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Where Are All The Movers And Shakers? 22 January 2002 Edition
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There was a time when nobody owned the Internet -- it was the ultimate hi-tech example of true freedom.

Although it was a much smaller place, cyberspace was an environment where there were few laws -- just a collection of "rules" that were adhered to out of respect for the medium.

Censorship and corporate greed were totally foreign concepts to Net users -- but surprisingly, the whole thing ticked along incredibly well and it was a hotbed of enterprise and innovation.

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Things went smoothly for a long time, while the Net continued to fly under the radar of governments and big-business -- but then it got popular and the power struggles began.

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As business and governments began to realise that the Net represented a huge opportunity and a potential threat to the status quo, we saw some pretty impressive power-grabs occur.

In fact, things have changed so much that we have to accept that the Net is no longer the free space it once was.

Okay, so it's much cheaper to get online -- but once you're there you are at the mercy of those who own and control cyberspace.

All over the world we're seeing governments implementing significant censorship of what we're allowed to see and say. And it's not just countries like China that are clamping down. Its quite incredible just how far some seemingly modern, western countries such as Australia and Singapore have taken their Internet censorship legislation.

Then of course there's the manner in which some corporations like Microsoft and AOL Time Warner have worked to become such dominant players that pretty soon, we won't be able to use the Net without reliance on some key element that they provide.

Of course it should not be forgotten that in some places (New Zealand for instance?) there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the corporates (Microsoft?)are colluding with the governments to further tighten their control/ownership of the Net.

So where to from here?

Well a lot of the "fun" seems to have gone out of the Net already.

Just a few years ago, Aardvark's New Sites page was filled with interesting and exciting sites created by individuals and innovative enterprises. These days it's pretty much just business brochureware and not even much of that.

What are all the smart and innovative people doing these days? Have they been turned off by the corporate takeovers and change in Net culture?

If you were one of the movers and shakers who helped shape the Net during the late 1990's, drop me a line (mark it FOR PUBLICATION if you want to share your thoughts with other readers) and tell me what you're up to.

Who knows, perhaps there are some fresh, exciting ideas about to surface.

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All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your browser with minimal delays.

I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.

If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.

Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and hand over your loot.

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New vulnerability exposes Excel and PowerPoint macros ZDNet - 29/10/2001)

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