I came across two articles that question the openness of the mobile internet. The first, titled, Is Mobile Internet Really a Good Thing?, discusses that the Internet has been a platform of innovation and cultural ferment because it is open and relatively unregulated. Connectivity using mobiles is not as open and is very regulated. Therefore, the shift from computer access to access on mobile devices may actually be a bad thing as telecom companies and government restrict access to information from those devices. The second article, titled Japan Panel Urges Limit on Mobile Use by Children is an example of this in action. Japan, the country that probably has the highest penetration of mobile phones, may be actively limiting access to information.
While theoretically, the push to mobile Internet is empowering as it provides continuous access, I’m beginning to wonder why certain circles are pushing access in this way. Traditional Internet and mobile Internet access is generally provided by the same telecom companies. Why is it that content filtering is resisted through traditional access but not through mobile access? Why does the platform matter? Just because Internet is accessed through a mobile browser instead of a computer browser, it doesn’t mean that content should be restricted. Instruction and information is the best way to keep kids safe, not blocking. Blocking just makes it more enticing for kids to want to access inappropriate content.
It has been difficult for telecoms and countries (except for China, of course) to restrict content through traditional access. Are we shifting from computer access to mobile access to make information less accessible and open?