The Internet is dying. Our freedoms are being eroded as Big Business grapples away control of steadily more and more of our Internet, limiting our voices and shackling our thoughts. The Web is being poisoned by the toxin of advertising and its subdemons of money and greed; corrupted and held in limit by the many strings and hidden agendas that are quickly coming to form the very backbone of this once-great medium.
Censorship and control
The free speech the Internet could at one time claim to uphold is continually attacked and eroded away by bill after bill, law after law, case after case, to such an extent that one cannot even speak one's mind and have an opinion, without potentially becoming the target of some deep-pocketed cyberbully who's bigger than you and therefore has the right, nay, responsibility to shut you up if you speak unflattering of them, to protect their best intere$ts. A recent case involved a group of cyber-critics who cast a large company in an unfavorable light by telling of their opinions, past experiences, etc. with said company. The court battle that ensued (no pun intended) resulted in the company, Philip Services Corp., getting the full names, phone numbers, addresses, and other records of all those who dared criticise their company, from the critics' ISPs. And if one bully can have this information, what's to keep all the other bullies from hopping on the bandwagon? With this information divulged, those that get on a bully's bad side may be confronted with an all new level of terrorism and harassment. Said one of the Philips critics, "This company has terrorized its critics... There have been threats of lawsuits worth millions to try to neutralize criticism, the use of private investigators to scare and intimidate people, you name it." Rulings like these threaten to destroy the open, healthy debate that makes up the very core of the Internet. Sadly, this is going on everywhere. Our online freedoms are being sniped at at every turn, from Big Business wielding control over the words and lives of the rest-of-us class (see my GeoCities harassment page) to bills like the CDA  and CDA II which threaten to make even sharing the "wrong" thoughts, as defined by The Government, a crime. Big Brother is most certainly smiling a big Cheshire Cat grin right now.
Control is being wrested away from us by the censors and the thought police, whose massive checkbooks and spin-control have convinced the Powers That Be that they have every right to continue wresting away our control. Take dishonest companies such as CyberPatrol and Texas.Net, who feel it is their duty to decide, for their own customers and ultimately a large portion of the Internet community, what is and is not appropriate for them to see. CyberPatrol and other censorware, which is supposed to block 'indecent' material, goes far beyond its original intentions, blocking everything from info on breast cancer to discussions of homosexuality to womens'-rights pages to competitors' sites to criticism of their company. For example, why is Peacefire, a site advocating responsible, free speech on the Internet, blocked as indecent? And then there are the rogue, censornazi ISPs like, which you may have heard a lot about in alt.censorship and other related newsgroups. They forge cancels (which erases postings they don't approve of from the newsgroup), they block postings to and from their own members, particularly those that speak critically of the name it, they do it. And if it turns out that one can do it with impunity, why not all?
Corruption, Greed, and the advertisers that wield the power
...The internet was at one time an educational resource--Owned and operated by government and university, for the exchange of information vital to research. Today the Internet is one big, gaudy infomercial whose content is controlled by advertisers. They have the final say over what kind of 'Net content is acceptable, and what isn't. Say you run a server and write essays, and you sell advertising on the site to pay its expenses. Your advertising agency (let's call them SuckerNet) didn't like the opinion you posted about President Clinton last week. Their response to you? "Either remove what you wrote last week and post a retraction, or we pull our advertising and you don't get paid diddlysquat." Now as you may know, running a webserver can be pretty expensive. And unless you're willing to work nights at McDonalds' to pay your server expenses out-of-pocket, the advertisers have just decided for you what to think--and what your readers will, and will not, be able to read. Think about that. The top dog anywhere is MONEY, and it has the final say in just about all matters. Sad but true.
    One of the most obvious cases of advertising dollars compromising 'Net freedoms is GeoCities--originally intended to be an anything-goes bastion of free speech (I'm not making this up, this was the initial intention of then-CEO Tom Evans and content manager P. F. Hohmann). To pay for their 'free' websites, they did the advertising thing, recruiting businesses to pay for banner rotations on the site. Then all hell broke loose. Seems some whiny advertiser didn't like the fact that there was some Nazi hate group's page on GeoCities. Said whiny advertiser said, "Delete that site, or else we pull our advertising." But Evans wanted to keep the freedom flowing. Still the whiny advertiser bitched, "Delete that site, or else we pull our advertising." So Geo followed the money and instantly changed from a free-speech pedestal to a restrictive environment in which only non-controversial, non-opinionated, generally non-exciting pages are allowed. Currently their TOS bans everything from nudity to racially-oriented content to criticism of GeoCities itself, or any aspect such as the advertising forced upon members' sites, or the 'waterstain' that effectually brands all members as GeoCities property.
    Big Business and its myriad minions of money-hungry, controllive bastards have been pushing and lobbying for an eternity for E-Commerce. Business on the Web. Expanding their already too-big-for-their-own-damn-underpants reach even further, transforming our great educational resource, our backyard printing press, into their marketing and selling tool. The Internet is their new cash cow, and they won't stop until they've milked it dry.
Glut and Overload
More people than ever are using the internet, that's no surprise, as part of Big Business's ploy it has been made out by the media to be THE must-have of the century; it's no surprise that usage has skyrocketed. But while internet load has grown exponentially, the backbone and routers that comprise it really haven't. So the damn thing's overloaded and getting slower by the minute! Some theorists had predicted that the 'net would collapse under its own weight as early as 1998 (just wait..there's still time). And with the commercialization movement mentioned above, the bandwidth gobble has increased dramatically with the serving of commercials and ads. It has been said that as much as half of all data flowing through the internet is just ads, those ugly flashing banners and such that everyone hates. Think what happens when we get more ads, more users (with faster modems) downloading bigger programs, sucking ever more bytes out of an already oversucked pipe. Folks, like it or not, before you know it we'll be back to watching TV.

GeoCities is a trademark and/or servicemark of GeoCities Corporation. McDonalds is a trademark of McDonalds Corp, and all other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
See my Page O' Disclaimers for more boring crap like this.