The original vision of the Internet, where information and media is freely shared, without one’s computer strokes and searches being metered, tracked, traced, archived, dissected, marketed and warehoused in government data banks, is dead. And that’s what’s being lost by mainstream media in the ongoing Edward Snowden coverage.
The Snowden story is not about whether Snowden is a spy, or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will seek the death penalty, or whether Russian President Vladamir Putin will let him stay, or what dark novels his Russian lawyer has given him, or what clean clothes he has. It is, as the U.K. Guardian notes, what Snowden has revealed about today’s Internet.
Snowden’s revelations are the end of a vision of unfettered Internet freedom.
~ from The Internet As We Know It Is On Its Deathbed by Steve Rosenfeld ~
Sadly, I think the situation is even worse than Rosenfeld stipulates. Internet freedom is not on its deathbed -- it died years ago and we weren't even aware of it! It's like taking a date to prom and not realizing that you've been dancing the night away with a corpse...until someone else points it out.
We now know that all of our internet activities have been intercepted for not weeks or months, but years. Every website perused, every email and every web chat has been hoovered up and, possibly, analyzed by one or more strangers. A lot of it -- including stuff we don't remember -- is sitting in a database somewhere ready to be culled through if someone decides to do so.
That isn't freedom and it certainly isn't privacy. Those principles are long dead and it will be very difficult -- maybe impossible -- to resurrect them.