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posted by takyon on Monday December 10 2018, @04:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the giant-leap dept.

Aral Balkan has a blog post about taking small steps to end surveillance capitalism. In particular he focuses on the need for federated services. He points out that the move to re-decentralize the WWW is difficult and needs to start at the beginning, using a comparison of Apple's original computers to their latest generation of tablets as an illustration.

Five years ago, when I decided to devote myself to tackling the problem of surveillance capitalism, it was clear what we needed: convenient and beautiful ethical everyday things that provide seamless experiences1 on fully free-as-in-freedom stacks.

This is as true today as it was then and it will remain so. The only way to compete with unethical products built by organisations that have control over hardware + software + services is to create ethical organisations that have control over hardware + software + services and thus have at least the possibility to craft competitive experiences. We remove our eyes from this goal at our peril.

Related: Tim Berners-Lee Launches Inrupt, Aims to Create a Decentralized Web


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Tuesday December 11 2018, @08:14PM

    From the POV of a technical guy, Postfix and Sendmail, as well as Dovecot and various webmail servers are actually pretty easy to set up and manage.

    Non-technical people have options [cyberciti.biz] too.

    One of the big drivers of centralization, and the lack of mainstream (as in the general public, rather than the tech mainstream) knowledge/use of distributed mail/social media/file storage/etc, is the lack of widespread implementation of *symmetric* internet links in the consumer space. This is exacerbated by the abusive TOS and port blocking done by (you got it!) the big, centralized ISPs.

    If we'd had broad implementation of symmetric, high-speed broadband (you know, like the US taxpayer paid/subsidized those same ISPs to do to the tune of US$50 billion) over the past 20 years, you wouldn't have seen companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google (gmail) get so big and powerful, forcing more centralization.

    None of this stuff is so difficult that it can't be wrapped in simple installers and managed with a reasonable UI.

    Technical issues (such as asymmetric DSL and cable bandwidth) as well as greed from the ISPs created the space for other greedy folks to create these behemoths. What's more, that also drove the rise of "the cloud" (read: someone else's servers), even though most folks have plenty of compute resources to support most of what they may want to do.

    I'm painting with a broad brush, but it's all there if you look at recent history. That's another driver, IMHO. A lack of knowledge about how we got to where we are, along with a healthy dose of willful ignorance have made these trends even worse.

    These are big issues that cut across industries and is primarily driven by the desire to extract the maximum amount of rent from consumers, especially since marginal costs approach zero in most of these industries.

    Sigh.

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
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