Internet growth could cause government backlash

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A senior adviser to Hilary Clinton has warned that world governments pose the largest threat to global innovation as the rise of technology and the internet has seen power and the ‘hierarchy of control’ taken away from those who traditionally hold power and being placed in the hands of citizens. Alec Ross warned that as this happened, it could see a backlash from governments across the globe as they fought to regain this power.

Speaking at LeWeb London, Mr. Ross said, “As power is shifting from hierarchies to citizens, and networks of citizens, governments tend to feel overwhelmed,” he said.

“They feel over-run by this change. As movements accelerate; as revolutions increasingly make use of connective technologies; as pieces of legislation with massive corporate backing get shot in the head because of citizen-centred networks, what you should anticipate is a lashing back from government.”

One recent example was the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) which faced a large and co-ordinated protest by internet users against what they saw as a restriction of internet freedom.  Such was the pressure that many politicians changed their stance to oppose Sopa. Mr Ross, who is seen by many to be Mrs Clinton’s most influential adviser, warned that governments would simply try harder to enforce their will.  He added that governments would start “seeking to control your networks, seeking to take away your internet freedom.”


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