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The Internet Networking Social Networks Technology

Rushkoff Proposes We Fork the Internet 487

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the left-or-right dept.
Shareable writes "Douglas Rushkoff: 'The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network — its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation — is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them — that network loses its power to effect change. The mere fact that lawmakers and lobbyists now control the future of the net should be enough to turn us elsewhere.' And he goes on to suggest citizens fork the Internet & makes a call for ideas how to do that."
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Rushkoff Proposes We Fork the Internet

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  • I think (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:04PM (#34759640)

    I think all you need is one of those cable splitter things.

  • He's right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnifar i o u s.org> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:06PM (#34759668) Homepage Journal

    Both the physical infrastructure and the logical underpinnings need to be forked. The current Internet is both insecure and not private enough. The physical infrastructure is easily controlled by a few central entities. It's all broken.

    We should be building our own physical infrastructure and put fences in contracts that keep any entity from ever owning a significant part of that infrastructure. We should be adopting protocols that are secure, always encrypted and make it easy to be largely anonymous.

    When its built, businesses will come, because that's where we are. But they will never, ever build it themselves. At least not big ones.

    It took about 15 years to find some fairly effective control handles. This time, lets make sure it's at least 30 or 40 years before it can be figured out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But the Internet was always "in the hands of policymakers". They funded its creation and have regulated its development.
      Don't let the fact that the telcos have gotten away with so much convince you that the Internet has hitherto been some kind of golden age Wild West of freedom.
      This is just more anti-net neutrality FUD.

      • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:30PM (#34759952) Journal

        Don't be stupid, we shouldn't give the Internet to policymakers, who are, after all, just tools of the rich. We should cut out the middleman and give it right to the rich.

        As with all debates about regulations, the rich and powerful would like us to think that we have two choices: regulations they will control and thus get what they want, or no regulations, which means they get what they want. They want us to think we can't win. They want us to feel that our best weapon for controlling their abuses, government regulation (otherwise known as "the rule of law"), is a tool they control. But they only control it if we let them. Regulations are like guns, useful and morally neutral tools, but dangerous in the hands of the uninformed or evil. Well, the rich and powerful can pry regulations from my cold, dead hands.

        To mix a metaphor, I am not going to throw the rich into the briar patch of deregulation, that is exactly what they want.

      • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:43PM (#34760078)

        But the Internet was always "in the hands of policymakers". They funded its creation and have regulated its development.

        Not really. Before the mid 1990s, "policymakers" was mostly Jon Postel (a single person "ran" the Internet more efficiently than ICANN and its bureaucracy). Getting routable addresses was just a matter of asking for them, and anyone with sufficient competency was able to get a SLIP line up and running on a reasonable budget. The only "regulated" central point of failure was name resolution, and that's a service that runs on top of the Internet, not part of the Internet. There really was a "golden age Wild West of freedom"; just because you didn't experience it doesn't make it any less real to those of us who had "internet" before you were born.

        If you think the government will somehow make the Internet more "fair", then you are a fool. The very fact that they acquired regulatory power illegally (without any legal Constitutional or legislative authority to do so) demonstrates despotism on their part. At least with private corporations, you can choose a competitor.

        The best parts of the Internet exist in spite of government, not because of it. The best that can be hoped for its future is benign neglect. The power of the FCC should be limited to open air RF propagation. It is already a tyrannical organization that oversteps its power and limits freedom in a variety of ways, and there is nothing about its recent actions that suggest any goals otherwise. This is nothing but a power grab in the name of a mythical "net neutrality" that has never been and can never be.

    • by devxo (1963088)
      and who will pay that?
      • Again, the average household has the resources to run the IPv6 name servers - use the backup port assignments at first, since those are usually enabled.

        Literally, just the average city apartment building has more computing power than the country of Botswana does.

        • And who's going to pay for the duplicate backbones, etc?

          So what if the last mile, in dense areas, can be done by wireless? We still need backbones, there's no way we can wireless hop coast-to-coast and still have a usable internet. And forget international.

          We have the same problem with internet that we have had with telephony for a century. It just doesn't pay to build out a competing infrastructure -- Ma Bell is good enough for most people.
      • Re:He's right (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:17PM (#34759790) Journal

        More to the point, if it still runs on the same copper, fiber, wireless infrastructure, satellites and so forth that the current Internet does, then it's still just as vulnerable. You can do some things like create a large-scale VPN of some kind, but at the end of the day you're still going to be vulnerable to at least liberal of QoS traffic shaping, not to mention that you'll still have to have some sort of certificate authorities that are centralized.

