Degrees of Freedom, Dimensions of Power
The original Internet design combined technical, organizational, and cultural characteristics that decentralized power along diverse dimensions. Decentralized institutional, technical, and market power maximized freedom to operate and innovate at the expense of control. Market developments have introduced new points of control. Mobile and cloud computing, the Internet of Things, ½ber transition, big data, surveillance, and behavioral marketing introduce new control points and dimensions of power into the Internet as a social-cultural-economic platform. Unlike in the Internet’s ½rst generation, companies and governments are well aware of the signi½cance of design choices, and are jostling to acquire power over, and appropriate value from, networked activity. If we are to preserve the democratic and creative promise of the Internet, we must continuously diagnose control points as they emerge and devise mechanisms of recreating diversity of constraint and degrees of freedom in the network to work around these forms of reconcentrated power.