Tales of the “Victorian Internet”

Image from the Wikipedia entry on Telegraphy
Image from the Wikipedia entry on Telegraphy

A very educational article (at least for me) from Ars Technica describes the shenanigans unregulated capitalism played with the telegraph during the latter half of the 19th century. (The context being the debate over network neutrality.) Thoroughly recommended.

In 1876, laissez-faireĀ “freedom for all” meant (in practice) the freedom for Henry Nash Smith to read your telegrams if he didn’t like who you supported for President. It meant freedom for Associated Press to block criticism of Western Union, and even to put potential critics and competitors out of business.