What are the biggest threats to the Internet in the next 20 years? According to experts canvassed by Pew, the biggest threats aren’t a rise in hacking attacks or new waves of Internet crime. They’re government and big online corporations.
Control and consolidation were the top threats for experts canvassed by Pew’s Internet and American Life Project in a study published Thursday. The think tank asked more than 1,400 experts – academics, theorists and those who work in the technology industry – to weigh in on what risks the Internet faces through 2025.
The majority pointed to government surveillance, restrictive regulation and corporate greed as the things most likely to kill the idea that the Web is a free-flowing network of information. Plenty expressed concern that the Internet will fracture due to government policies, such as those that limit access to the Web as some governments did during the Arab Spring, aggressive intellectual property laws or even well-meaning policies in Canada and Australia that aggressively filter all Internet traffic to combat child pornography. These efforts, experts said, cross the line – or at least flirt with it.
This graphic highlights results from the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, released December 2013. More than 6,000 Americans ages 16 and older were asked about their views of public libraries and the role these institutions serve in their communities. The results show that an overwhelming majority of Americans value libraries. View the full report.