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Interactivity and The Open Society (01 Jul 2004)
If every technology has the potential for both use and misuse, what are the prospects for realizing the full social potential of the Internet? Certain freedoms and guarantees are needed to ensure not just its usefulness, but its full scope for virtual enhancement of community. The early experience of unlimited Internet freedom could become a distant memory as governments and corporations refine their capacity to legislate and control. Will the digital commons become the global equivalent of the ancient Athenian agora, allowing social interaction to flourish, or will it be reduced to a giant version of the Home Shopping Network?

There can be little doubt that if the Internet is subject to excessive restriction, it will lose much of what it needs to be friendly to civil society. Thus the prospect of legally or politically imposed control is a major dimension of uncertainty as we look into the future.
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