THE DELUSION of a FREE Internet
by Maurizio Bisogno
Often I hear that Internet is great and also free. Free! Although I can agree that there is greatness in the Internet, the attribution of free to it sounds utterly delusional. Let me try to show you why in the few paragraphs hereafter.
What do you need to access the Internet?
- A physical device – that is an technical object that you must pay for. Be it a mobile phone or laptop or a desktop computer, you will not be able to obtain it without spending few hundred Euro. There are at least as many of these devices as there are people accessing the internet, i.e. billions! Make your little calculations and you’ll have already a first picture of the size of the industry involved in it is this industry, and how much money it is costing you already.
- An Internet connection through an Internet Service Provider, which is NOT free. You must pay to get connected and it can be quite expensive.
- All these devices and connections services use electrical power; so, you must pay the electricity bill to stay on Internet.
So far everything is plain and basic – the above points should be already enough against the argument that Internet is free. But, let proceed a bit further. Once you got you device and your connection running, what are you going to do? Not much thinking needed there: you will have standard apps that will give you social media connections, that will take you to a specific shopping website, that will allow you to search any content on the Internet. Now, here it is where I’d like you to direct your focus: what would be like if there was no other possibility that just paying services? Think about it for a moment.
Well, there is another component that is needed so that the entire world wide web can have billions of users uninterruptedly using it: Internet (the system made of the hardware industry, the Internet Service Providers, the owners of the “physical highways” allowing the data transmissions and so on) needs desperately people, millions and millions of them, who produce content for FREE, i.e. without being paid! Here is the fourth element:
- Internet needs millions and millions of idiots who produce content for free. This enormous amount of free content is a goldmine for those who profit from the 3 points listed above.
Without all those bloggers (who make little or no money at all) without those people who share their knowledge, without all those social networks users who constantly upload billions of images and texts and sounds, there would be no profit for the owners of the companies that constituted the hard physical side of internet.
So, to conclude, while you are believing to use a free service you are actually not only paying for it, but you are also de facto producing the content (for FREE) that allows the Internet owners to sell their services to you. You are buying the content that you give to the web for free. You are the free producer, the unpaid labourer that has to pay to get the fruit of your work! Do you still think that Internet has anything to do with FREE?