[Wired] Opinion: Facebook's Internet.org Isn't the Internet, It's Facebooknet

This week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Internet.org, its marquee project to “connect two-thirds of the world that don’t have internet access,” is now inviting any website or service to join the program. According to Zuckerberg, this change—which follows criticism that the program violates Net Neutrality principles—would “give people even more choice and more free services, while still creating a sustainable economic model to connect every single person in the world.” [...]

Case in point: Internet.org could open up users to massive security holes and vulnerabilities. That’s because Facebook won’t allow participating sites to use SSL or TLS, two of the most commonly used security protocols that encrypt web traffic and protect users from online attacks. This single choice has the potential to undermine the security of millions of people worldwide. [...]

All of this only deepens the concerns that people already have about Internet.org. As many non-government organizations, including my group Access, have pointed out, Internet.org’s model—giving users a taste of connectivity before prompting them to purchase pricey data plans—fails to acknowledge the economic reality for millions of new internet users who can’t afford those plans. These users could get stuck on a separate and unequal path to internet connectivity, which will serve to widen—not narrow—the digital divide. [...]