During the explosive rise of the Internet, one fundamental principle governed: All users and all content were treated alike. The physical network of cables and routers did not know or care about the user or the content. The principle of nondiscrimination, or “Net Neutrality,” allowed users to travel anywhere on the Internet, free from interference. Nondiscrimination, in various forms, has been a foundation of communications law and policy for decades.
I'm afraid this situation is extremely far from the truth now in almost all respects especially concerning Government surveillance of the internet. Discrimination, censorship is rife even from some of the most enlightened countries in the world, Australia is rapidly creating a huge black list of web sites that will be filtered from their internet users, many with good reason, but lots are just gambling sites for instance.
If we're not being censored, we're being monitored - September the 11th opened the floodgates to basically ignore all rights to privacy in a desperate attempt to find out which terrorists where planning what on the internet. The Bush administration (and now more worrying the Obama bunch) have all been actively accused of funnelling all ISP data to the NSA without warrants, or legal recourse.
Just to spell this out - records of everything you do online being forwarded directly to the National Security Agency. Those porn surfing sessions late at night may yet come to haunt millions of Americans (especially if they try and apply for a Government job)!
Can you imagine the millions and millions of people who will be monitored, their privacy destroyed just to catch a thick terrorist who starts up the Al Qaeda Facebook group or decides to organise a terrorist attack using his myspace account. I just wish it was a joke but it's deadly serious and it's happening right now.
Funnily enough I was just going to pop a really good link from Wired on the NSA whistleblower who demonstrated all the Government monitoring equipment installed in a US ISP.......but it seems to have disappeared ....or am I just being paranoid !!!
I'll find it in Google Cache and post it later.
There's not many places now that you won't be spied on, forget the UK and so called enlightened Europe. UK is powering forward with a EU directive behind it, but in a manner Orwell would have felt justly smug about, they are intending to put all our internet records onto a central database.
I have some hope for the Scandinavian countries, although the EU legislation is there enforcing all ISPs to record everything we do for two years. There have been significant protests in Germany against this invasion of privacy, which is hopeful the Germans have always been one of the most technical savvy European nations.
To list all the monitoring, logging and surveillance just by Governments and Government agencies would take forever, combine it with all the companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, identity thieves and hackers who all have access to yoru data - then it feels like there's a whole room full of people peering over your shoulder as you surf.
It's real, it's happening now and I'm not entirely happy about it !! If you're not check out Identity Cloaker Review, it's a fantastic program and the proxies are so fast you'll still surf quickly as well as securely. (if finance is a problem and you don't mind surfing slowly - check out TOR which offers some security)
Updated - 14/04/11