At its inception, the internet was a beautifully idealistic and equal place. But the world sucks and we’ve continuously made it more and more centralized, taking power away from users and handing it over to big companies. And the worst thing is that we can’t fix it — we can only make it slightly less awful.
That was pretty much the core of Pirate Bay’s co-founder, Peter Sunde‘s talk at tech festival Brain Bar Budapest.
At some point, and probably sooner than we think, the current left and right offerings of the major parties, including (perhaps especially) the populist, will start to appear ludicrous and unworkable. New political movements and ideas will arrive before long for this industrial revolution, especially once the majority of the population will soon have grown up online. It will be a politics that offers solutions to the challenges society will face, and be bold enough to steer technology rather than be led by it, to harness it rather than dismiss it, to see it as a motor of social change, not just a job maker.
There is a lot of buzz about »fake news«. But there is very little discussion about what it is that is supposed to be fake.
Maybe, there isn’t that much real fake news. (Dissent doesn’t qualify as fake.) Maybe it’s about stuff we don’t really want to know about. Or are not supposed to.
»Fake news« seems to be a mirage that will vanish if you try to pin it down.
It might also be that we are already so entangled in lies that we can no longer recognize the truth, even in its presence.
On the better web Berners-Lee envisions, users control where their data is stored and how it’s accessed. For example, social networks would still run in the cloud. But you could store your data locally. Alternately, you could choose a different cloud server run by a company or community you trust. You might have different servers for different types of information—for health and fitness data, says—that is completely separate from the one you use for financial records.
The defining characteristics of Elites have traditionally been threefold. The first is their institutionalised access to information. The second, their exercise of influence. Thirdly, they controlled opinion and expertise in the public sphere.
Now, we’re seeing the demise of these three assets – and with them the demise of the establishment. It’s clear that we’re in the middle of a seismic change to the way information, influence and control is spread within society.
Huffington Post: The End Of Elites? How Technology Is Killing The Man »
Competition between currencies is the stuff libertarian dreams are made on—and central bankers’ nightmares too. Already digital monies, in particular Bitcoin and Ethereum, are rivals. On October 28th a new crypto-currency will join the fray: Zcash. Many such “altcoins” are dubious affairs and don’t add much. But this one brings important innovations.
The Economist: Known unknown »
This is exciting. The Web2Web project claims to be able to put web pages on the Internet that cannot be taken down, using torrents and Bitcoin. And it can be run from any modern browser.
The under the hood stuff is explained by TorrentFreak – Web2Web: Serverless Websites Powered by Torrents & Bitcoin »
»To run a Web2Web website neither the server nor the domain is required. All you need is a bootstrap page that loads your website from the torrent network and displays it in the browser« Czech developer Michal Spicka tells TorrentFreak.
If this turns out to be anything like what it’s said to be, it might be a game changer. It builds on the need for resilient, decentralised systems beyond the reach of Big Government and Big Business.
Expect some serious noise from the authorities…
This is exciting…
The web is a little fucked up right now. Governments are spying on civilians, some block specific websites, and companies like Amazon have a stranglehold on the cloud services business. But what if we could create a decentralized web, with more privacy, less government control, and less corporate influence?
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, wants to do exactly that. Sir Tim recently gathered some top computer scientists in a San Francisco church at an event called the Decentralized Web Summit, where attendees brainstormed ways to make the internet more broadly distributed. The smartest technologists on the planet showed up to join the discussions including early internet architect Vint Cerf and Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive.
“The temptation to grab control of the internet by the government or by a company is always going to be there. They will wait until we’re sleeping, because if you’re a government or a company and you can control something, you’ll want it,” he said.
For many years, the EU has taken many small steps towards introducing an EU ID card: eIDAS. (Or at least a strict common EU standard for nationally issued ID cards.)
An ID card proving the holders identity is one thing. (However, a mandatory ID card as such is a very controversial concept in some member states.) One interesting point is if there is going to be a common personal EU identification number. Another is what information the cards chip will contain and how it is going to be used. No doubt, an EU ID card can be used as a very effective tool for various forms of Big Brotherism.
It is in the light of the EU slowly trying to introduce a common, mandatory ID card that various EU schemes should be scrutinised.
Last week some sites, e.g. Breitbart London ran this story: The European Commission Wants You To Log Into Social Media Accounts With Govt-Issued ID Cards »
Well, that might be a bit oversimplified. What the EU suggests is that it should be possible to use national (EU harmonised) ID cards to log into various online platforms instead of logging in using e.g. Facebook or Google. Thus giving you the possibility of being controlled by Big Government or Big Data.
Giving people a possibility to choose is a good idea, as such. But I’m not sure that I would like Big Government or Big Data to have the control over my online life.
And you should be very suspicious! The moment there is an established platform for online registration (or signing transactions) with an EU approved ID card – this system can be rolled out all over the place. For example, the EU would love to have a system where you have to use your ID card to be able to log on to the Internet. I have met several people in the EU apparatus promoting that idea.
But how should you go about if you don’t want nor Big Government or Big Data to be in control of your online activities?
Actually, it can be done quite easily – by using Blockchain technology, decentralised solutions, and open source software. Ideal, there should be a couple of different such ID providers, competing with each other over providing competent privacy protection.
(All of this might even be possible to achieve using the already existing Bitnation World Citizen ID.)
This can be one of those forks in the road of history: Do we want our online activities to be controlled by Big Government and Big Brother, by Big Data – or a decentralised system with a high level of security, respecting users right to privacy and controlled by no one?
• The European Commission Wants You To Log Into Social Media Accounts With Govt-Issued ID Cards »
• EU: Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe »