Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization: Back to the Future? | Barabas, Narula, Zuckerman

Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula, Ethan Zuckerman; Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization: Back to the Future?;a book?; The Center for Civic Media & The Digital Currency Initiative; MIT Media Lab; 2017; 113 pages.

tl;dr → theoretical; witnessing.  You tell it, you tell the story!  Mentions Bitcoin on page 2; uses the word “hegemon” on page 14.  Offers a cook’s tour of the boosterist community and their projects: Freedom Box, Diaspora, Mastodon, Blockstack, Interplanetary File System (IPFS), Solid, Appcoins, Steemit.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • The Rise of the Centralized Web
    • Risks Posed by the Centralized Web
    • Structural Interventions as a Possible Solution
  • Section II: Federation
    • Freedom Box
    • Diaspora
    • Mastodon
  • Section III: Open Protocols
    • Authentication
    • Blockstack
    • Interoperability
    • IPFS
    • Solid
  • Section IV: Appcoins
    • Steemit
  • Conclusion

Recommendations

  • Wait and see, only time will tell.
    <quote>A precondition for the success of these distributed
    platforms is a shift towards user-controlled data,</quote>
  • Fund the projects (the best-of-breed exemplars, below, and more)
    e.g. Let’s Encrypt.
  • The fascination, gee whiz!; it’s simply phenomenal!
    Use Appcoins

    • circumvent Venture Capital funding.
    • business model: unspecified, but definitely “not advertising”
  • A fool and his money are soon parted:
    • <quote>However, this space also has a lot of potential for scams, and it might be unreasonable to expect users to manage a financial stake in many different networks.</quote>

Mentions

  • Bitcoin
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Let’s Encrypt
  • Appcoins
  • Digitial Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • Gopher
  • Archie
  • Wide Area Information Server (WAIS)
  • John Perry Barlow
    A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
  • Fred Turner
    ambiguous reference

  • World Wide Web (WWW)
  • Domain Name System (DNS)
  • “lock the web open”, attributed to Brewster Kayle.
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • cypherpunk worldview
  • Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  • Bitcoin
  • ledger
  • accounts
  • Hyper-Text Transport Protocol (HTTP)
  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • <quote>Distributed, peer-to-peer protocols like HTTP and SMTP</quote>
    um, what?
  • Millennials
  • Baby Boomers
  • Google competitors
    • Baidu,
    • Yahoo,
    • Microsoft,
    • Yandex.
    • hey … what about DuckDuckGo?
  • Twitter
  • Arab Spring
  • Tunisia
  • Baltimore
  • BitTorrent
  • YouTube
  • WhatsApp
  • software stack
  • surveillance
  • decryption keys
  • Thailand
  • Thai Royal Family
  • “lock

Exemplars

Good

  • Freedom Box
  • Diaspora
  • Mastodon
  • Blockstack
  • Interplanetary File System (IPFS)
  • Solid
  • Appcoins
  • Steemit

Bad

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube

Concerns

  • User and developer adoption
  • Security
  • Monetization and incentives

Risks

Elaborated in the Introduction

  1. Top-down, Direct Censorship
  2. Something. Couldn’t identify what it was. His second point, and surely they had one…

Characterizations

Honorifics

  • decentralized
  • good old days of unmediated publishing
  • critical safeguard for user privacy
  • mainstream
  • “disrupt” this new class of power elites

Epithets

  • mega-platform
  • centralized
  • third-party intermediaries
  • marginalized voices
  • for-profit
  • today’s online hegemons.

Who

  • John Perry Barlow, theorist.
  • Philando Castile, executed by police, on live TV.
  • David Chaum, polymath.
  • Fred Turner, Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication
    Department Chair, Stanford University.
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, Wisconsin, Harvard, 1861→1932.
  • Mark Zuckerbirg, CEO, Facebook

References

There are 201 references, presented inline, as footnotes, in the style of a legal tract.

They are <omitted/> herein.

Previously filled.

Sleeping Through a Revolution | Jonathan Taplin

  • Jonathan Taplin; The Technology Revolution Impacts and Reduces the Workforce; On YouTube; 2015-03-10; 5:06.
  • Jonathan Taplin; Sleeping Through a Revolution; on Vimeo; 2015-03-10; 44:10.
    Teaser: The Moral Framework of the Technology Revolution
  • Jonathan Taplin (USC); Sleeping Through a Revolution; In Medium; 2015-04-22.
    Teaser: Letter to the Millennials 2

tl;dr → internet advertising is bad; internet surveillance is bad; an extended defense of high-copyright cultural products industries (music, film, etc.).  Google is bad.

