Who Owns the Internet

Just because the Internet was invented by the United States doesn’t mean the United States gets to dictate how it works. Yes, it had the ability to begin to define standards. Yes, it helped show the world how such a thing might be used. But, the moment it started clamping down on the world’s freedom of speech it lost the right to show the world the way, along with any moral authority it may have had left.

The Internet now belongs to the world, and all the people in it. Sometimes its just individuals like Julian Assange or Kim Dotcom, and sometimes it’s entire countries.

According to Reuters, Brazil has just passed the bill the citizens of the United States wishes the U.S. would pass. In the article the bill is being called “Brazil’s Internet Constitution.” It sets hard limits on data gathering and international spying. And, it enforces those laws on the companies from which that spying comes.

But, that’s not all. The bill also does something the United States tried to do, but was blocked by big evil telcos. It mandates net neutrality. Internet Service Providers are banned from charging different rates for different types of content.

For the last century the United States has assumed it was the leader of the world. And, for many technological advances, it was. But, that leadership was based on freedoms that no longer exist. ALGORITHM, a realistic movie about computer hackers addresses questions of freedom, ownership, and the power of the individual to facilitate change.

It’s debatable which country will take its place, or whether the U.S. will change its ways and return to the freedoms it claims to support.

And in the meantime, Brazil is leading the way.