owns the internet; Over the past two and a half decades, the Internet has evolved dramatically to become something of a start-up. Trying to understand what the Internet is and how it works can be confusing. But who exactly owns the Internet? For a variety of reasons, answering this question is not an easy task. In this article, we will discuss the possible answers to determine the ownership of the Internet.
What is the Internet?
The Internet, in simple terms, is a vast network of computers. Each computer that connects via the Internet can send different information to other computers on this network. The Internet is based on mass cables and wireless communication technology (such as telecommunications towers and satellites) that connect all of these systems.
Small computer networks were also used in the late 1950s and 1960s. Then, with the invention of packet switching, much larger computer networks were developed in universities, government agencies, and various companies. Until the early 1990s, the Internet was accessible with private access. In the process, the Internet was finally created, which we are dealing with today.
No one owns the Internet completely
The Internet is more of a concept than a physical entity. No one has the patent or copyright of the Internet. Instead, parts of the Internet (data centers, cables, satellites, routers, etc.) belong to countless individuals, companies, and government organizations. The founder of the World Wide Web deliberately did not register the patent so that this space would remain free and everyone could use it. To answer the question of Internet ownership, it is better to own Internet infrastructure.
Who owns the Internet infrastructure?
A number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) own the largest portions of Internet infrastructure. This infrastructure includes network access points, cables and routers. Today, more than 700,000 miles of submarine cable are used for the Internet, which is about 28 times the length of the equator.
Because of the overlap between telecommunications networks and Internet infrastructure, some of the largest telecommunications operators (such as AT&T and Spring) own large portions of this infrastructure.
First Class Internet Service Providers
First-class ISPs make up the bulk of the Internet backbone and have most IPv4 addresses. These ISPs typically lease their infrastructure to smaller ISPs that provide Internet access to end users.
It is noteworthy (and perhaps ironic) that most Internet infrastructures, especially when it comes to telecommunication towers and cabling, were developed with the money of taxpayers in different countries before privatization. Today, however, only a small portion of Internet infrastructure is available to governments.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon have also begun buying and developing intercontinental fiber optic cables. These companies now own about one-tenth of all submarine cables. Some critics see this move as dangerous, and potentially this approach allows very powerful companies to have too much control over the Internet.
Who controls and regulates the Internet?
The Internet is largely uncontrolled and self-regulating because there is no centralized, unified organization to control the Internet. Overall, the Internet infrastructure is designed to be very difficult to control. Data is sent through different paths in “packets”. Since packets can be sent through different routes, it is easily possible for the Internet Protocol (IP) to find a new route to reach the desired destination.
Different governments, for a variety of reasons, try to set different rules and regulations for the Internet within the scope of their activities, which are usually related to illegal or harmful content. These rules usually apply at the content level (for example, by closing the site) or at the user level (criminal charges).
In this way, governments regulate the Internet through laws. For example, we can refer to the rules related to the illegal download of various types of content. Some countries use censorship tools to block a number of sites. This has raised concerns about freedom of expression, freedom of information, and how an authoritarian regime can take information and communication capabilities from its citizens.
Standards defined by organizations
In the meantime, we must point to important groups of individuals and organizations whose purpose is to define and promote standards for the Internet. One of them is the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3). The organization provides standards for web development, and the purpose of this work is to ensure the standardization of web accessibility, Internet infrastructure and data management throughout the industry.
Another important organization is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Letters and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates and maintains several key databases to ensure a stable, secure, and operational Internet. There are several other important organizations in this field, each of which plays an important role in this space.
ISPs and Internet neutrality
The concept of Internet neutrality simply states that ISPs should treat all data equally. For example, they should not prioritize specific data over other data so that users have equal access to different types of data.
Internet neutrality has many fans and critics, and there are various legal battles over this issue in different countries of the world. Proponents of the plan argue that smaller content providers would be largely eliminated without such a plan, leading to a widespread monopoly on Internet content. In many countries, there are anti-competitive institutions so that no internet provider can monopolize the market.
But many techies argue that big companies (such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others) currently have the most power and influence on the Internet. Google and Facebook, for example, account for more than 70 percent of all Internet traffic. In addition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts for about one-third of all Internet access.
Who owns the data?
Data ownership, or intellectual property, has been the subject of much debate over the past few years. The debate over the habits of large technology companies to gather information has raised the question of who owns the data. For example, information about users’ online habits is collected by sites such as Facebook. This data is then passed on to third parties to display more effective advertising.
When asking the question of Internet ownership, we need to ask who owns the data created by users; Because this data is an important source of revenue, information and potential control of the Internet.
Data ownership as a whole is a very complex issue, and there is no comprehensive rule on who owns any data. But at least under existing law, the company that owns the data collection platform is likely to own the data as well.
So who owns the internet?
To answer this question briefly and usefully, we can say that the Internet belongs to several large companies. But if we ask who dominates the Internet, we have to answer a very small group of companies. While governments are trying to control certain aspects of the Web, their laws have failed to keep pace with the Internet. As a result, only 4 or 5 large companies now control the majority of the Internet.
Determining data ownership is much more complex than discussing cable ownership, and differences in the laws of different countries increase the complexity of the issue. But until further notice, companies such as Google and Facebook, which have the most user data, can make billions of dollars through this data.