The Master Switch

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tim Wu discusses the history of the information industry in America, and looks at whether the Internet will be taken over and privatized as radio and television has before it. In The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information, he tells stories of the power over information, and wonders if the Internet—and the entire flow of American information—will come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan.


Tim Wu

Comments [7]

Pauline Park from Quens

This is an extremely important issue for all of us, especially those of us who are members of marginalized communities. As a transgendered woman of color who does LGBT activism, I'm very concerned about monopolies & the exercise of control over media outlets, including new media. A perfect example of this is Clear Channel Radio's decision to blacklist the Dixie Chicks after singer Natalie Maines criticized George W. Bush; this was a clear violation of freedom of speech, and is just one of many examples of Clear Channel using its vast radio network to suppress any criticism of the right-wing agenda of the Bush administration.

Nov. 12 2010 12:41 PM
Doug from New York, New York

Just a quick note to say that I thought this was a thoroughly engaging and thoughtful discussion. Can't wait to read Professor Wu's new book.

Nov. 12 2010 12:38 PM
Peter from NYC

I agree with Tim Wu on this issue. The possible effects of a hierarchical internet could be devastating. Here is a simple metaphor: imagine if the highways and interstates were controlled by monopolistic corporations that only allowed people to drive to certain stores, certain cities. We would be living in a lock-down state. There should be no part of the internet that is cut off from a top-down source.

Nov. 12 2010 12:36 PM
Ken from Little Neck

Thank you for having such a passionate and well informed guest! I've been following the development of the internet basically since the beginning, and Mr. Wu really gets it, and can explain the potential problems we face better than anybody I've heard.

Nov. 12 2010 12:35 PM
Joe from Upstate NY

The Verizon Motorola "Droid X" smart phone comes with Skype installed. (a Google Android phone with WiFi and 3G)

Nov. 12 2010 12:32 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Vast majority of Internet access is 'bring it to me' not 'take it away'. So web appliances - of many different ilks will continue to grow.

Would Tim like to speak about the recurring cable company versus provider disputes - News Corp and Cablevision; Scripps, etc.

When does 'must carry' win over 'retransmission permission'?

Nov. 12 2010 12:31 PM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

The idea that technology is controlled by conspiracies seems to me to make about as much sense as the popular idea that politicians are in charge of events.

Sure, it is indeed how the press and punditry commonly discuss things..., but just not what is actually happening it seems, except as a popular chatter.

Nov. 12 2010 12:28 PM

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