History of Computing Class: 4th Blog Comment

In Who Controls The Internet we’ve read about a variety of episodes in the history of the internet and the world wide web that may be a bit surprising. The authors have cherry-picked these events to make a particular point about where the ‘net is going, and where they think it should be going in the future. 

In an essay of no more than 500 words, tell us what the overall argument is that the authors are making about how the ‘net and web should continue to develop. What is the “call to action” presented by the book to readers? Support your contention with at least 2 specific examples (events described within the text) and be sure to account for the global context of the web–don’t just focus on events that occurred within the USA.

Note: You only need to do this blog comment if you would like extra credit or have missed doing one of the other blog comments. Comment is due Thursday, Nov. 29 by 10pm if you choose to do it.


  1. jnaglich

    The authors of Who Controls The Internet wanted us to see that the argument in the book is that although the internet should remain free and open a certain amount of government involvement is necessary for it to continue to be available to the people. The book discusses the many ways that government intervention is necessary such as helping to combat piracy. It also shows us how governments have attempted to filter the internet because certain contents may not necessarily line up with their beliefs. Take China for example the Chinese government does not like certain websites like Facebook and Twitter they block them and do not allow their citizens to access them. Actions such as this should not happen unless there is piracy involved. The internet should remain open as a resource of information and entertainment for the people of the world to enjoy.

  2. Josh Brann

    Blog #4 – Josh Brann

    The Internet is in its infancy and it’s starting to become global, as it does the authors point out three specific models of how the Internet can be governed. More specifically the authors talk about the USA, Europe, and China as the three different spectrums of governmental control over the Internet. As the Internet globalizes nations will need to understand where their ideologies lie in the spectrum. The overall argument of “Who Controls the Internet” is that the Internet cannot exist without some sort of Governmental control, and that each Nation has a specific ideology on how their society should be governed; these different ideologies through nations will influence what the Internet will become.

    There have been many examples of government control over the Internet stated by Goldsmith and Tim Wu. Yahoo is a massive company that completely relies on the Internet. Yahoo started out in the USA, and became global in later years. In the US Yahoo had its set of rules that it abided by as in the content and services, although as Yahoo crossed the border into China all of this had to change. Yahoo was required to abide by Chinese law, they were required to not only censor information but also give information requested by the government. Goldsmith and Tim Wu state, “Yahoo, the former champion of free-speech rights in the United States, plays an entirely different role in China, it employs a host of censorship systems that continually monitor and filter what people see.” (Who Controls the Internet, 95).

    Yahoo also has had encounters with France over information found through Yahoo when in France. In April of 2000 Marc Knobel sued Yahoo in a French court for Yahoo violating a French law banning trafficking in Nazi goods in France. (Who Controls the Internet, 2). Although Yahoo is not located in France it still was required to follow French law. This may be legal in the US to sell these types of goods, but as soon as they are purchased in France they are not. France is able to win this case, proving to Yahoo that it does indeed need to follow French law while users from France are using their product.

    The Internet is extremely powerful, and will continue to be globalized, and when it does more and more issues will arise. The Internet purely will not survive without a governing force behind it. Every nation has some sort of government; Tim Wu and Goldsmith are arguing that as the Internet grows no matter the intention of the founders, Governmental force is inevitable and necessary for the evolution of the Internet, and that there are three models that right now that governments can look to, USA, Europe, and China.

  3. Stella

    Goldsmith and Wu in ” Who Controls the Internet” present ideas and important individuals in developing and structuring the internet.

    Although the idea or at least what was assumed of the internet was to globalize the world and erase national borders, the authors argue that national laws, cultures and traditions are important when it comes to controling the internet. One example of the importance of territorial laws is the strugle between yahoo and the French government, when the French government accused yahoo for violating the French law by making available illegal yahoo Nazi aution sites on Yahoo.com. With yahoo’s struggle through court we see that the idea of the internet being borderless diminishes and it inforces territorial laws.

    What I got from the book when considering the call to action is that the author’s suggest an intersting comparison between the United States’s relatively free and China’s politicaly controlled model of internet, which to me directs reader to make their own judgement and decision. This point is important in the book to be mentioned because it sparks the question in the readers mind how the internet should move in the future. The autors also states that ” this will determine how life on the bordered internet is lived”. Since the internet is controlled by the government, it is also important in thinking about the future of the internet. Under who’s authority should the internet be? The authors imply that the United States, China and Europe are using coercieve powers to establish different visions of what the internet might be and I think this suggests power of these nations and whose lead the internet should take and how the internet should shape to be.

  4. Tully Mijatovic

    The argument the authors make is that though the internet connects countries, it does not transcend them, nor, by extension, their governments. Said governments will each govern the part of the internet that lies within their borders, because each has their own vision of what the internet should ideally be (184). The authors say that since the internet sprung from the United States government’s loins and the government performs virtually all of the naming and addressing on the internet, it knows how to best manage the internet, and so its vision for the internet is best, and thus should be chosen over competing visions, such as China’s.
    Much of Goldsmith and Wu’s “call to action” appears on page 184 of the text, with “[Understanding] [t]he failure to understand the many faces and facets of territorial government coercion is…central to understanding the future of the internet.” By this, Goldsmith and Wu mean “Know what’s going on, and know who doesn’t and why. Then, pick a nation and internet vision to side with. Psst – choose to side with the United States.”

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