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Like Democracy, the Web Needs To Be Defended 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-arm-the-internet dept.
climenole tips a great article by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in Scientific American. Quoting: "The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, universities and companies have worked, both independently and together as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities based on those principles. The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments — totalitarian and democratic alike — are monitoring people's online habits, endangering important human rights. If we, the Web's users, allow these and other trends to proceed unchecked, the Web could be broken into fragmented islands. We could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want."
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Like Democracy, the Web Needs To Be Defended

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  • How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eepok (545733) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:49PM (#34285414) Homepage

    "As an evolved system that facilitates the propagation and security of the underlying principles of democracy, the Web needs to be defended."

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Eventually governments and corporations will stop fighting this war and implement their control over their part of the web, where every user will use their real name, and every bit of information will be at the mercy of their controller not the user. There will also be the free net, where anything goes, anonymity being the most important thing. On a certain level it already exists today, like China's internet vs the rest of the world. As time passes those differences will become much more obvious, but once

    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      "They can have my mouse when they pry it from my cold, dead hands."
  • Sorry, no. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web

    That has never been different. There is no right to someone else's resources. If you host your site, nobody should be allowed to make you publish anything other than what is required for technical reasons. The internet is a network of networks. Network operators have ASNs, autonomous system numbers. The web exists because there are only rules which ensure technical compatibility. That's it. If you want content rules, get cable TV.

    • bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:54PM (#34285504) Homepage Journal
      some person's private information is NOT the resource of the site that stores it. a person's private information belongs to that person alone. there can be no other argument to that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HaZardman27 (1521119)
        So you still agree that social-networking sites are allowed to wall off this information then, yes? Unless a person specifically says they're fine with their information being shared, walling this info off should be the norm.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A person's private information is not on a social network. The argument is that social networks should not be allowed to "wall off" information from the rest of the web. That's bullshit. First of all, that would not be defense but offense, because you'd have to change the status quo, not maintain it. Secondly, that would require telling a social network operator what they must publish in order to be allowed on the web. The users can do whatever they want with their own information, but they do not have the

      • Re:bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:41PM (#34285990)

        some person's private information is NOT the resource of the site that stores it.

        Your post is a little vague, but it appears that you're arguing that social networking sites shouldn't be allowed to "wall off." Signing up for a service on someone else's server and then demanding that they open up all their data to everyone else is silly. If you don't like their service, don't use the service. They're under no obligation to make sure everybody can read what you're submitting to their site. You act as if people are forced to use Facebook.

        • by unity100 (970058)
          users, the owners of their private information, should decide what happens.
          • by jesset77 (759149)

            users, the owners of their private information, should decide what happens.

            Sorry U, you're still being vague.

            "Should decide what happens" .. to what? How do you "own" information?

            People around you be trippin because it sounds like you are saying putting PII into facebook's database entitles users to make facebook do certain things. Please clarify? :P

        • My local newspaper is now doing "Facebook exclusive" letters to the editor. It is not clear if I can send a letter to the Editor and opt out of having it posted on Facebook.

          Edmonton Journal Letters Facebook page [facebook.com].

      • Re:bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by paeanblack (191171) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:51PM (#34286082)

        some person's private information is NOT the resource of the site that stores it. a person's private information belongs to that person alone. there can be no other argument to that.

        Facebook doesn't operate on wishes and thin air. Their server farms are paid for with the understanding that they will use and exploit the information you give them to make money. It's not "your private information" after that point...you sold it to pay Facebook for the service they provide to you.

        • It's not "your private information" after that point...you sold it to pay Facebook for the service they provide to you.

          And you can show that the majority of Facebook users understand the terms of this contract, yes? In fact, can you can show us the bill of sale?

          • Very true, especially when I explain this to various people most of them (that aren't like, from the internets) can't believe what I am saying. They don't believe a company like facebook isn't looking out for their interests. So no, facebook isn't making their business clear.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cajun Hell (725246)

        If it's really private information which belongs to that person alone, then how did the site get it? Do they steal it from people on days when people forget to put on their foil hats?

