[Nytimes] Proclaimed Dead, Web Is Showing New Life

Twenty autumns ago, Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist, came up with a catchy name for a revolutionary project that aimed to open the Internet to the masses. “The World Wide Web,” he called it, and the image proved to be so evocative that, for many people, the Web has become synonymous with the Internet.

So as other kinds of Internet traffic have started to grow more rapidly than Web use, some open-Internet campaigners see a threat to the Web and, more generally, the Internet as we know it.[...]

For Internet users in countries like China or Iran, the idea that there are limits to online freedom is nothing new. There, governments routinely block access to Web sites that feature dissenting political views.

For advocates of openness, the nightmare outlook is one in which telecommunications companies, allied with other corporate partners, seize control of the Internet and run it in a way that maximizes profits, rather than openness. [...]

The Internet has become a truly global space where everyone, almost everywhere, has access to the same information,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, a group based in Paris that campaigns against restrictions on Internet use. “I think this is one of the most precious things we have ever built as a civilization, and this is what is at stake now.