AI killed the internet. Corruption spreads, infecting YouTube kids' content too.

A critical investigation into how the internet, once a realm of limitless possibility and anonymity, has been transformed into a recognized entity often exploited by governments and corporations for surveillance and control.

Once a Space of Anonymity

The internet used to be an anonymous space, a realm where anyone could explore and express without the threat of being watched. People were free to be whoever they wanted to be, engrossing themselves in vast expanses of knowledge, crisscrossing paths with strangers from different walks of life, building virtual communities and uncensored frontiers.

However, the landscape of the internet has drastically altered over time. The anonymous haven that it once was, has morphed into a distinctly recognized entity, with invisible shackles of control. It's now a realm where anonymity is feared and transparency demanded.

The Intrusion of Corporations and Governments

The novelty and realm of the internet was soon recognized as a goldmine by corporations and governments. The former initially drove its monetization, converting it into a market space teeming with advertisements, products, and services.

On the contrary, governments saw it as an avenue for control and surveillance. Through data collection, they generated demographic profiles, tracked online behaviors, viewpoints, allegiances, in short, an extensive virtual dossier of every netizen that could be used for numerous purposes.

The Advent of Social Media

Social media was a subsequent evolution, turning the internet into a virtual society reflective of the real one. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram took networking to a new level, moulding human interaction into predetermined patterns. People started curating their online personas, operating under the public gaze.

These platforms also became hotspots for data collection, with businesses tailoring their advertising strategies, and governments refining their surveillance. The jollity of socializing online was marred by the ever-watchful eyes of controlling entities.

The Sacrifice of Privacy

Internet users had to trade their privacy for convenience and connectivity. Each visit to a website, each post, tweet, or share, contributed to the databank of information facilitating the prying eyes of corporations and governments.

Surveillance incorporated itself subtly through user agreements and permissions, camouflaged amidst complex terminologies and an array of checkboxes. Unwitting users fell into this trap, trading their secrecy for online gratification.

The Reality of Internet

Despite portraying an image of freedom and opportunity, the internet today is a manipulated space. Its netizens are mere puppets dancing to the tunes of algorithms and patterns, carved out by corporatocracies and governments.

Rather than being a vast entity of diverse voices, the internet has shrunk itself to mirror the narrowed perspectives of its rulers. Country boundaries extend into the virtual world, with content censorship and information dismissal becoming widespread.

Can Anonymity be Regained?

The quest to reclaim the internet's lost anonymity is a complex one. Intertwined with people’s dependence on the internet for socializing, information, and services, the resolution cannot be linear.

Even the resources promising security and anonymity, such as VPNs or Tor networks, are compromised. They offer a false sense of security while collecting data clandestinely, feeding it back to the same controlling entities.

The Rise of Decentralized Internet

The decentralized internet offers hope. By scattering the control from few entities to various nodes, this structure envisions an internet free from manipulation.

However, this alternative is still in its infancy and lacks the robustness and feasibility required for a mass shift. Also, it faces potential infiltration by the controlling entities maneuvering to retain their hold.

Awareness and Advocacy

Awareness about the reality of the internet could spark a shift. Encouraging netizens to question the control, manipulation, and surveillance could lead to an outcry demanding the liberation of the internet.

However, the battle for an anonymous internet is woven with challenges. Corporations and governments, with their infinite resources and influence, are formidable adversaries. A successful counter would require unity, advocacy, and perseverance.

Legal Interventions

Legal interventions could be a potential solution. Laws that regulate data collection, ensure transparency of corporations, limit government surveillance, and protect users' rights, if well enforced, could tilt the odds.

However, drafting such laws requires a deep understanding of the technology and its potentials for misuse, a perspective often lacking among law-making bodies.

Evolution of an Alternative Internet

Creating an alternative internet functioning on principles of anonymity, diversity, and decentralization could be a way out. Detached from the commercialized model, this internet could bring back the freedom and anonymity lost over decades.

However, this venture demands immense investment, expertise, and public support to counter the established internet.

A Chip off the Old Block?

The internet, a technology that held promises of progress, has turned into a tool for surveillance and conformity. However, in spite of the odds, hope persists to bring internet back to its roots, to nurture it back as a sphere of anonymity and limitless exploration.

Remembering the internet, as it once was, could be the first step in envisaging the change, in igniting the fight for reclaiming the internet as the people’s domain.