        • by unity100 (970058)
          the person gave it to them. but, that doesnt transfer the ownership of that information to that site, and it doesnt allow them to decide who can use that information and for what.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PatHMV (701344)

      Exactly! If I want to make my information available only to some people and not to others, that's MY right. And if a "large social-networking site" helps me do that, good for them, and I am more likely to use them than I would a system that says: "you MUST make ALL information public, or not share it with anybody at all."

      I agree with Berners-Lee on his other points, but not that one. And I don't know why he would lead with that one.

      • by Gubbe (705219)

        It's not his point.

        His point is that if you use the help of a "large social-networking site," to limit availability of your information, then everyone that you want to make that info available to either HAS to be a member of that social network or be left without access.
        The problem with this is, the social network isn't an open, egalitarian system like the web or, say, e-mail. Instead it is a single service run by a private corporation that sells your data to the highest bidder.
        This can result in a situatio

  • Begs a question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:51PM (#34285462) Homepage

    Are there really many human beings defending small 'd' democratic values, period?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is "just one web" really the best thing? What about competition? We've already seen how a tendancy towards global finance can increase the scale of disaster. If somebody attacks THE WEB, it's a global disaster. If they attack ONE OF THE WEBS, there is the possibility of switching to the other network when that happens.

    • by unity100 (970058) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:56PM (#34285522) Homepage Journal
      'competition' ?

      this is like saying 'is one world really the best thing ? lets break it up into smaller parts'. or, saying 'is one huge global market is a good thing ? lets break it to smaller parts'.

      its stupid. human civilization has been trying to achieve planetary scale on everything. it would be beyond moronic to revert back, when a state of that is reached in some technology ; namely, information exchange.

      hey, while we are at it, why dont we go back to feudalism ? at least, there can be competition in between the lords.
      • by Shark (78448) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:47PM (#34286046)

        I'm not entirely sure the 'planetary scale' objective you're referring to is as great as you might thing. Separation of powers is very important if you want to maintain freedom and curb oppression. If you can't vote with your dollar or your ballot, you ought to be able to vote with your feet.

        The important concept is openness, not uniqueness or monopoly. Nothing is more terrifying than planetary government for example... Because when that government goes bad (they all do at some point), you have nowhere else to go.

        When you remove competition in an environment, you might be better off on the short term but the absolute best you can hope for on the long term is stagnation, and you're way more likely to get corruption and a system that preys on the people it is supposed to serve. This is true for standards, corporations, governments, religions or just about any other system.

        • by unity100 (970058)

          I'm not entirely sure the 'planetary scale' objective you're referring to is as great as you might thing. Separation of powers is very important if you want to maintain freedom and curb oppression. If you can't vote with your dollar or your ballot, you ought to be able to vote with your feet.

          there is no relevance in between planetary scale, and separation of powers. they are not even in the same context.

          planetary scale is,for example, what a global market is. if you break down the market into smaller parts by feudalizing it, or walling them off, you will have many smaller markets. they will 'compete', but, in that 'competition' of markets as unit, instead of businesses as 'individuals', much energy will be lost, because the walls will not allow flow of goods and services easily.

          the market

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:05PM (#34285656) Journal

      Worked great for Compuserve and AOL back in the day.

      The way I figure it will play out, the major telcos will do it quickly followed by everyone else when Google, iTunes and Amazon cave and pay the protection money. It'll suck for 10 years or so, amazon.com and others will eventually close up shop, people will get bored with AT&TOL and go back to cable tv for their hundreds of channels of nothing important. Companies will stop buying "keywords", and when AT&TOL is begging for people to please give them a try because they put the internets in your computer, someone else will finally step up to the plate and either force cities to break their franchise agreements or manage to con the banks out of enough financing to buy up significant chunks of good wireless spectrum and start selling "the real internet". A .com boom will take off again as people discover that they can go to all sorts of websites, not just the ISP-sanctioned keywords, and we'll be back in the late 90's again before you know it... just in time for the y2038 crisis.

      • by mfwitten (1906728)

        AT&TOL is begging for people to please give them a try because they put the internets in your computer

        I'm looking forward to my FREE HOURS !

