At Campus Party in Brazil last month, Al Gore called on the public to act in preserving what he believes is a system vital for democracy.
"Defend the internet," he said.
"Do not let it be controlled by governments or by large corporations. It is a network of people."
But there are signs that the web is becoming dominated by the few.
According to web analytics firm Compete, the top 10 websites were responsible for 31% of US page views in 2001, rising to around 75% in most recent estimates.
Facebook alone accounts for around a quarter of all US internet traffic.
Large social networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the web
Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the web
"Al Gore's comments sound nice in theory but I just don't see how they will work out in practice," says Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of the Internet.
"It's inevitable that governments will be active online, simply because so much of public life happens online - and governments are there to enforce laws guiding public life.
"Likewise, I don't see how you can keep the corporations out - certain things can be done on the cheap and with the help of peer-to-peer [systems without a central infrastructure] alternatives but we surely can't expect that each of us will be laying internet cables to our own houses."
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