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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)

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday September 03 2019, @02:24PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Tuesday September 03 2019, @02:24PM (#889190) Journal

    Having a recognized brand can be helpful, especially when considering what to buy. Sure, you can buy the off-brand version, but generally the on-brand version will have an image they're trying to uphold. Thus, will likely be of a consistent quality.

    Facebook, specifically, is furthering a dystopian agenda. Tracking everyone and everything all the time. Sure, they're "just" doing it for the money, but the technology will be and likely already has been abused. I avoided Facebook like the plague, until I realized, they already had all of my information. So, yes, I do have a Facebook account, that I almost never use. There should be some kind of privacy controls that will keep them in check, but that seems to be a lost cause. The right to privacy is built into our laws. Unfortunately unlike a lot of "with a computer" crimes. Our rights to privacy are being trampled on and it seems as though, no one is fighting for it. We're only free, so far as we are willing to fight to stay that way.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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  • (Score: 2) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Tuesday September 03 2019, @03:01PM

    by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Tuesday September 03 2019, @03:01PM (#889201) Journal

    Speak for yourself.

    I am showing you how to revolt in a way it will be noticed with just your keyboard and you are basically spitting in my face telling me there is nothing that can be done because you can't think of anything.

    Let that sink in once you realize what that says about you.