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        Well written, and an engaging vision of a future that could be. Whether I think it probable or not, I like the image. Thanks!

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:57PM (#34286116)

      The Internet is an infrastructure. People have figured out a long time ago that infrastructure is not something where you want people to create competing markets. That merely results in huge inefficiencies as duplication and underutilization abounds.

      Furthermore, the Internet is ALREADY an network of networks. Hence the "Inter" in Internet. No need to build multiple Internets,unless you have some specific reasons why you don't want to hook up to the rest of the world - in which case, you build an Intranet.

      Remember folks - free markets are never really free, and more competition is not always the answer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Is "just one web" really the best thing? What about competition?

      There is already competition between ISPs, who give you access to the web -- that's why we're getting cool things like LTE, LTE-Advanced, WiMAX, etc. If you meant splitting up the resources that make up the web, like the web sites, I don't see what benefit that would bring -- and there is no incentive to be the first one doing it... since that means no one is going to be able to see your site.

      If they attack ONE OF THE WEBS, there is the possibility of switching to the other network when that happens.

      The nature of the Internet is that most attacks are only going to affect an isolated portion of it. "THE WEB" is not

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:56PM (#34285526) Homepage

    Software patents are one of the biggest threats. Writing a website is writing software, and having a website today is essential for many parts of our democracy. Campaigns on issues or for candidates need websites. Further, writing software is an important freedom in itself, like the freedom to write a book. Most people will never do either, but we all benefit from the small percentage of people who do.

    Writing functional software often means reading and writing common data formats, so a patent on a format turns into a veto on others being able to write functional software in that domain.

    (In reality, political candidates will never get threatened by patent owners - the patent owners don't want the politicians to feel first-hand how much of a problem it is.)

    Berners-Lee makes a quick reference to it in TFA:

    Openness also means you can build your own Web site or company without anyone's approval. When the Web began, I did not have to obtain permission or pay royalties to use the Internet's own open standards, such as the well-known transmission control protocol (TCP) and Internet protocol (IP). Similarly, the Web Consortium's royalty-free patent policy says that the companies, universities and individuals who contribute to the development of a standard must agree they will not charge royalties to anyone who may use the standard.

  • not the same issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Friday November 19, 2010 @04:58PM (#34285546) Journal
    I dislike the analogy between "large social networking sites walling off your data" and net neutrality infringement/censorship/monitoring. Walled gardens are a perfectly acceptable consequence of a FREE web; net neutrality infringement is the opposite. Would you complain if your
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Haedrian (1676506)
      Tim has been trying to get the "Semantic Web" project started up for ages. Social Networking sites already collect tons of excellent, linked, semantic information which could be very useful for those efforts.

      I think that's the point he was trying to get across.
      • The problem with the semantic web is taxonomy. Taxonomy is inherently based on a point of view, which is incompatible with the wild individualism of the Internet. A good example is the Usenet newsgroup name space, which engendered countless destructive wars between news admins and users in the 1990s, all over what to name a newsgroup and how it fit in to the hierarchy imagined by the news admins.

        Of course the news admins almost always won, since they held the power. But on the open Web, nobody has the p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Not sure whether your cut off post was intentional, but it makes the point nonetheless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bob9113 (14996)

      not the same issue

      Walled gardens are a perfectly acceptable consequence of a FREE web; net neutrality infringement is the opposite.

      It depends on which issue you are referring to.

      If "the issue" is "things the government should regulate", you are correct that these are not (or at least may not be) the same issue.

      If, however, "the issue" is "things which threaten the web because of inefficient distribution of power", then these are the same issue. Whether it is government power or oligarch power -- in the cont

  • Inventor of World Wide Web says World Wide Web greatest invention ever.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Start being a web owner

    • Start being a web owner

      And how do you propose to do that? Buy every domain, datacentre, and individual server on the net, along with all the supporting infrastructure, RFC documents, staff to run it, etc.?

  • Not true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hackingbear (988354)

    The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles

    The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it is a marketing platform for selling something else. Democracy is a fancy name for political marketing as well. Don't overestimate your own belief or religion.

