The Internet is the most robust medium of information exchange in history. Two billion people are now connected, and at current growth rates everyone with Internet access will join the Internet community within a decade.
Barring technological and political disruptions, the world’s populace will then be on a single common digital platform. The global medium can provide unparalleled personal well-being, economic growth and beneficial social change. The risk of technological and political disruption now looms very large.
The power of the medium to promote change has produced a counter-revolutionary response among many political and business interests. In numerous countries, leaders have called for government to interrupt the free flow of data (the essence of the Internet) at state borders and to create within political boundaries unique national regimes for regulating the Internet. Regulation in many instances means the specific curtailment of the capability to exercise the full potential for change provided by the Internet.
In some cases, business and government leaders have called for bilateral or multilateral government regulation, sponsored, for example, by the United Nations. These calls raise grave risks to the robust expansion of the Internet that do not seem outweighed by any benefits that might be created for the Internet community.