        • Re:He's right (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:46PM (#34760114)

          plus you have to trust that a coalition of nodes on your non-internet doesn't form and start to control the direction of the network. And the likelihood of avoiding that is somewhere between 0 and never. At worst, the corporations would band together and make their own nodes, and make so many of them that the network became dependent on them. Or they'd just bribe the people who ran the nodes to run them the way the corporations want.

          As long as humans are in control of a system in any way, those humans can be corrupted to bend the system to a large entity's will. That means that logically, the only way we can have a global information network that remains free and open is to have it designed, built, and run, entirely by machines.

          • That means that logically, the only way we can have a global information network that remains free and open is to have it designed, built, and run, entirely by machines.

            And who designs, builds, and runs the machines?

            It can be designed by people. It MUST be designed by people, or we won't have it in our lifetimes. Likely it will also need to be built by people.

            But anyway, human-designed and -built systems can be free and open, as long as the design and buildout phases are done in a free and open manner.

        • Not necessarily (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sunbird (96442) <{ten.puesir} {ta} {dribnus}> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @11:01PM (#34762114)
          Well, how about we move away from certificate authorities. Impossible, you say? Not so.

          Enter the Monkeysphere [monkeysphere.info], a project that leverages the GPG web of trust to build trust paths for secure browsing (among other uses). From the site:

          When you direct the browser to an https site using the Monkeysphere plugin and validation agent, if the certificate presented by the site does not pass the default browser validation (using standard, hierarchical X.509), the certificate and site URL are passed to the validation agent. The agent then checks the public keyservers for keys with UIDs matching the site url (e.g. https://zimmermann.mayfirst.org./ [zimmermann.mayfirst.org] If there is a trust path to that key, according to your own OpenPGP trust designations, the certificate is considered valid, and a browser 'security exception' is put in place to allow connections to the site.

        • The only solution is to get off the wires. I suggest a wireless mesh network. It's the only way for each interested person to do their part without 3rd party infrastructure.

        • by Burz (138833)

          You can do some things like create a large-scale VPN of some kind, but at the end of the day you're still going to be vulnerable to at least liberal of QoS traffic shaping, not to mention that you'll still have to have some sort of certificate authorities that are centralized.

          I've been running I2P for a while now and it works nicely as an "Anonymous Privacy Network". No one can censor you if you publish your address, because addresses are a public key that is randomly generated when installing the software and because I2P is extremely decentralized (someone could decide to censor your key, but the rest of the network would not comply). Having to move to a different uplink or having your IP address blocked will not affect your reachability.

          As for "traffic shaping", all I2P traffi

      • You can, right now, today. How much would it cost you to string up a cable to your neighbor's house or set up a wireless link? How much would it cost them to do the same? Once you have a few hundred houses, you'll need someone to spend some time configuring it all.

        It can be done piece by piece, person by person. It should be done that way.

        • How much would it cost you to string up a cable to your neighbor's house or set up a wireless link? ... It can be done piece by piece, person by person. It should be done that way.

          There's a lot of empty space between New York and Los Angeles: Cleveland, for example. Also, how are you going to hop the ponds? I needs my Doctor Who, and my buddy needs his anime.
        • Works great, until 10 of the houses in the middle get together and decide to start charging you for sending data across their wires. You either pay, or you don't have your little network anymore.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Me, about nothing, most of my family tens of thousands.

          Also that link I can run even in my apartment building is only going to be 1Gb.

        • You can, right now, today. How much would it cost you to string up a cable to your neighbor's house or set up a wireless link? How much would it cost them to do the same? Once you have a few hundred houses, you'll need someone to spend some time configuring it all.

          I'm imagining that latency would be pretty bad for anything outside of your ZIP code on a 1-house = 1-hop network topology, not to mention that if you want a global network, someone's going to have to pay for the house-to-house connection from a house on one side of the (Atlantic, Pacific, etc.) to a house on the other, which is going to be a pretty big cost.

        • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

          by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @10:51PM (#34762042)

          That would never work by itself.

          You are speaking of Mesh networking which is absolutely the way to go to help create a truly anonymous infrastructure beyond the controls that we so despise right now. However, you can't link Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix with Mesh networking. You also cannot get around the fact that the pipes need to be quite large between high density areas.

          Businesses and data centers could never operate on a Mesh network either. They will still need to operate the way they do now, which is actually fine. We let the telcos operate their networks with the peering and transit agreements that allow packets from Los Angeles to make it all the way through the desert to Las Vegas.

          What we need do to is get the city and communities to use their collective bargaining power and operate wireless POPs throughout the city and rural areas. Let the Mesh network attach to those POPs as needed. This would get us our anonymous infrastructure free of controls and still have the enormous bandwidth available to link our populations effectively.

          What needs to be stopped above all else are the ISPs selling customers bundled packages of bullshit when we could just as easily be getting all those services online and not attached to a physical address someplace.

          Of course none of this will happen because we need to be watched and controlled to be safe. Part of that of course is allowing corporations to butt rape us.

    • Re:He's right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:25PM (#34759886) Homepage

      Never underestimate the power of *Law*, or the overthrow of it. Creating a forked Internet either from the existing one, or from the ground up will do you no good if law has been legislated to address the citizen directly.

      In other words, if governments around the world preemptively legislate that under no circumstances may a private inter-connecting network between two people or organizations be established without prior legal authorizations...well, kiss that idea good bye.

      If you want your forked internet free from regulation, get ready to break the future law and live a rebel underground. Good luck with that!

      • In other words, if governments around the world preemptively legislate that under no circumstances may a private inter-connecting network between two people or organizations be established without prior legal authorizations...well, kiss that idea good bye.

        Here in the U.S., we have the 9th and 10th amendments [usconstitution.net]. I have yet to hear of anyone using those two for anything other than toilet paper, however.

      • Re:He's right (Score:5, Interesting)

        by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:51PM (#34760202) Journal

        First, law, as a concept, is morally neutral, but the rule of law where everyone is equal under the law, is unambiguously a good thing.

        You claim that "IF" the law makes private interconnecting networks between two people without prior legal authorization, we will not be able to form a second Internet. What a huge If! Do you seriously think this will happen? Who would support such a law, and who would it benefit? What amazing logical leaps you make. If becomes when without explanation. In your final paragraph, you make the leap that your fever-dreams will certainly become reality, and if we want a free regulation, we will need to break the law. What a romantic and dashing freedom fighter you must imagine yourself to be. Too bad you have let the rich and powerful convince you to throw them into the briar patch of deregulation, and are thus fighting on the side opposing freedom.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > You claim that "IF" the law makes private interconnecting networks between two people without prior legal authorization,
          > we will not be able to form a second Internet. What a huge If!

          Really? Have you ever stopped to consider the existing list of things you and your neighbor cannot do without prior legal authorization? Then consider the things you can't youself do without the government's permission. And they already regulate communications in a heavy handed way. Everything from your local town

    • Unfair competition (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:41PM (#34760062)

      How many stories do I have to find where municipalities decided they had waited long enough and started to roll out their own fiber-to-the-home networks, only to be hit by a lawsuit from one of the Big Companies citing unfair competition? You have to be a Business (written with a capital) in order to do anything that a Business Might Ever Do or else it's unfair competition.

    • by fyngyrz (762201)

      Actually, we should be aiming at no physical infrastructure at all. RF, light - those should be the "infrastructure." Think just how ridiculous it is that they shoehorned all these wifi radios into our homes, and these units can't talk to each other, or make a decent network. It's appalling, really.

      If this - making a new infrastructure - were taken seriously, we'd best use it to get out from under the hands of those with money right up front. Use radios and light and go *around* them. As soon as it costs a

    • by lennier (44736)

      Both the physical infrastructure and the logical underpinnings need to be forked.

      IMO, one of the most important things we should be doing is promoting decentralised, cacheable peer-to-peer protocols to replace HTTP.

      Why? Because one of the key chokepoints in the commercialised Internet is the backbones, and the backbones need ridiculous amounts of bandwidth because wer'e duplicating a lot of traffic unnecessarily. Yes, you can run Pringles-can WiFi nodes with mesh routing and get off the wired grid that way, but your bandwidth will be lousy - consumer WiFi simply can't compete on the mul

  • by KiwiGod (724799) * on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:06PM (#34759670)
    This might (slim chance, mind you) approach the realm of sane if we assumed that people actually wanted to learn how to do something, instead of the popular approach of "I just want it to work." There appears to be no concept of costs, the eventual degrade of such a system due to human nature, etc. No matter how you start a system like this, you're going to end up with a governing body at some point. People want order, they want to be told what to do, and there's always people that are willing... and on rare occasion capable of doing such.
    • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnifar i o u s.org> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:14PM (#34759756) Homepage Journal

      No matter how you start a system like this, you're going to end up with a governing body at some point. People want order, they want to be told what to do, and there's always people that are willing... and on rare occasion capable of doing such.

      You underestimate people. First, the 'sheep' argument, even in the veiled form you give it, is a cynical and lazy cop-out. Out there, somewhere, is likely a group of people who similarly think you're a sheep because you don't question some choice you make that they think is bad. But you aren't. If you learned about it, you might agree or disagree with them, but it's just a matter of learning about it.

      Secondly, most people don't actually like being told what to do. They may not always understand how they're following orders, but they usually get pretty upset once they realize they're doing it. You talk to most people, and most of them are generally irritated by the various ways in which they feel they're supposed to be 'following orders'. Perceptions of those orders and their source varies widely, but almost nobody likes to think they just follow them blindly.

      So, as I said, I think you severely underestimate people. And I think you're doing it because you don't want to do the hard work you would feel compelled to do if you didn't have such a negative and pessimistic opinion. Pessimists are right much more frequently than optimists, and that's because pessimism is a fundamentally lazy outlook.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are wrong on most of your arguments. Take the xray scanners at the airports. They "randomly" send people to get xrayed, doing them no good, yet, 95%+ just go along with it. They don't care how they work. They don't care how much damage those devices are causing or could be causing. They don't care that their risk of dying from the scanner is higher than from a terrorist blowing up the plane (based on government's own numbers!). They don't care....

        So I say, do not overestimate people.

      • ...and an excellent posted article, as well.

        I would like to add that GlobalJak is in holding pattern. So for now, iis.se, nominet.org.uk, and switch.ch are sacrosanct (until the extradition becomes active, then GlobalJak is underway).

      • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:49PM (#34760148)
        You are speaking in generalities. Look at what has actually happened on the Internet over time: usenet was driven out by moderated web boards. Home pages were driven out by Facebook. Decentralized email is being driven out by a small handful of huge webmail providers. Now, even the idea of general-purpose computing is being driven out by handhelds and tablets that only run software from a manufacturer-approved "app store."
        • You are speaking in generalities. Look at what has actually happened on the Internet over time: usenet was driven out by moderated web boards. Home pages were driven out by Facebook. Decentralized email is being driven out by a small handful of huge webmail providers. Now, even the idea of general-purpose computing is being driven out by handhelds and tablets that only run software from a manufacturer-approved "app store."

          You're correct, he is - and to some extent you are as well (overly generalizing). While Facebook seems all the rage, nothing at all prevents you from firing up your favorite HTML editor and making your own webpage, website or even a new Facebook competitor.

          You can still set up your own email server as well as access it from a general purpose computing device running code that you've hand picked and even compiled (I suppose Gentoo is still around...).

          So yes, the trend is towards all of the consolidation

        • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:47AM (#34762820) Homepage

          You are speaking in generalities. Look at what has actually happened on the Internet over time: usenet was driven out by moderated web boards. Home pages were driven out by Facebook. Decentralized email is being driven out by a small handful of huge webmail providers. Now, even the idea of general-purpose computing is being driven out by handhelds and tablets that only run software from a manufacturer-approved "app store."

          Usenet wasn't driven out over by one web board, it was driven out by millions of them so it's still distributed. Usenet failed because it had no effective means of dealing with spam and the decline was rapid because everyone had access to the web, usenet server access and quality varied greatly. And that instead of making two web boards and let popularity decide, you had many flamewars and again no one to settle them. And the role of sharing binaries has been taken over by P2P which is definitively distributed.

          As for home pages being taken over by Facebook, most people didn't operate their own hosting service to begin with (hello Geocities) but I'll agree this has been centralized. But for the privacy nuts out there, how many of you had a working login system for your friends so you could share something just with them and not the whole world? Or to interact with one person in particular? If you talk about losing privacy, then home pages and public blogs were getting up on the podium and blasting it out over a megaphone for google to index. Home pages covered not even 1/10th of the uses Facebook has.

          Regarding webmail, well the ISPs asked for it. If want wanted to change ISP - or had to change ISP as you moved, you had to take the hassle of changing email address and notifying lots of people and update all contact information everywhere and still there'd be people you can't reach or pay just to keep it active. Plus very, very often I couldn't send mail from anywhere else, like say at work or a web cafe or whatever as "relaying was denied". Which meant that everywhere you want, you had to get some local account to send mail. And no IMAP service so you couldn't just peek at it. There were so insanely many good reasons not to use it, I can't even begin to count.

          Finally regarding locked down devices, even as "general" as the iPhone and pretty much everything else with a CPU is I consider it more of an appliance. It has some need-to-have functions (shame on the alarm clock) and nice-to-have functions (playing Angry Birds) but I'm not killed over the fact that it doesn't do everything. Not really much more than that I have a Wii that only runs what Nintendo wants (I haven't done any homebrew) anyway, it's not like this debate is new. I have my general purpose computing device in a PC running Linux. I know I could probably get one in a mobile form factor too, if I wanted. But in my day-to-day life, an appliance does the job just fine.

    • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:56PM (#34760244)

      Yes, I came in here to say this. Glad you already did.

      The sad fact is that 95% or more of the public doesn't give a damn if a corporation influences the internet. As long as they can still get their porn and play Farmville, they're happy. Those of us who understand what's actually at stake with net neutrality are in the vast minority, and everyone else is being inundated with messages from the corporation about how terrible it would be if they weren't allowed to shit all over the net. Those people won't care about net neutrality until they start having to pay $15/day in data fees to get new sheep in Farmville, and by then it'll be too late. We're long past the days when the government actually breaks up monopolies, and so unlike what happened when Bell Telephone got to big for the public's good, the few major companies who control the internet will be allowed to retain that control.

      And if someone, once people realize how screwed they are, starts making this new-internet-that's-not-the-internet, the companies will suddenly make Farmville data and 30 minutes per day of porn data-charge-free, and all the people who were pissed off will be placated, leaving once again only those of us who pay attention to what's going on, and again, there aren't enough of us to build the uncorruptable network of our dreams.

  • by NitzJaaron (733621) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:07PM (#34759676)
    I agree with the idea, in theory, but it's not like we can just up and start a "new internet" from scratch easily. The infrastructure would be a massive undertaking... decisions about whether to reuse old protocols or create new ones would have to be decided... hardware support would need to be dealt with... And at some point, because it's bound to happen, some government(s) are going to want to step in and ruin the work all over again. I'm hopeful about the future of net neutrality by a simple line from Serenity: "You can't stop the signal, Mal."
    • oh bull. we ran ARPA*NET on telephone wires and 110 baud modems with RAM and disk that make your iPods look HUGE.

      What infrastructure do you mean?

      The average household in America or the EU has more computing power than all the servers and workstations and mainframes we had when HTTP first became important.

      You're just lazy.

      • Ad hominem ignored, when I said infrastructure I meant everything. Pipes, computers, nodes, the whole thing. ARPA didn't have to deal with millions and millions of devices. It had hundreds, if even that. Technology was a lot less refined then. We learned great lessons from it and a lot of what created it was put directly into what the internet is today.

        You're comparing a bag of rocks to the Burj Dubai.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        You ran all those phone lines yourselves?

        Because that is what we would need to do, if they own the pipe they can stop any chatter you want to make across it.

    • You can't stop the signal? Did we see the same cut of "Serenity?" They stopped it for years. It took a multimillion-dollar geek outpost, a Reaver invasion, a dead pilot, a moved nerve cluster and a minor superhero to get the signal out.

      BTW, the signal has already been stopped. Have you tried to run a mail server or a web server from your home lately?

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:07PM (#34759678) Homepage Journal

    It's not that difficult.

    Just have NGOs run IPv6 stack Net2 servers that blacklist any upregulated commercial traffic and run them worldwide.

    But you don't have the guts to do that.

    All talk, no action.

    In my day, ARPA*NET was clean and free of spam.

    And then you sold us out for cash.

    • by loshwomp (468955)

      In my day, ARPA*NET was clean and free of spam.

      To be fair, it was mostly free of users, too, relative to today, where the number is on the order of a billion.

      • by jd (1658)

        Yes, and a billion times as many users doesn't take a billion times as much infrastructure, but costs have gone up. So logic and proportion are very slightly dead.

        As for spam, that was invented by two Utah lawyers on USENET. They flooded the newsgroups and pillaged e-mail addresses to send promotional advertising. And then they had the gall to write a book on how to do that very same thing so that others could profit off this new medium. Their excuse was that they could and that money-making was righteous a

  • N00bs (Score:5, Funny)

    by RealSurreal (620564) * on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:07PM (#34759684)
    I've been telling people to fork off the internet for years
  • I have an idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Etcetera (14711) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:08PM (#34759686) Homepage

    Let's have the internet operated by people working in autonomous groups of varying sizes, working to build group-to-group connections that work independently, and are controlled by terms totally independent of administrative and policymaker regulation.

    Oh wait...

    Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes. Keep your regulations off my tubes. If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

    • Re:I have an idea... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:16PM (#34759772)

      If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

      90% or more of us live in areas where other providers are not an option.
      Even if there were multiple providers, I doubt you could find one who wasn't forced to prioritize traffic.

      • by ScentCone (795499)
        I doubt you could find one who wasn't forced to prioritize traffic

        Of course. Because people's usage patterns force them to. A tiny fraction of users push and pull traffic way out of proportion to their numbers, and it's often traffic that doesn't travel the routes the ISPs work the hardest to keep up and fast for their largest numbers of users. Preventing the ISPs from shaping traffic in order to keep the vast majority of their customers happy is absurd.
        • by dpilot (134227)

          Shaping traffic has never been the problem. I suspect any die-hard net-neutral advocate who really understands, also agrees that shaping is necessary.

          The problem is prioritizing, judging, and shaping packets by the $$$ they carry or represent. I won't even argue about Comcast's right to split the provisioning of their network, giving their traffic one treatment and the internet another. It is, after all, their network. I object to their prioritizing internet traffic based on how squeezably soft the pack

    • Re:I have an idea... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnifar i o u s.org> on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:20PM (#34759828) Homepage Journal

      Oh wait...

      Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes. Keep your regulations off my tubes. If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

      The problem is when that's the ONLY Internet you can realistically get. And given the monopolistic nature of Internet access, that's the likely outcome here.

      • by jd (1658)

        You're correct, but you're only addressing part of the issue.

        First, your local ISP doesn't get to do bugger all about YouTube versus Torrent traffic, because your local ISP isn't going to be a serious congestion point. It's the 99.99% of the Internet that you can't choose, even if you could pick a different provider, that decides what gets prioritized and what does not. You changing provider will do nothing.

        Second, the local ISPs you do get to pick between will all use the same Tier 2 or Tier 3 provider, so

    • Re:I have an idea... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:27PM (#34759910) Homepage Journal

      Newsflash:
      1. not everyone has a choice between providers.
      2. even with different providers, sometimes they themselves have to go through one of the big one, which filters even those connections.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No one's telling you not to purchase anything. Never have been. You can have all the truly awful Xfinity streaming service you want. But the thing is, without last-mile competition, the last-mile provider sure will start to suck, just as surely if it were a government run monopoly. Create competition, and net neutrality will stop being so important, because people will prefer providers that don't filter. But absent real competition, with low barriers to entry and some restrictions on anti-competitive tacti

    • by vux984 (928602)

      If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

      To echo the sentiment of your other responders. What if I DON'T want to purchase internet services from such a provider? Why the heck should I HAVE to? In the best cases there are only 5 providers, and 3 of them just resell services from the first 2, and those 2 both have traffic shaping you have no control over. In the worst case, you have one provide

    • Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes.

      ...that run over public land. Sounds like a utility to me. They better get use to some regulations and rules governing how they operate if they want to run their damn cables all over our commons.
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:47PM (#34760120) Journal

      If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

      What happens when the only provider in your area is one who prioritizes Torrent Traffic over Netflix and Youtube?

      Try to see it from everyone elses perspective - when you've only got 1 or 2 choices, there is no real choice. If both of them choose to prioritize traffic, against your interests, you are left with no alternatives. Too bad, so sad, a neutral net was fun while it lasted? Why are we having such trouble keeping it that way?

      If you are going to retort with some statement proclaiming the positives of Capitalism, this is one situation where a Free Market doesn't apply: it is virtually impossible for anyone to produce a competing product: They've monopolized the net. They own the wires. Which wasn't even built by them, it was built with taxpayer money. They paid a pultry sum, assumed control, and avoid spending any money to upgrade it and instead gouge customers.

