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The Battle for a Grassroots Internet Experience

Jon Katz writes an interesting article on the battle between corporate power and individual creativity on the Internet in Technology And The Fast Food Nation [Slashdot]. I am a bit tired of all these apocalyptic Woe is me, AOHell will take us over articles when so much of the Internet experience can be and is being defined by brilliant and revolutionary bottom-up forums like, well, Slashdot, and the Independent Media Centers, and FreeSpeech Internet Television, and Blogger, and even the user-community aspects of big corporate sites like Amazon.com and Salon.com. This is a battle that we can easily win, if we keep up the kind of decentralized networks that these tools allow and promote them. Of more concern, of course, is the continuing amalgamation and control of Internet access points through corproate mergers and sweetheart telecom legislation. What can we start doing to reverse this? We need to start looking towards microfinance to keep small entrepreneurs afloat. We also need to look to building guerilla network infrastructures such as are already beginning to crop up, and making these infrastructures accessible to people other than hardcore geeks. And, of course, we need to work at the legislative level to oppose the continuing progress of corporate privilege and corporate power over telecommunications. The best part about these bottom-up Internet technologies is that they may provide a key component of creating the political and economic networks we need to make all this a reality.

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