Iranian Protests, Net Neutrality, and the Politics of the Future

Over the past week the results of the elections in Iran have sparked wave after wave of protests and violence within Iran. Twitter has emerged as means by which the state-controlled suppression of information has been circumvented.

Suddenly, the microblogging service finds itself as an auxiliary to a revolution. When I had to try Twitter for a while for one of my classes, friends of my age and generation were skeptical to the point of being dismissive of the service. Even I had to admit I agreed with them. I didn’t see what good microblogging would be. After all, if something is worth writing about… -write- about it. Again I’m forcibly reminded that it’s all about the communication patterns of groups, not individuals. (I’m also reminded that Twitter makes more sense with a true mobile media device vs. the old fashioned non-net flip cell phone I carry).

You can bet that China is watching the shakedown in Iran very closely. The information which is slipping out through non-state controlled means over the internet just serves to highlight once again how the internet remains a democratizing force which seeps in to to the hands of the people.

When will we begin to pay just as much attention to the security and safety of the pipeline of information and communication as we do to the pipelines of oil? We’re not immune to this debate in the United States, either. Who owns the internet? Or more properly, access and usage rights to the internet?

Net neutrality is going to become a more and more increasingly important issue globally. We already have the Great Firewall of China happening, but with the results from Iranian elections spilling over into the web… this is going to be extremely important to keep an eye on the government about. Our own first, and the governments of other nations second.

And the internet is continuing with its insistent force for social change. Pay attention, now… things are going to get interesting.


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