At Wednesday's Parliamentary roundtable on filtering and the Web, Robert Topolski of the Open Technology Initiative used a parable about the Web's birth to explain how the current generation of copyright, porn, terrorism (etc) filters equip network operators with the tools to murder the future-Web in its cradle:
Computing power has been rapidly increasing since the mid 1960s, as predicted by physicist Gordon Moore working in Silicon Valley at the time. By the 1990s, there was just about enough power to allow access to text and image-based files via the internet, and Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web was born.
But network administrators at the time preferred a streamlined text-only internet service, says Topolski, using something called the Gopher protocol.
He suggested that if those administrators had had access to data filtering technology, like that becoming popular with companies and governments today, they would have used it to exclude Berners-Lee's invention, and kill off the World Wide Web.
(Image: Gopher: screenshots)