, much like when Facebook determines what to show in an individual’s newsfeed. These filters can be used to filter any type of information.
Many experts placed their hopes for a free internet in what is known as the “Deep web,” which operates without much interference from corporate interests. Recent reports suggest that the National Security Agency of the United States is targeting users of Tor and other deep web services, even those that are not employing the services for illegal activities. It was also disclosed that the US government has been funding significant parts of Tor, and therefore has unprecedented access.
Pew Research regularly conducts research on internet issues, however this was the first survey dealing with predictions of the web’s future.
More about Pew, Tor, deep web, censorhsip, future of the internet
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