Cyberspace Quotes

Quotes about Cyberspace


The big effect which I still haven't mentioned and the one that worries me most is what the corporate world is telling us they have in mind. And what they are telling us they have in mind is taking the whole thing over and using it as a technique of domination and control.
- Noam Chomsky

Cyberspace is eroding [national] borders, at least in terms of jurisdiction. In fact, nation and state are often irrelevant in the formation and conduct of online communities. Intellectual properties flow freely across the Net, knowing no borders. What's more, all this is happening at a time when intellectual properties represent a greater and greater portion of both human industry and the global economy.
- Vince Giuliano, NY Times, 5/6/97

In its current form, the Internet clearly does expand the ability of people with minimal resources to originate communication as well as to receive it. In this sense, the Web is the best rejoinder to A.J. Liebling's old complaint that "freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one." More generally, the new era of digital communications has the potential to end the old scarcity of bandwidth in the radio spectrum that limited the number of broadcast channels. But there are also powerful forces favoring concentrated power in the new era of communications, and it would be a mistake just to rely on technology and the marketplace to curb abuses of that power.
- Paul Starr, The American Prospect, July-August 1997

Unfortunately, cyberspace is shaping up to be more like Cyberbia than Cyberkeley. That's because the consensus among on-line boosters...is that all cyberspace should be privately owned and operated. While their fears of government abuse or inefficient centralization may be legitimate, presenting the choice as one between totalitarian control and a total absence of publicly owned space is misleading. These extreme alternatives prevent us from moving toward something like Cyberkeley -- a model of cyberspace that is mostly private, but which preserves part of this new domain as a public trust, a common space dedicated to citizens' speech. Without this hybrid vision, it is unlikely that we will realize the democratic possibilities of this new technology.
- Andrew L. Shapiro, The Nation, July 3, 1995

The Internet is a global communications medium. Decentralized, flexible, and anti-monopolistic, it is particularly suitable to the promotion of pluralism, freedom of expression and access to public information.
- Center for Democratic Technology

The 1996 Telecommunications Act was intended by Congress to promote competition, lower prices and give consumers a greater range of choice in telecommunications service. Thus far, just the opposite seems to have happened. Major telecommunications firms are fighting the requirements of the law, both at the Federal Communications Commission, and more recently in federal court.
At the same time, mergers and acquisitions among telecommunications entities have increased steadily. Two of the seven Regional Bell companies have already merged, Microsoft Inc. has purchased a significant proportion of a cable operator, long-distance carriers have sought mergers with local telephone companies, and television and radio broadcast networks have purchased more stations, expanding their networks at the expense of local programming and local voices. We do not believe this is what Congress intended.
- Alliance for Community Media, from a letter to Congressional committees

Taking into account the money spent by the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters], the major networks, and their owners, the broadcast industry invested at least $10.7 million in lobbying during just the first six months of 1996.
- Common Cause Report, WIRED, August 1997

In the 20's there was a battle. Radio was coming along, everyone knew it wasn't a marketable product like shoes. It's gonna be regulated and the question was, who was gonna get hold of it? Well, there were groups, (church groups, labor unions were extremely weak and split then, and some student groups)... who tried to organise to get radio to become a kind of a public interest phenomenon; but they were just totally smashed. I mean it was completely commercialized.
- Noam Chomsky

The reality is that wealth can be translated into information power, and that the apathy of the people is allowing private wealth to control public information. We are very, very close to private tyranny.
... As information becomes a substitute for time, for space, for capital, and for labor, it is the ability to control information and exploit information, that grants the power to protect the status quo or make change.
- Robert David Steele, President, Open Source Solutions

To communications companies, then, the act has been a big success. The U.S. commercial media system is currently dominated by a few conglomerates -- Disney, the News Corporation, G.E., cable giant T.C.I., Universal, Sony, Time Warner and Viacom -- with annual media sales ranging from $7 billion to $23 billion. These giants are often major players in broadcast TV, cable TV, film production, music production, book publishing, magazine publishing, theme parks and retail operations. The system has a second tier of another fifteen or so companies, like Gannett, Cox Communications, Dow Jones, The New York Times Co. and Newhouse's Advance Communications, with annual sales ranging from $1 billion to $5 billion.
That the 1996 Telecommunications Act's most immediate effect was to sanctify this concentrated corporate control is not surprising; its true mission never had anything to do with increasing competition or empowering consumers. Among other things, it was about getting the issue of fundamental communications policy-making off the Congressional and public agenda and safely installed in the hands of the F.C.C. and other administrative agencies, where special interests duke it out for the best possible deals with minimal or nonexistent public involvement. It was also about having a statute that rejected the notion that there was a public interest in communication that the market could not satisfy. The only debate concerned whether the cable companies, the broadcasters, the Baby Bells or the long-distance carriers would get the most breaks. A few crumbs were tossed to "special interest" groups like schools and hospitals, but only when they didn't interfere with the pro-business thrust of the legislation.
- Robert W. McChesney, The Nation Digital Edition, author of Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy