O’Reilly Media Asks: Is It Time To Build A New Internet?

An anonymous reader shares an article from O’Reilly Media’s VP of content strategy:
It’s high time to build the internet that we wanted all along: a network designed to respect privacy, a network designed to be secure, and a network designed to impose reasonable controls on behavior. And a network with few barriers to entry — in particular, the certainty of ISP extortion as new services pay to get into the “fast lane.” Is it time to start over from scratch, with new protocols that were designed with security, privacy, and maybe even accountability in mind? Is it time to pull the plug on the abusive old internet, with its entrenched monopolistic carriers, its pervasive advertising, and its spam? Could we start over again?
That would be painful, but not impossible… In his deliciously weird novel Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town, Cory Doctorow writes about an alternative network built from open WiFi access points. It sounds similar to Google’s Project Fi, but built and maintained by a hacker underground. Could Doctorow’s vision be our future backboneless backbone? A network of completely distributed municipal networks, with long haul segments over some public network, but with low-level protocols designed for security? We’d have to invent some new technology to build that new network, but that’s already started.
The article cites the increasing popularity of peer-to-peer functionality everywhere from Bitcoin and Blockchain to the Beaker browser, the Federated Wiki, and even proposals for new file-sharing protocols like IPFS and Upspin. “Can we build a network that can’t be monopolized by monopolists? Yes, we can…”

“It’s time to build the network we want, and not just curse the network we have.”


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