Who owns the Internet?

For more than two decades the internet has flourished without anyone bar the specialists knowing or caring who is in charge.

The World Today Updated 2 October 2020 Published 1 April 2014 1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

That surely is an extraordinary badge of success for any system of governance. No one actually owns the internet, but the truth is that the US government has a key role in managing some of its key technical aspects. After the revelations by the American whistleblower, Edward Snowden, of the scale of US interception of global communications, pressure is growing from governments around the world for a change.

As Ben Hammersley says in our cover story, the US has lost the moral high ground in this debate and we should brace ourselves for a global fight as countries with less respect for freedom of speech press their advantage. Other writers give their views on the balance between openness and privacy on the internet. Are we having our pockets picked every time we access a commercial website (yes, in a word) or should we relish a world where the crunching of Big Data opens up unheard of commercial possibilities?

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