The name cyberspace became as hokey as Space Jam, but the idea of the internet it named retained power for decades.
It’s only in the past few years that innumerable little events have brought about the end of the idea of cyberspace as something fundamentally independent from the terrestrial world. Everywhere I look now, the structural change in how governments and their citizens think about the internet is apparent.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has renegotiated its settlement with Elon Musk over his tweeting, because his tweeting, though it occurs online, is still material to his companies’ fortunes.
The Federal Trade Commission is expected to levy a 10-figure fine on Facebook, for which the company has already set aside $3 billion.
The agency’s previous record for a fine was $22.5 million, two orders of magnitude smaller, but finally in the same universe as a major tech company’s quarterly revenue.
Then there is the internet shutdown that the Sri Lankan government ordered in the wake of terrorist attacks in the country.
In the old days, a government interfering with social media would have brought condemnation. This week, Wired ran a story under the headline “Don’t Praise the Sri Lankan Government for Blocking Facebook,” because turning the internet off didn’t seem like such a bad idea to many people.
Antitrust law has roared back into congressional consciousness as representatives and senators realize that companies with dominant market positions could be violating it, even though they operate on the internet.
Source: The End of Cyberspace – Nextgov