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posted by martyb on Monday June 13 2016, @11:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the going-fishing dept.


Speaking at the Decentralized Web Summit conference in San Francisco run by the Internet Archive, the engineer [Inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee] joined other internet notables including "father of the internet" Vint Cerf and Mozilla head Mitchell Baker in discussing how to strengthen the open internet as well as ensure its contents are retained over time.

"The web is already decentralized," Berners-Lee told attendees. "The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one social network, one Twitter for micro-blogging. We don't have a technology problem; we have a social problem."

[...] founder of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle: "Edward Snowden showed we've inadvertently built the world's largest surveillance network with the web. We have the ability to change all that."

The conference featured the developers of many tools that aim to retain the internet's decentralized nature, such as Blockstack, Ethereum, Interledger, IPFS and others.

It's not just the World Wide Web, it's the entire internet: your phone reports on your location at all times, apps on it flush contents of your phone to the owners of the app, almost all websites do some sort of tracking (most of them using Google Analytics), e-mail providers happily hand over anything to anyone asking, and the rest is vacuumed up automatically by the NSA.

So with that in mind: how are Soylentils protecting themselves online aside from the usual (i.e. not running javascript or 'use a VPN')?

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by WizardFusion on Monday June 13 2016, @11:34AM

    by WizardFusion (498) on Monday June 13 2016, @11:34AM (#359301) Journal

    On my phone I have a firewall/application control app that limits what apps can do.
    Even with this, I don't download and install apps that ask for everything - why should a game want access to my contacts, etc.?!

    On my laptop, I have the same thing. F-Secure Client Security (an old version) has an out-bound firewall, so any applications wanting internet access, F-Secure pops up and asks me.

    When at home, my DNS server has a block list from, [] updated about once a week.

    As well as the usual ScriptBlock, uBlock Origin, etc browser plugins.

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by anubi on Monday June 13 2016, @11:48AM

    by anubi (2828) on Monday June 13 2016, @11:48AM (#359308) Journal

    Informative. Thanks. Incidentally, your link had an extra comma at the end... reposted, sans comma... []

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ledow on Monday June 13 2016, @11:49AM

    by ledow (5567) on Monday June 13 2016, @11:49AM (#359311) Homepage

    So you're only dependent on the upstream DNS servers, an insecure out-of-date F-Secure (and that is probably querying a remote server to check the "safety" of the program in question against their database), and the browser for your privacy.

    This is the point. Not that you can't browse the web. But that you can't do it without the control of third-parties in the loop - everyone from ICANN to F-Secure.

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday June 13 2016, @05:29PM

    by frojack (1554) on Monday June 13 2016, @05:29PM (#359466) Journal

    Those may help. But your phone can't help reporting your location due to the simple need to connect to towers and tell those towers which phone calls it will accept. And then each app that you DO allow to accept connections re-establishes its connection with those motherships so you get your emails, text messages, game score updates, weather reports etc. etc.

    The net itself is even worse, because just finding the connections that exist is extremely hard. If you can't explain every single listening or establoshed connection shown at the top of a simple "netstat -anp" display you are probably at risk from things you never knew were running.

    Then after wading through those, you realize the next piece of hardware up stream is as big a tattle-tale as your phone

    I've been thinking about what Berners-Lee and friends were saying since the article first appeared. I was thinking of submitting it, but someone beat me to it.

    I've concluded that it couldn't have happened any other way. Even if encryption was built into every single connection and every single app, the net still would have ended up as a great spying machine. Its the very nature of humans to remember who they talked to, and about what, and generally when that happened. Few are so anal as to write all of that stuff down. But computers make that easy, and some of our laws make that mandatory.

    So I ask, How could it have turned out any different?

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by dmc on Monday June 13 2016, @09:36PM

      by dmc (188) on Monday June 13 2016, @09:36PM (#359625)

      So I ask, How could it have turned out any different?

      That's a stupid question. That's like saying that because each of a hundred different forms of government would all fail to prevent every last murder, that being selective about your form of government is a waste of energy.

      If instead of FCC-10-201 net neutrality spinning some lovely fairly tale about empowerment on the internet, including 'Sir Tim's wonderous invention, they had actually made that fairy tale a reality- Then we could have all been running our own federated home email servers, and when the NSA PRISM architects realized they would have to slurp shit straight out of all of our homes instead of just the Googleplex... Well, it would have been different. Would it have prevented every last murder? No, but it would have been quite different.