In 2016, the Internet Archive convened a decentralized web summit to discuss ways to make the web less centralized and thus less vulnerable to censorship, corporate abuse and "shadow regulation" (I gave one of the keynotes).
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media & Digital Currency Initiative have published a long, very readable overview of the problems of centralization and the technical, economics, legal and social impediments to solving them. They cover efforts like Mastadon, which aim to replace the centralized, winner-take-all systems with decentralized, federated ones, as well as blockchain technologies, distributed infrastructure like Freedom Box.
We offer case studies of the following decentralized publishing projects:
Freedom Box, a system for personal publishing
Diaspora, a federated social network
Mastodon, a federated Twitter-like service
Blockstack, a distributed system for online identity services
IPFS (Interplanetary File System), a distributed storage service with a proposed mechanism to
incentivize resource sharing
Solid (Social Linked Data), a linked-data protocol that could act as a back-end for data sharing
between social media networks
Appcoins, a digital currency framework that enables users to financially participate in
ownership of platforms and protocols
Steemit, an online community that uses an appcoin to incentivize development and community
participation in a social network
Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization:
Back to the Future? [Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula and Ethan Zuckerman/The Center for Civic Media &
The Digital Currency Initiative
MIT Media Lab]
Frontier is the bottom-rung of the top-tier of US ISPs, serving customers in 29 states. Despite enjoying monopoly control over its customers' online lives, and despite massive government handouts and a lackadaisical approach to maintenance, and despite out-and-out theft from customers, the company is filing for bankruptcy, having accumulated $16.3b in debt through mismanagement.
Bruce Schneier's Foreign Policy essay in 5G security argues that we're unduly focused on the possibility of Chinese manufacturers inserting backdoors or killswitches in 5G equipment, and not focused enough on intrinsic weakness in a badly defined, badly developed standard wherein "near-term corporate profits prevailed against broader social good."
Long before 4chan and other anything-goes forums existed, every major online community had a similar community: the Well had its "weird" forum, Usenet had alt.syntax.tactical (among others), and Something Awful had the "Fuck You and Die" forum, where people were funny, mean, obscene, and gross, sometimes all at once.
Considering the state of our world, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to find lots and lots of people pushed to their breaking point. Anxiety and stress are often constant companions during the best of times. But now, with fear and frustration running rampant, it’s easy to be subsumed by all the distractions and […]
Most of us aren’t constantly beset by poor posture. But all it takes is some subtle misalignment while you’re doing serious hours behind the wheel driving or working away at a desk to do a real number on your back. In fact, most of us are so unaware of the mechanics of good posture that […]
From ordering from Amazon to paying bills over the web to something as simple as bottled water, we’re all hooked on modern convenience. We can’t help it. There are just too many modern world advances that save us too much time not to become a creature of comfort and go the easy route. Even if […]