Proposal

Platform for the Renaissance
  • 1GB/s symmetric network
  • Network Neutrality
  • Regulation
  • Copyright on everything
  • Public broadcasting
  • Micropayments
On the micropayments concept
  • which is not advertising
  • with no embedded clearance fees
    cited as e.g. Visa, PayPal, Bitcoin, etc.
    ahem, because … the moneychangers don’t create.
  • with fees for cultural product presentment
    cited as, e.g. $0.25/view to read the video/audio/linkbait/UGC ($250 CPM).
    ahem, sounds very Randian

Mentions

(discursive, rambling)

  • Annenberg Innovation Lab, University of Southern California.
  • Recitation of the ’60s and ’70s counterculture as a time of greatness
    • Chroniclers
      • Fred Turner
      • John Markoff
      • Nicholas Negroponte
    • Whole Earth Lectronic Link (WELL)
    • commune
    • Ken Kesey
    • Stewart Brand
  • Recitation of the ’80s and beyond as a time of badness
    • Peter Thiel, PayPall
    • the Stanford University cohort
    • Silicon Valley
    • Ayn Rand
    • The PayPal Mafia
      • all men, as an epithet
    • The Cato Institute
    • male makers
    • Larry Page, ex-CEO, Google
    • Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
    • Napster
    • internet platform
  • Scott Timberg; Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class; Yale University Press; 2015-01-13; 320 pages; kindle: $13, paper: $12+SHT.
  • Ethan Zuckerman; Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection; W. W. Norton & Company; 2013-06-17; 288 pages; kindle: $10, paper: $8+SHT.
  • Robert Scheer; They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy; Nation Books; 2015-02-24; 272 pages; kindle: $15, paper: $10+SHT.
  • Monopolies
    • Government-defined monopolies → good (AT&T, etc.)
    • Unregulated (natural) monopolies → bad (Apple, Comcast, Facebook, Google, etc.)
  • Epithets
    • Digital Bandits
      • Kim Dotcom
    • Svengali
      • David Plouffe
  • George Akerlof → market for lemons
  • YouTube isn’t quality content, those people aren’t true artists.
    Hollywood film is quality content made by true artists.
  • Quoted
    for color, background & verisimilitude

    • Nils Gilman, Associate Chancellor, UC Berkeley
    • Larry Summers, Harvard
  • Nils Gilman (UCB); The Twin Insurgency; In The American Interest; Volume 9, Number 6; 2014-06-15.
    Teaser: The postmodern state is under siege from plutocrats and criminals who unknowingly compound each other’s insidiousness.
    <quote>The postmodern state is under siege from plutocrats and criminals who unknowingly compound each other’s insidiousness.</quote>
  • Cited, as exemplars of extreme good or evil
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • ISIS
  • sharing economy
  • Airbnb
  • TaskRabbit
  • Uber
  • David Plouffe, lobbyist, ex-Obama 2012
  • The Koch Brothers
  • Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
    • was good
    • crude, but
  • Some article, The Economist (uncited)
    the ability to substitute capital for labor (has profound implications)
  • Reagan, Reagan-era
  • John Maynard Keynes
    opined about substituting capital for labor (the 15 hour work week)
  • Martin Luther King
    credited with the quote “asleep at the reolution”
  • Julie Cohen, professor, Georgetown University
    • opined about privacy
    • popularization, summarization
      Why does Privacy Matter?  One Scholar’s Answer; Jathan Sadowski; In The Atlantic; 2013-02-26.
      Teaser: If we want to protect privacy, we should be more clear about why it is import
      tl;dr → <quote>Privacy is not just something we enjoy. It is something that is necessary for us to: develop who we are; form an identity that is not dictated by the social conditions that directly or indirectly influence our thinking, decisions, and behaviors; and decide what type of society we want to live in.</quote>
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Virtual Reality’s Potential Displayed at Game Developers’ Conference; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-03-06.
  • Nir Eyal; Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products; Nir Eyal, via Amazon; 2013-12-30; 156 pages; kindle: $14, paper: $12+SHT.
  • Sundance Courts a New Celebrity Crowd; some cub reporter; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-02-01.
    tl;dr → Sundance Film Festival, grift, bribes for promotion
  • Liberty
    • Libertarian liberty → bad
      the absence of non-consensual oversight
    • Thomas Jefferson liberty → good
      of Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Government has a role to play
  • American renaissance: 1935→1975.
  • Plato
  • Vox Media
  • BuzzFeed
  • Argot
    • native advertising
    • brand integration
  • Facebook
  • Artists
    the good guys

    • Bob Dylan
    • George Harrison
    • Martin Scorsese

Via: backfill, backfill.