Who Owns the Internet … ?

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Roman copy of a Greek Plato portrait, probably by Silanion and now displayed in the Academy after Platon’s death. Glyptothek München.

I generally claim that, before you can look for solutions, you need to ask the right questions. Currently, I am wondering – not only in my presentations – about the future of digitalization.

I fear that the internet is threatened on several levels. So I come up with central questions.

Here is a very central question:

Who owns the internet?

I mean this exactly as I write it. My smart phone and my computer, which are both also part of the internet, belong to me. But who owns all the connections and computing centres you need for the network? And who is master over the definitions? Who will decide upon a change in protocols if this becomes necessary due to a change of users? Who is in charge of security? Who is responsible if the infra structure becomes deficient?

Well, I already asked the question several times. Because I do not know the answer. I asked some very knowledgeable people who usually know all about digitalization and related topics. But they, too, could not give me an answer.

But perhaps my readers know the answer?

In that case, maybe you can also answer some of the following questions:

Who owns Wikipedia?

Our huge thesaurus infra structure. It is unique in its independence and freedom. It is also free of advertising. It belongs to no concern and no party. It is designed on an honorary basis and financed by donations. A wonderful example of open source. It is actually something the community could be proud of.

What are we going to do when there are no longer enough Wikipedians left to maintain its growing infra structure? When the technology becomes antiquated and the system breaks down? Who will get or take possession of the Wikipedia empire when it collapses?

Maybe you have more exciting questions? For instance: what will we do when Youtube or other services are terminated?

I look forward to reading your answers.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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