The internet is an inherently chaotic system with most of the computing power on the edges and very weak central controls. This is by design because it creates a stable, robust network. Individuals (first from universities) swarmed the internet in an explosion of creativity. They were followed by corporations as the net was opened to commercial activity. Government was late to the game and is only now coming to grips with how to use the internet for monitoring citizens.
As individuals moved online, there was certainly an increase in freedom to communicate. But now that "total information awareness " is upon us, we are less free. And in a way that's more dangerous than it was in 1984 because, at least until very recently, we did not know how limited our freedom was.