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posted by janrinok on Friday August 30 2019, @12:08PM   Printer-friendly

Mike Masnick, usually editor for Techdirt, has written an essay on a technological approach to preserving free speech online in spite of the direction things have been heading in regards to locked-in platforms. He proposes moving back to an Internet where protocols dominate.

This article proposes an entirely different approach—one that might seem counterintuitive but might actually provide for a workable plan that enables more free speech, while minimizing the impact of trolling, hateful speech, and large-scale disinformation efforts. As a bonus, it also might help the users of these platforms regain control of their privacy. And to top it all off, it could even provide an entirely new revenue stream for these platforms.

That approach: build protocols, not platforms.

To be clear, this is an approach that would bring us back to the way the internet used to be. The early internet involved many different protocols—instructions and standards that anyone could then use to build a compatible interface. Email used SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Chat was done over IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Usenet served as a distributed discussion system using NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol). The World Wide Web itself was its own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP.

In the past few decades, however, rather than building new protocols, the internet has grown up around controlled platforms that are privately owned. These can function in ways that appear similar to the earlier protocols, but they are controlled by a single entity. This has happened for a variety of reasons. Obviously, a single entity controlling a platform can then profit off of it. In addition, having a single entity can often mean that new features, upgrades, bug fixes, and the like can be rolled out much more quickly, in ways that would increase the user base.

Earlier on SN:
Re-decentralizing the World-Wide Web (2019)
Decentralized Sharing (2014)

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  • (Score: 2) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Saturday August 31 2019, @09:37AM

    by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Saturday August 31 2019, @09:37AM (#888164) Journal

    This is awesome well said. lol

    Every tier 1 email support tech in the world hears you. I have been in those trenches, and you sit there thinking because oh will you have time to think while doing this over the phone, why is this literally poor grandpa having to type in port 25 and port 993? Is there really no automated way in this day and age?

    This trade off with going lower level most people face is yeah, FB is easy and free and everybody is doing it but perilous to your immortal soul, or an alternative that is expensive and difficult but gives you a magic internet book. This is where we are clearly stuck at the moment so I think it's great these people are working on it.

    I love my static site though(even though for the moment I rely on wordpress's cloudy blobware, I am so tired of caging my words in morphing, opaque, spooky, shafty T.O.S.,corporate bullshit. Decentralized marketing will be something to behold, I hope they pull it off. Content creators like me really need it.

    FB, goo and co are censoring everybody up in here and devising new and backhanded ways to outlaw thought itself.

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