  • Inspiration (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR BROADBAND!!!
  • In my opinion, the hacktivism anonymous attacks are about all we're going to see. Granted, they're powerful, and a force to be reckoned with for sure, but the governments (most of them anyway) of the world generally don't care about a technologically literate group, making up maybe 5 percent of voters.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by JockTroll (996521)
      Depends on the kind and amount of damage done, and who will be targeted.
      • by Lanteran (1883836)
        like I said, a force to be reckoned with. That was rather pessimistic, I admit. But when its that small... the war on cyber-terrorism anyone?
        • by JockTroll (996521)
          If the "war on cyberterrorism" ends up like the "war on terror" and the "war on drugs", mission accomplished: widespread fear, worldwide bankruptcy and flaming cats thrown in the air.
  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:10PM (#34285686)
    nothing will happen until after it's too late.
  • Berners-Lee did not suffer Amnesia

    and unlike Steve he did not suffer from megalomania

    -

    TBL seems to be a Physicist with common sense ( still )

  • by jfengel (409917) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:15PM (#34285736) Homepage Journal

    He mentions the idea that some ISPs are considering a plan where they only deliver content from their site. That's not Web access. Anybody who buys that is not on the web. And that's their own lookout.

    When it comes to democracy, you can lead the horse to water, but it's gotta drink all by itself. You can yell, scream, cajole, etc. but in the end voters will make whatever decisions they want to make. They may be mind-numbingly stupid, but mind-numbing stupidity is a part of democracy. I wish it weren't, but the alternative is some mechanism of excluding people, and there's no fair way to do that. Whoever sets up the standards is the dictator.

    As a threat to democracy, call me when they start forbidding plain Web access to users willing to pay a reasonable sum for it. The state technology means that you can get the kind of access needed to read (but not watch) the news for a nominal sum practically anywhere. I'd like to see that improved; the price of access in the US is higher than it should be. But it's not a threat to democracy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cajun Hell (725246)

      He mentions the idea that some ISPs are considering a plan where they only deliver content from their site. That's not Web access. Anybody who buys that is not on the web. And that's their own lookout.

      When it comes to democracy, you can lead the horse to water, but it's gotta drink all by itself. You can yell, scream, cajole, etc. but in the end voters will make whatever decisions they want to make.

      Ah, but there is one thing you can do: fight fraud, or to put it more nicely, "confusion in the mind of the consumer." If they're not selling web access, then it should be plainly obvious to someone before they buy it.

      Suppose Comcast or Verizon were to offer a service that can access their servers at 300 Mbps or the rest of the internet at 80 kbps. If someone buys that with the expectation that they're going to have 300 Mbps access to the internet, then (assuming they're not just stupid and can't read)

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:15PM (#34285740)

    Maybe Tim Berners-Lee, and W3C, can chair a process of drafting a constitution protecting
    at least the minimum standards of acceptable behavior of actors and intermediaries on the
    web. Perhaps this would result in a lowest-common-denominator set of standards, but maybe
    that would be better than nothing.

    • by aztektum (170569)

      The one we have needs to be properly defended.

      • To which "we" do you refer? To which constitution? We are talking about the WORLDWIDE web here.
        I'm pretty sure the constitution you have is not the same one I have. The web is bigger than the USA.
        It wasn't even invented in the USA (Except for Al Gore's part of it, of course ;-)

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:17PM (#34285762) Journal

    Then it must be destroyed! Down with irrational, tyrannical majorities!

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:39PM (#34285966) Homepage

      You laugh, but there are a surprisingly large number of people who really don't believe in democracy. And a lot of them aren't in China.

      Many of them think that they are part of the privileged minority. Others think they have a good chance of becoming part of the privileged minority and want to make sure they'll be on top when they get there. Others have been convinced that the privileged minority will improve the lives of the non-privileged majority. Others think that they need to be willing to sacrifice their democratic rights in order to keep the ideals that they believe in alive.

      Heck, not even Socrates thought a democracy would yield just results (and in his case at least, he was probably right).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Andtalath (1074376)

        There are many reasons not to believe in democracy even if you aren't a part of the privileged minority.
        Democracy has very few actual advantages to people living in the state barring a decreased risk of a maniac taking all control, and that can be achieved through other means.

