Science and Tech


A Look At The Greatest Threats To The Internet

Pew Research Center asked more than 1,400 experts to share their thoughts on potential threats and advances for the Internet.
Posted at 10:36 AM, Jul 04, 2014

In celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, Pew Research Center asked more than 1,400 experts what they thought were the greatest threats and potential advances for the Internet going forward.​

Let's start with the positive. Experts are largely optimistic the Internet won't see any changes for the worse by 2025 and will welcome "billions more people," because of mobile Internet advances. 

And Google Vice President Vint Cerf believes the web will become more useful and accessible, thanks to technological advances like "AI and natural language processing." (Via Flickr / New Media Days)

But while the web may be advancing, there are four major threats mentioned by many of the experts. 

Experts worry we'll see continued Internet interference by governments. We've seen hundreds of headlines over the years related to governments managing access to the Internet with the intent to control protests and dissent. Turkey blocking access to Twitter, China scrubbing Tiananmen from its history, etc. (Via Russia Today, CNN)

And we can't forget about months of National Security Agency news. The experts believe government surveillance will have a major impact on citizen's trust of the world wide web.

 But it doesn't stop at governments. One expert says, "dominant content companies may seek ever more rigorous ways to prevent the flow of copyright content." (Via The Guardian, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

If you guessed net neutrality would make the list, you'd be correct! Experts are concerned money is getting in the way of an open and free Internet. Netflix paying Internet service providers for premium connections, patent litigation, copyright concerns — it's all threatening, according to the experts. (Via TIME, BGR)

And the last major threat to the Internet — T.M.I. ... you know, too much information. One expert says the biggest challenge of the World Wide Web is "finding interesting and meaningful content when you want it." With the torrent of tweets, Facebook posts, videos, etc., it could impact the way we use the Internet. (Via TweetpingYouTube)

So while there are many things to look forward to as the Internet continues to grow and evolve, there are some major threats that could hamper Internet innovation — lucky for us, experts predict by 2025 the Internet will outlive those threats.