The Internet: Now With Less Inter

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Thad
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The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:07 am

So no less an authority than Tim Berners-Lee recently posited that the biggest threat to the Web is balkanization -- not from private sites like Facebook trying to bring all Internet communication in-house (though he acknowledges that's a problem) but by government bodies and the growing trend of different countries providing different access to different websites.

Angela Merkel apparently only caught the last half of that, because she thinks an EU-only Internet would be a pretty great idea.

As someone who's pretty damn concerned about Internet privacy issues -- both from governmental and private entities -- I understand the appeal.

As someone who understands how the fucking Internet works, on the other hand, I think Chancellor Merkel is proposing sending the EU back to the fucking Dark Ages.

(I don't know how long some of you guys have been online, but AOL used to be its own private network with sites that other networks' subscribers couldn't access. And it had competitors with names like Compuserve and -- represent! -- Prodigy. There's a reason you haven't heard most of those names in awhile, if ever.)

Not only is Merkel's proposal a bad idea on the social and technical merits, I'm also pretty skeptical that it would, you know, work. I'm kinda hazy on how the fuck her own private EU E-Mail network would have prevented the US from spying on her phone calls. Or her E-Mail.

Because, y'know, this might stymie some of the data collections of small governments, and maybe even large corporations, but the US government? Naaaah.

On the other hand, as soon as you stop worrying about whether or not your shit is compatible with the rest of the world's, maybe you can build a stack of E-Mail protocols that isn't essentially the same as in the 1970's. Like, maybe something that won't actually let people put whatever they want in the "From" header.

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Healy
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Healy » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:07 am

Good god, this sounds like a terrible idea. Why the fuck would anyone do this? And what happens when people in the EU want to actually access the internet the rest of the world uses?
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sei
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby sei » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:36 pm

More evidence that those in office tend to be completely the fuck out of touch with technology.
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Kazz
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Kazz » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:05 pm

There's no chance of this happening. The rest of the world can't survive without our glorious American webzones
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Büge
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Büge » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:09 am

This isn't really Net Neutrality news, but neither is it Net Balkanization news... but it seems more appropriate here than there.

Verizon is going to leave large patches of the USA without broadband access.

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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby pacobird » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:42 pm

"internet" is pretty much synonymous with "globalization" in an international context

regional networks would not be without problems but you have to grant a politician that has again and again labeled youth unemployment as far and away the single greatest threat to her demense might not be talking completely out of her ass on this one
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:31 pm

Well, in the same way as an ostrich with its head in the sand isn't talking out of its ass, and the same way that the Underpants Gnomes have a viable business strategy.

She's done an excellent job of identifying a problem. And she's proposed a solution that is stupid and won't work.

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Mongrel
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Mongrel » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:35 am

On the flip side of the topic title: The US announced it 's going to give up unilateral control of the DNS Root Zone.

What I find most interesting about this is that this a pretty Big Deal, even if the exact terms of the agreement will mean that US isn't really giving up much at all (I don't know?). But I didn't see this reported or mentioned in a single major newspaper, unless it was maybe buried on the internet equivalent of the back pages.
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zaratustra
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby zaratustra » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:39 pm

Brazil wants Google and other large companies to keep data centers in-country. While this is theoretically a good idea to try to reduce spying, Brazil is notorious for brute-force takedown notices when something is offensive to a celebrity or a politician.


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Thad
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:57 pm

PACER upgrades software, removes access to 10 years' worth of court documents without warning.

It should fucking-well go without saying at this point, but Aaron Swartz was right.

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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Mongrel » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:41 pm

Wikipedia not really doing so hot

This artcile is over a year old, but I can't seem to find more recent news, other than 4Chat's Moot crowing about how he kept 4Chan together better than Wiki editors have kept their site.

Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to “compile the sum of all human knowledge” are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own.

The main source of those problems is not mysterious. The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.


As bad as this sounds, I almost feel like having the Wiki community implode would be better in the long run.
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Brentai
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Brentai » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:59 pm

That's just going to replace the current group of little tyrants with a different group of little tyrants. If women were more culturally encouraged to be domineering than men, the volunteers would be 90% female.

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zaratustra
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby zaratustra » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:10 am

The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 100% nitpicking nerds

I believe there was some talk of making a fork of Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, it was started by Gamergate.

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Thad
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:46 pm

Infuriating but entirely expected: W3C accepts DRM as a web standard, with no protections for breaking it for any fair-use purpose (accessibility, security research, etc.).

EFF is weighing its options; there's an appeals process but nobody's ever invoked it successfully.

Meanwhile, of course, the EFF is also fighting in court AND lobbying the Copyright Office to grant those protections as a matter of law. Which of course is a better solution anyway, but not guaranteed to work.

Very fucking disappointed in Berners-Lee for this. I don't know if it's the biggest threat the open web has ever seen, but it's the only one I know of that's ever come from inside the house.

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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:55 am

EFF resigns from W3C over EME.

It's worth reading Ars's article and probably the first page of comments to get a different perspective. They're well-informed folks there, though I disagree with them on this.

The crux of the argument in favor of W3C/Berners-Lee's decision is, DRM is inevitable; we can't do anything to stop it, so the best we can do is make sure it's implemented in a standardized way. If it weren't for EME, the video companies would still use DRM, but they'd use a bunch of incompatible methods in proprietary apps instead of using the open web.

I find this argument unconvincing, for two reasons:

1. I've heard it before.


2. Netflix is now blocking access from Android-based browsers. If you want to use Netflix on Android, you need to download a proprietary app, which uses non-standard DRM (requires Google Services). Boy, sure is a good thing we have EME to prevent things like this from happening.

EFF proposed a compromise, that all signatories to the HTML5 standard agree not to sue anyone who breaks DRM for otherwise-legal purposes. (Breaking DRM, or telling somebody else how to break DRM, is illegal in the US and a number of other countries, even if the DRM is not broken for any illegal purpose. Dmitry Sklyarov got arrested for breaking DRM in order to make Adobe ebooks compatible with text-to-speech programs; thanks to EME, it's illegal for somebody to break the encryption on a Netflix video for fair-use purposes such as taking excerpts to use in a review, or checking to see if there are strobe sequences that could trigger seizures. And, of course, it's illegal to disclose security vulnerabilities in EME.) W3C ultimately decided that putting a legal contract into a technical standard was not a good idea; I sympathize with that decision, and agree that the DMCA (and other nations' similar laws) should be challenged in courts and legislatures. But, at the same time, a standards body shrugging its shoulders and saying "Eh, not our problem" while knowingly introducing a black-box to an "open" standard, together with knowingly exposing security researchers to legal liability...well, that's some bullshit.

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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Mongrel » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:52 am

Pirates, as always...
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Thad
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Re: The Internet: Now With Less Inter

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:12 am

Right; it should go without saying at this point, but every Netflix show gets dumped to torrent sites the same day it premieres.

Netflix's defense of EME has ranged all over the place, from "this digital copy protection mechanism is totally not DRM" to the even-more-inexplicable "this DRM will improve your battery life, security, and privacy". Netflix has previously claimed that it didn't choose to use DRM, the studios forced it to, though as FSF has pointed out, that doesn't explain why it includes DRM on its original programming too. (Given that Joel Hodgson repeatedly referred to DRM as "insulting" in the MST3K Kickstarter, I'm gonna guess he never demanded that Netflix add DRM to the show.)

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