The Origins Of The Internet

(Source: Edited by Edward Ting)


An open and free web was the basis for transfer and creation of knowledge.
-Tim Berners-Lee

The inventor of the internet stated the above line at the inaugural Knowledge Conference
in Dubai last year. (The National)
Before we delve deeper into the implications of having free information online, we need to
understand that the Internet was created based on the idea that it was to be open and free.
So if the original idea was for the free sharing of information,
why is it that we have to pay for online content? (The Drum)

In my previous post, I wrote about the dangers of information censorship and restriction.

(Source: Topic 4)

If we want society to progress, then information needs to be freely shared. (Daily Reckoning)
I strongly believe that one of the key success factors for human progress is education.
Yet a high percentage of online knowledge content are locked behind paywalls. (The Drum)
With that being the case, progression will come to a halt if we were to allow that to continue.
For educators and students, the availability of information is of the utmost importance.
Education at its core is sharing. (Wiley, D., Green, C., & Soares, L. 2012)
When content producers freely share information, they are indirectly advancing progress.


What we see these days though, is that we have to pay for information and knowledge.
It is an odd observation as distribution cost had gone down with the advent of
the internet and digitization. (Shockey, N., & Eisen, J. 2012)

(Source: YouTube)

While the video above is purely satirical, it does hold some truth.
It speaks of how capitalism had resulted in the control of knowledge and information.
But is capitalism evil?

Without monetary investments, academics and researchers will have a harder time advancing
the progress of knowledge and the sciences. (Shockey, N., & Eisen, J. 2012)
Without monetary profits, it will be a challenge for content producers and distributors to
continue with the production and distribution process.

What will happen if there is free sharing of Intellectual Property?
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) states that “effective enforcement of
intellectual property rights is critical to sustaining economic growth across all industries and globally”.
This means that lack of enforcement might actually result in adverse economic implications.


To decide if information should be controlled or shared is an issue not so easily resolved.
Even though information is critical to societal progression,
we cannot expect it to be free and yet progress further while facing the lack of funds.
The two are closely interlinked and not mutually exclusive.

Maybe someday, we’ll be able to fulfil the original purpose of the Internet.
And until that utopic day comes, we’ll just have to make do with the status quo.


(446 Words)






Shockey, N., & Eisen, J. (2012, October 25). Open Access Explained!
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

Lepitak, S. (2013, April 12). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests.
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

Wiley, D., Green, C., & Soares, L. (2012, February 1). ERIC – Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning, Center for American Progress, 2012-Feb.
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

Badam, R. (2014, December 7). World Wide Web inventor makes plea to keep internet free and open.
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

Bowman, J. (2012, April 3). How the Speed of Information Has Affected Human Progress – Daily Reckoning.
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. (2012, October 1).
Retrieved November 11, 2015,

4 responses to “The Origins Of The Internet

  1. Hi Edward!

    I believe the information online should be free and accessible by everyone. Since internet content should be free right? If it isn’t made free, why do they bother putting it online right? However, by placing information online helps to give recognition to authors for the work that they have done. For articles that requires a paywall, I believe that it is to protect it from being shared in an inappropriate way. Maybe it requires a lot of research (through trial and errors) to get to their current stage such as science findings. So there are definitely certain topics of articles that needs paywall.

    For open access documents, even though it is free online, we have an option to donate to the authors for their further improvement or not. But that totally depends on us and we often ignore that option away.

    However, have you thought about how articles are now open accessed on the internet but required to pay on e-book? I believe that there will changes made to standardize all articles. Do you like open access articles? I do like it a lot as I can find articles and music piece provided by musicians online easily!

    Chan Wan Chyng

    • Hi WanChyng!

      Thanks for being my first commenter!!! 😀
      Indeed, I hope that information be provided free but of course, looking through many factors… this could very well be a pipe dream.
      Paywalls does have its advantages because free uninhibited access can lead to malicious intent, plagiarism, misrepresentation etc.

      You rightly brought up the discrepancies between pricing on a same item that is available at two places. I like reading manga but buying them proved to be an expensive hobby. These days, I find free scan-lations online.
      But at it’s root, it is also piracy.

      By supporting these illegal sites, the ones that stand the most to lose are the content producer (mangaka).


      • Hi Edward! Thanks for the reply! Until now, I have yet to get one comment though. 😦

        Anyway, it’s great that we are able to grasp the idea of whether documents should be open access or closed access. I guess that student’s work might be closed access. We do not wish to have plagiarism right?

  2. Pingback: Reflective Summary (The Origins Of The Internet) | CARPE DIEM

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