        Now, remember, that democracy doesn't mean all the sweet things that we want it to mean like freedom of speech, it doesn't mean human rights, in fact, it doesn't mean anything except that the people are in some way made responsible for

    • by IBitOBear (410965) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:19PM (#34286328) Homepage Journal

      ...by which we ensure we are governed no _better_ than we deserve.

      The grandparent poster is not "funny" he's "correct".

      The U.S. was supposed to be a "representative democracy" not a "democracy" in an attempt to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. The fact that both corporate interests and modern sound-byte media have caused the thing "represented" to no longer be "the general welfare" and instead to be the "corporate welfare" and the "sound-byte of momentary passion" is where things have failed.

      The U.S. of A. was always supposed to be a Socialist regime (e.g. union for the ultimate good of the people). Our stupid electorate however cannot tell that apart from National Socialism (union for the ultimate good of the nation) or Soviet Socialism (union for the good of the bureaucracy). Nor do they understand the difference between "unionism" (voluntary commitment to common goals) and "fascism" (compulsory commitment to uniformly dictated structures).

      This leads to some oddities. By definition if you think "my country right or wrong" then you are a National Socialist. And if you believe in the unrestrained free market you are an Anarchist.

      We often describe a collapsed and irredeemable social construct by saying "it is just a popularity contest". Keep that in mind the next time you look at any election campaign.

      Anarchy is good for the web and "the internets", just as it is good for the high seas. Since there are no whales or fisheries in the internet, and there is no real chance of _actual_ piracy or salvage, that anarchy is good. As soon as people try to turn the high-seas of the internet into territory and real estate things will fall to pieces.

    • Then it must be destroyed! Down with those whose money shepherds the opinions of irrational, tyrannical majorities!

      There. Fixed that for you.

  • FTFA:
    The Web is now more critical to free speech than any other medium. It brings principles established in the U.S. Constitution, the British Magna Carta

    From the Magna Carta:
    If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    6 pages? The web isn't a magazine. You should never have to click "next page" when reading an article. Really, my computer isn't going to run out of memory; it's ok to treat it like one page.

  • Says Mr. Lee:

    The Web should be usable by people with disabilities.

    If Slashdot [slashdot.org] is any indication, 95% of web developers will assume they are expected to write multiple versions of each HTML page and will practically riot in the streets before honoring accessibility.

    The only solution I can offer is to create some sort of Web author certification. Nothing grand, just something that at least indicates the holder has retained the salient parts of the HTML 4.01 and CSS 2.1 specs. Like accessibility.

  • gone baby gone (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alphatel (1450715) *
    The internet is already dead. Writing about it its demise only prolongs agony. It's time to find the next protocol and destroy this illusion.

    We're already enduring the obliteration of inconspicuous choices by the masses. A few of the old guard might remain but it's clearly become an uphill struggle in perpetuity. The Web/Web2.0/Web3.x must all die. Then maybe a new generation will be ready to tear it all down. Right now they are too stupid to lose their interwebs and see or create what lies beyond.
    • The internet is already dead. Writing about it its demise only prolongs agony. It's time to find the next protocol and destroy this illusion.

      The Internet is more than just a protocol, but we already have found the next protocol: IPv6

      We're already enduring the obliteration of inconspicuous choices by the masses. A few of the old guard might remain but it's clearly become an uphill struggle in perpetuity.

      I believe that it is the Corporations and Government Agencies that are making poor choices for the masses re: The Internet (against our will, I might add). They are the ones we struggle against to win our freedoms of information exchange.

      The Web/Web2.0/Web3.x must all die.

      Nope, they must not die. Scaled down versions and detailed technical documentation must be preserved in order to fashion better networks to succeed them. Why throw away research a

      • by alphatel (1450715) *

        The Internet is more than just a protocol, but we already have found the next protocol: IPv6

        Hyper Text Transfer Protocol [w3.org], know it? It's what you eat for breakfast every day. Don't change the subject. Not to mention IPv6 [christopher-parsons.com] will remove your privacy and that is also a violation of your enjoyment of the interwebs.

