I’m left once again wondering what this means. Let’s say we have
three companies, A, B and C. A and B are competing frisbee makers,
and each owns a computer network. C is a company like CompuServe; it
rents out network facilities so that computer users can communicate
and make use of software information services. Where exactly is the
“frontier” and what is it that “the people” own? A’s network and B’s
are part of cyberspace (I suppose), but they are owned not by the
people but by A and B. Are the authors proposing to nationalize them?
C’s equipment is owned by C. Each computer user owns the machine on
his desk. If cyberspace were to grow immensely larger — every disk
in the world gets a thousand times bigger and every U.S. citizen
deploys five dozen computers — the machines, wires and switches would
all still be owned by the people who paid for them.

Of course the authors know this, and elsewhere they more or less admit
it. “Just as access to homes, offices, churches and department stores
is controlled by their owners or managers, most virtual locations will
exist as distinct places of private property.” So what exactly do
“the people” own, and what difference does it make?


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