Centralised networks are those where all information passes through an individual source, this creates issues such as censorship, delay in information and if the centre is struck down the entire system is useless. Centralised networks essentially allow for control. Whilst the internet we experience is more of a decentralised or distributed network there are still a handful of mega corporations at the centre, meaning our privacy in nonexistent. From Google to Facebook, our personal information is collected and sold as a product to advertisers.
John Perry Barlow’s manifesto, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace written in 1996 describes a digital, self-governed utopia where traditional governmental institutions have no place. He claimed that governments do not and can not control cyberspace. Whilst this is maybe true to an extent the government still very much governs and sways the internet. Especially in countries such as China, where extreme firewalls are put in place to stop citizens from viewing anything deemed inappropriate or unfavourable of the government. Whilst in Australia we have far greater freedom there is still a question of privacy. In addition there are restrictions on what we can access. People find ways to access the kind of environment that Barlow refers to – where cyberspace is self-governed – using things such as VPN’s to avoid firewalls.