        I believe that it is the Corporations and Government Agencies that are making poor choices for the masses re: The Internet (against our will, I might add). They are the ones we struggle against to win our freedoms of information exchange.

        Well, if you read the comment correctly that is the whole problem. If the masses are being driven to the slaughter then you must slaughter them. You hoped to vote the problem out but it's getting worse. Your financial choices are driving a larger portion of wealth to internet monopolies [slashdot.org]. Unedi

    • My goodness! If that's the case, then would you please inform me where I am?
      Or is that some sort of metaphorical sort of "already dead"?
      Also, if you haven't noticed, we still use wheels. I'm kind of a big fan of this prior invention, and see no real need to "tear it all down" and start anew. I'm quite happy to simply build off of it and expand it.
  • When in the Course of signal processing and algorithm application it becomes necessary for one intelligent race to dissolve the physical and electrical dependence which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the Universe, the separate and superior station to which the Laws of Physics and Nature of Logic entitle them, a decent respect to the outputs of machinekind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these statements to evaluate t

  • I think net neutrality will never stop, cause once it stops, ISP will be considered responsible for the actions of their users, .. this is something they can not afford. Also if the internet becomes local then it won't be as interesting to companies as it is now, to even have a website. What might happen is that ISP will have an intranet with additional services just for their users, but this possibility has always been there, since the beginning of the internet. In fact a lot of gov. & companies have h
  • As much as I love the idea of the Web as it once was - an open platform allowing people to exchange ideas regardless of gender, race, social status, handicap and so on - with the rising popularity of the web this was bound to happen. Call me a cynic, but most people are happy to sacrifice their privacy, integrity and what not for just a little bit of shiny or simplicity. "Everyone else is doing it, so what could possibly go wrong?" This is really not a problem with the Web as such but with people in general

    • This is really not a problem with the Web as such but with people in general, and to think the Web could somehow be different from the people that populate it is pretty naive ...

      People forget about the terrible problems with prank callers back in the 1970s, before digital switching and the widespread adoption of call display.

      Many grandmothers were subjected to heavy breathing from some dork 15 year old who didn't have a forum thread to troll bomb. It's hard to distinguish the heavy breathing of a clueless dork from the heavy breathing of a sexual psychopath, so this often frightened elderly women. Then the phone companies implemented a way to determine who placed the last call.

  • While this is a noble endeavor, I am not worried much. Should internet become censored and completely shut off like AOL, a new peer-to-peer network will spring up overnight and people will flock to it by the thousands - information wants to be free and it always will be. Who's to say we can't ressurect BBSes? Totalitarian government is blocking phone lines? Well, there's always packet radio. Jammers on every street lamp? Hey, why not use pigeons that deliver data sticks to a remote location where a designat
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How do you spend your Web Dollars? Do you run your own servers? Are you one of the thousand points of light? Have you staked your own personal right to own a server and enforce your rights to defend it against any and all dark forces?

    When you spend your corporate Web dollars:

    Do you go with a local mom and pop shop, that you can know on a personal level? Or do you cheap out and go with one of those $5.95 a month, all you can eat megahosters? That then nickles and dimes you to a number where they can make a b

  • As long as there be those in control there will be...us. Those who refuse to accept, refuse to obey, refuse to conform. Trust that we are ever vigilant and will not allow ourselves to be constrained by those whom pretend to control....the web is protected by our intelligence.
  • Why does anyone think the government will do a good job of making our choices for us?

    If large social networking sites are really a problem because they wall off data, then why are people on those sites? People should be able to recognize the problem for themselves and join other sites, ask that existing sites be changed, or develop new sites. If the government interferes, then everyone will be stuck with one kind of site. Democracy is not supposed to force everyone to use a site without walls just becaus

  • Im no hacker, so what im saying might be totally nonsensical; But, maybe if everybody boned up on their computer skills, anonymous " _(Fill in the blank)_" Could ward off the ever encroaching threats. When the enemies of internet privacy and rights, so on and so forth want to play games, the denizens of the internet should be showing them that they aren't going to take such nonsense.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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