Freedom of expression is an elusive concept. While large names like Google or Facebook seem to sometimes be on the fighting end of privacy and content rights with us, they have come together and formed what is striving to become the trade association of the Internet. The Internet Association is taking strides to protect the freedom of the Internet from government regulation and backdoor information policies.
While forming a bond between the major digital entities, CEO Michael Beckerman is also hitting the streets with his employees meeting with small businesses in several cities around the country. They also have enlisted the aid of larger lobbying organizations such as Franklin Square group to represent its member, Google. This Internet crawl, and fight against certain legislation, are but a few of the methods this new group is utilizing to draw in new sources of media on the Internet, as well as to develop a clearer relationship with the almighty user.
They have been effective as separate entities in thwarting the first major efforts to fight piracy and protect Intellectual property, but who’s best interest is their coming together truly fighting for? It has been thought that if these major houses of information and distribution online are able to garner enough control over what laws are passed in relation to the internet, that “empowering the user” will fall below companies profits, on the lobbying hierarchy; Specifically, our privacy.
Whether their motives be good for the user or not, there is a great deal to be learned from their strategies and services. They are not only developing their online presence but are creating a physical face with the people, through projects such as their Internet crawl. They also, know how to use the existing recognition of their current members, to bring a clear brand message. They color themselves to be the group advocating for the continued free enterprise and expression on the Internet, the advancement of the user and of innovation. This succinct, digestible message is able to personify a Robin-Hood type hero of Silicon Valley.
What they are doing, they are doing well. They are the key holders of the digital world, possessing some of the best minds and resources in business today. Given time, the Internet Association will become the gatekeeper as well. My question is not with their motives, but simply why the user is the greatest one affected, and yet are not even being informed, let alone given a say in these major decisions concerning our privacy and online freedoms.
In 1922, the greatest players in the Film Industry came together to facilitate the freedoms and limitations of, as the Internet is today, the most influential global form of media. Today the MPAA exists to promote the business efforts of the largest production companies. Will we learn from the past, and strive to maintain the last truly free avenue of communication?