@Ren - I get that a lot.
And just for the record, I REALLY hate it too.
Things like this I want to be completely wrong about. Seriously.
And since I'm in predictive mode, the next steps will be something like this:
After a great deal of fulminating and managed debate, most of the public will knuckle under and accept broad and highly intrusive albeit mostly invisible (by design) regulation and monitoring of any and all web traffic. At which point the Internet will enter it's second incarnation that I think of as The Overnet
(i.e. an internet with overlords).
In response, you'll have the usual protocol battles to attempt to wring some level of anonymity and privacy out of government/corporate owned and operated networks. Broad and vaguely worded laws will be eventually passed to make such attempts illegal. And draconian fines and penalties will be handed down on a certain token number of highly publicized cases. Those charged will be thoroughly demonized (i.e. kiddie-porn, terrorism, drug dealing, human trafficking, organized crime) - in some cases with
justification - but also at times without. These cases will form the basis for talking points which will be repeated ad nauseum
in order to control the scope and terms of any ongoing debate about the subject of web monitoring.
In the meantime, efforts will continue to develop methodologies to evade government monitoring. Most will be unsuccessful and mainly serve as unsuspecting R&D and 'quality control' for government monitoring efforts. Knowing full well that anything which doesn't kill us serves to make us stronger, governments will deliberately act stupider than they are in order to encourage such activities and identify those involved in it.
Some (very few) of the less talented will be periodically arrested and charged. But it will be purely for token effect.
talented will be offered government jobs in exchange for a waiver of prosecution. Those rare individuals who pose a genuine
threat however, will simply be apprehended, bled dry of what they know, and either 'rehabilitated' into some government occupation, or quietly disposed of - with no need for a trial or anyone being made the wiser.
Eventually a series of protocols will emerge that do
provide genuine anonymity and privacy and the The Undernet
will be born. This will be addressed by the creation of new laws (with even harsher penalties) for any caught using these technologies.
Ultimately, advances in computing machinery (i.e. quantum computers etc.) and mathematic theory will lead to the government cracking the Undernet protocols. But rather than shut it down, government will by now realize it provides them with the ultimate sandbox
to contain those wishing to operate outside the law. So other than the prosecution of more serious criminals, plus the occasional token victim (just to let everybody know your government still "on it"), the Undernet will continue to be unofficially
tolerated. But only under the ever watchful eye of government in order to serve as a technology containment and societal pressure relief mechanism.
At which point human society will enter into a completely new phase of it's existence which might as well be called The Panopticon Age
since universal surveillance will be the dominant shaping technology
of that era.
So there you have it: Internet
. Sounds almost biblical doesn't it?
Figure this will all likely come to pass within the next 25-30 years. But definitely before the end of this century. (And once again, I sincerely hope I'm wrong.