Biggest threats to the internet

A new survey has highlighted the potential threats to the future of the internet within the next 20 years, to 2025, including surveillance and government interference.

Research group, the Pew Center canvassed 1,400 experts to get their view on the future of the Internet.

the majority said they hope that by 2025 there will not be significant changes for the worse and hindrances to the ways in which people get and share content online today.

When asked to respond to the following question: By 2025 will there be significant changes for the worse and hindrances to the ways in which people get and share content online compared with the way globally networked people can operate online today?

Thirty-five percent answered “yes” while 65% more optimistically answered “no.”

Some who answered “no” wrote in their elaboration on the question that their answer was their “hope” and not necessarily their prediction. Others wrote that they wished they could choose “yes and no.”

However Pew pointed to four 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.

Dave Burstein, editor of Fast Net News, said of government interference: “Governments worldwide are looking for more power over the Net, especially within their own countries. Britain, for example, has just determined that ISPs block sites the government considers ‘terrorist’ or otherwise dangerous. This will grow. There will usually be ways to circumvent the obstruction but most people won’t bother.”

Jim Hendler, a professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and architect of the Web, said: “If anything, it is privacy that will have to give way to openness, not the other way around… Repressive governments will be working hard to stop the spread of information. As today, there will be both good and bad news continually in that area, but over time more integration, access, and sharing will be a driving force.”

Peter S. Vogel, Internet law expert at Gardere Wynne Sewell, said: “Privacy issues are the most serious threat to accessing and sharing Internet content in 2014, and there is little reason to expect that to change by 2025, particularly given the cyber terror threats confronting the Internet users and worldwide businesses.”

Marcel Bullinga, technology futures speaker, trend watcher, and futurist, said: “Sharing is hindered by ridiculous 19th century laws about copyright and patent. Both will die away. That will spur innovation into the extreme. That is the real singularity.”

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Biggest threats to the internet