      No really, do you think this would be an issue if everything worked the way you are envisioning it through your rose coloured glasses? If I could just start up an ISP with no traffic shaping, shifting, blocking, prioritizing, etc etc - I would make a TON of money from all the people willing to buy that service, more than half of Slashdot viewers I'm sure.

      The problem is - that's not possible. Even if I went and managed to set up this giant multinational organization with buildings all across the globe housing tons of servers, I can't just "plug myself into" the net. I'd still have to run through the backbones of giants like Comcast and their rules will always apply to their equipment.

  • Let's just hope Apache Subversion [slashdot.org] isn't used.
  • I know in some other countries "local/communal" networks are still doing quite well, and usually instead of everyone buying an internet access individually, whole building (condo/apartments/whatever) has a network that is plugged into an ISP via somewhat thicker and more economical connection.

    Given that some networks grow to a large size, you get multiple buildings connected together, up to several city blocks. And then you get peering between communal networks, local gaming servers etc.

    Biggest issue is, of

  • by Pike (52876)

    Time to bring back the BBSs!

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @06:23PM (#34759858)
    His solution is to bring back FidoNet (popular on the Amiga!) and other BBS solutions (I just KNEW UUCP wasn't dead!) or overlap WiMax or some part of the spectrum and put something akin to IPv4 or 6 on top of it.

    Good fucking luck with that.

    If you want to create something revolutionary, create a store and forward message system that can run on mobile devices and can transfer messages via bluetooth. It's akin to carrier pigeon, but it might actually work.

    What we are doing now is tunneling INSIDE the corporate controlled networks to evade detection. Tor, old IPSEC tricks, encrypted BT - all these are methods of moving data around while avoiding the perception to the sniffing devices that data is being moved around, or at least what the data is. The idea that somehow there will be again some network of the people by the people is just a little too HAM radio modemish for me, despite the fact it can work technically.
  • As soon as someone connects our fork to the existing fork of the internet, we'll be reduced to a connected network and not a true fork. You could decide that anyone who connects to the old internet will be blacklisted, but then we'll be reduced to controllers in the same form as those we currently deride. It's a beautiful irony built in to the design of the internet in the first place.

    This seems like an issue for which representative democracy was created. We get the laws we ask for, and the reason we're ha

  • they can easily control the physical cable networks, but, if people start setting up wireless networks with powerful in-home devices, then it would become a real network that could live dynamically. add on top of that concepts like freenet, dns-p2p and so on, then you have a really free internet which has its own life.
    • they can easily control the physical cable networks, but, if people start setting up wireless networks with powerful in-home devices, then it would become a real network that could live dynamically.

      Yeah, and its not like government regulates wireless broadcasts using "powerful in-home devices" at all

  • Wasn't that what some of the Republicans were saying? Government control of the internet won't necessarily protect the internet, it might ruin it.

    And shouldn't the existing common carrier laws that were designed for phone companies come into play?

  • 'The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network — its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation — is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them — that network loses its power to effect change.

    The fate of the Internet was in the government's hands the whole time it was ARPAnet, and it went directly from their into the hands of the corporations who, in Rushkoff's view, fund policymakers. All of this was well before the "net neutrality" debate began, and much of it was before the term "the Internet" for the particular batch of systems was even coined.

    If we were to accept Rushkoff's premise, then, the Internet was doomed before it even existed and we should have all just ignored it and made our own,

    • It its unregulated and commercially useful, corporate control will follow.

      So the answer might be to make the (or an) internet useless for corporations.

      Steve

  • Soooo, yeah, Freenet [wikipedia.org]. And funnily enough, both Rushkoff and Freenet completely ignore the PHYSICAL TRANSPORTATION MEDIUM.
    Freenet assumes you have an Internet connection. It runs on the Internet. Rushkoff, on the other hand, provided an "super simple" example where he relied entirely on phone lines. Like that's somehow better.

    Now... he DOES offer some alternatives, like HAM radio, Wi-max, that jazz. And an ad-hoc mesh network of everyone's wireless router WOULD be super neat. But such a thing can't compe
  • I don't think that "forking the internet" is all that bad of an idea if we want to keep it "open".

    The way to fork the internet, while maintaining accessibility is through tunnels.

    Basically a specific open-source secure tunnel bridge application should be created which can connect to various different portals into the "new internet", and the list of "tunnel portals" should be maintained via some peer-to-peer/signed method much like BGP but with an authoritative signature.

