Last week I read John Perry Barlow’s A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, a piece that was written seventeen years ago but still is very relevant to today’s issues with cyberspace. The first thing I thought of when reading Barlow’s work was web censorship, and the fears that come with that like the blocking of too many websites. If you want a fine example of government intervention take a look at China and how much internet and information is blocked for them; anything that contains rumours against the government can and will be shut down. They don’t have websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, IMDB, Google, and you wouldn’t be able to access this blog over there as WordPress is also blocked. So much for the “governments of the industrial world … leaving us alone”
Things have changed since Barlow created this utopian view of cyberspace. If only cyberspace is how Barlow has described it in his writing, no prejudice or online bullying as we know it, only a place to express yourself and be accepted for who you are even if your views are not widely accepted. No having to pay for things people have created, although most people do this anyway in our current cyberspace, and then there is a series of problems along with this like what would be the incentive to create new things if the monetary value for it was lost?
Barlow’s A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace was a very interesting read, it raises so many issues that have come with cyberspace and in some ways Cyberspace has gone the complete opposite way to what Barlow has hoped.