There's still plenty of room for innovation today, yet the openness fostering it may be eroding. While the Internet is more widely available and faster than ever, artificial barriers threaten to constrict its growth. Call it a mid-life crisis. A variety of factors are to blame. Spam and hacking attacks force network operators to erect security firewalls.
"There is more freedom for the typical Internet user to play, to communicate, to shop — more opportunities than ever before," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor and co-founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "On the worrisome side, there are some longer-term trends that are making it much more possible (for information) to be controlled."