    This way servers and websites can joi

  • to register sex.fork and (just for the typo's I promise) sex.pork
  • Like using smartphones for a mesh/P2P network without involving the carriers at all. It would be a very spotty and dynamic "Internet" with totally different contraints, but it would be unregulated and totally grassroots. Physical distance would be expensive for data to travel (at least for large bandwidth), but this would make any centrally controlled resources very hard to implement, which would be good.

    Of course you don't have enough control over the radios in smartphones to do that. Or do you?

  • Natural Monopolies of network service providers.

    Network communication is a vast and popular societal service, almost everyone uses it, and yet it is dominated on the consumer-end by Natural Monopolies. Coming-up with an idea that can not only compete with net discrimination, but also the natural monopolies created by physical lines, would be quite a feat. For the same reasons roads aren't owned by companies, network lines shouldn't either.

    Major network mediums should be owned and controlled by the state/f

  • Making a DIY Internet isn't going to happen, and nothing that has been said in this thread is likely to convince me otherwise.

    You want to defend the current Internet? You only need to do two things.

    1. Make sure the government enforces a strict net neutrality law
    2. Make sure the government doesn't abuse their enforcement

    If either of these sounds unlikely, they're still orders of magnitude easier than trying to convince hundreds of thousands of people to participate in building another 'net.

  • by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @07:07PM (#34760346) Homepage Journal

    Most of you don't know the history, and are therefor doomed to repeat it.

    For much of my life I have spent fighting the Ma Bell / AT&T monopoly. From the monopolistic control over Unix to all long distance services, to hicap pipes.
    It wasn't until there breakup in the 80's that direct physical connection of modems was even allowed on to the phone networks.

    Well we are down to the last few companies controlling the last mile, and many of the backbones. Legislation will just further this till we are all locked down to a few Internet services and the rest will be squeezed out or severely hampered.

    IP TV and Cable TV over IP will be the largest changes coming. And companies like Cox and AT&T find themselves in a conflict of Interest.
    Providing last mile Internet while at the same time watching it eat away at their cash cow, cable TV.

    I think we can provide a VPN like tunneling service across the public Internet over to a private network. Most corporations already do this for their employees.
    Getting that last mile has always been the hard part.

    We could then make this private network host content only available on that network, but would anyone want too?

    I mean if you are going to invest in a web server you'd want it to be accessible to as many users as possible.

    Still I have some ideas I may be willing to discuss with an NDA.

    For an interesting read checkout my ecip.com

  • If you truly want to build a second internet, including all of the physical communications infrastructure, you'd have to ban large binaries otherwise it will just become a big music and movie sharing network.

    But if you ban large binaries, then you're already violating the net neutrality you were running away from.

    And of course a simple binary ban wouldn't be sufficient - there are a multitude of ASCII-only encodings available. And I'm sure someone has already come up with a text based steganography method

  • It's illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nivex (20616) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @07:34PM (#34760552) Homepage

    This sounds like a great idea! A couple years ago I tried to get some people interested in building a community network based on some of the concepts from the Wellington Internet eXchange [linuxjournal.com]. Nobody wanted to touch it.

    As soon as the people try to flex their muscle, they are immediately shouted down by the corporations. The laws in the USA have become structured such that corporations have all the power and the people have none. Just ask the citizens of Philadelphia, PA [arstechnica.com] or Wilson, NC [itworld.com].

    Both of these cities, acting as agents of their citizens, were attacked by the corporations. In the case of Philly, they got squashed. Wilson's system is still alive, but not for the lack of effort on Time Warner's part. At one point TW had someone answering the phone for one of the congressmen the night before a vote. It was only thanks to the dedication of a small group of citizens, many of whom had to take off work to attend the oddly scheduled committee meetings, that the system is still online. We know that at any point TW will try again to scuttle it.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @10:52PM (#34762052)

    'The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost.

    Once Congress and the commercial interests that fund Congress get involved (e.g., U.S. Chamber of Commerce), any hope of any manner of neutrality is lost to the money of lobbyists and special interests.

    With the corporate takeover of the US Government [ritholtz.com] how can anyone expect for net neutrality to survive once the lobbyists get involved?

    It is no longer Republicans and Democrats, it is now individual citizens vs. corporate interests. And it looks like corporate interests have won. We no longer have a Republic. We no longer have a Democracy. We now have a kakistocracy run by corporate interests.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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