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Jonathan Zittrain On the Future of the Internet

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the take-back-the-tubes dept.

The Internet 216

uctpjac writes "Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford and renowned cyberlaw scholar, gave a lecture explaining that the Internet has to be taken out of the hands of the anarchists, the libertarians, and the State, and handed back to self-policing communities of experts. If we don't do this, he believes the Internet will suffer 'self-closure' — the open system will seal itself off when the inability to put its own house in order leads to a take-over by government and business. The article summarizes Zittrain's points and notes, "Forces of organized interests that do not play by the rules, like malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers are allowing another army of interests — corporate protectionists, often — to demand centralized, authoritarian solutions. This is the future of the Net unless we stop it.'"

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oh yea (0, Troll)

play with my balls (1253180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693152)

I'd let Jonathan Zittrain nestle his balls in my mouth.

Anyhoo. Paradox of Liberty and control. (1, Insightful)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693188)

End the age of "internet free speech" to save it?

Burn a village to save it.

God damn, you wolves in sheep's clothing don't give up. ....

AWESOME troll username btw

No No No (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693224)

The future is the same as the past: porn porn porn.

The strongest economic and technological driving force in the universe. Forget going to Mars - you want to develop more technology, just let porn do the job.

Re:No No No (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693320)

you want to develop more technology, just let porn do the job.

porn exploits new technologies. it invests in nothing.

Re:No No No (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693890)

you want to develop more technology, just let porn do the job.
porn exploits new technologies. it invests in nothing.

The porn industry invests heavily. What I think you mean is it doesn't not invest in developing new technologies.

Companies invest in developing new technologies, in the hope that other businesses (including porn) will purchase products incorporating said technologies.

So porn does help fund new technologies, by expanding the market for new technologies, thus attracting investors in businesses whose goal is developing new technologies.

Without the hope of future customers, who would invest in development?.

Re:No No No (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693338)

I am not sure if you are joking, but I think that in the mid 90s this was essentially the case in the beginning of the "e-commerce" boom. And it is probably the biggest reason pressure for increased bandwidth.

Re:No No No (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693820)

Perhaps we should focus on Martian Porn. Would that help usher in an era of Star Trek-like unity and space exploration?

Re:No No No (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693888)

Actually the dirty little secret of the open source community is that it is driven by porn.

Experts in what? (5, Insightful)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693156)

Why on earth should he think that "experts" are any better at self regulation than any other random group of people?

Re:Experts in what? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693168)

Because, more often than not, people's ideals are just as far removed from reality as their fears are.

Re:Experts in what? (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693310)

But I think that proves the point, a rule by experts isn't necessarily any better.

Re:Experts in what? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693552)

Experts don't use ideals or fears. They use facts and data. They seek solutions that work, even if they don't live up to someone's libertarian ideals. Real experts are indispensable in any field. The White House has received considerable criticism for ignoring experts, and we should ignore them at our own peril.

Re:Experts in what? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693586)

Yes, my posts often answer questions that are only there in an equivocating sort of way... and even more often answered with a sardonic, yet acknowledging sort of style.

Re:Experts in what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693212)

They're better at self-regulation than niggers, that's for sure. Can't even self-regulate themselves into not whooping at the cinema screen every five seconds. Maybe the flashing lights overstimulate their primitive brains?

Re:Experts in what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693296)

Modded down by the nigger-loving liberal left, once again. You won't get rid of me, Slashdot. I have made it my mission to alert America to the dangers posed by blacks, a hidden threat that grows ever larger with the continuing success of Barack *Hussein* Obama. Liberal America is sleepwalking into electing a black Islamic militant as President and don't even see it as a problem.

WAKE UP, AMERICA! It's the White House, not the Black House!
Keep the blacks out [ronpaul2008.com] , support Ron Paul in 2008.

Re:Experts in what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693638)

Anyone else think this is just some guy posting with a 'Ron Paul' signaure just so they can somehow make the point that Ron Paul is racist, when we know he isn't? You must be a neocon. Maybe you work for the MSM?

okaay (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693354)

That article sure uses a a lot of words to say 'the web should be communist'.

Any system where a small group of people get to make the decisions will skew towards making the world more to the liking of those people. Further, new additions to this ruling class will be those deemed acceptable by the current encumbants. This is a bad thing.

All analysis like these are missing a huge, huge point. The wider web may well end up under the control of powerful, agenda ridden groups. This isn't that important, no really, it isn't. They are trying to control something which is already on its way to being obsolete as a means to disseminate information between ordinary people.

Why not? Because the net will contain sub-internets within game worlds. sub-internets will be the new places to hang out. We may even see clones of our current Internet hosted entirely inside game worlds (or whatever game worlds become).

Re:okaay (2, Funny)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693746)

Why not? Because the net will contain sub-internets within game worlds. sub-internets will be the new places to hang out.
Yeah, but thos subnets have all the problems of internet plus their own. In internet we have spam, in SL we have flying penises and griefing.

That's okay (1, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693824)

Second Life is for people who don't have a First Life anyway.

Bits don't vote. (5, Insightful)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693830)

"That article sure uses a a lot of words to say 'the web should be communist'. "

Rubbish.

The point is internet technology is so complex very few people understand how all of it works, and how it works all together. The further away you go from technical to admisistrative skillsets the less likely are people to understand what's going on. That's the difference bewteen SMTP actually working and a sock puppet raising venture capital.

This has nothing to do with capitalism or communism and is inappropriate for a framework of discussion about technology and what kind of environment open standards and processes need to flourish.

Re:Bits don't vote. (-1, Flamebait)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693924)

And that sir, is a lot of words to sy you don't understand what I meant.

I suggest you go and read Plato's 'Politeia'. It may help you understand the issue a little better.

Band of experts == communism (1, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693842)

> That article sure uses a a lot of words to say 'the web should be communist'.

Yup. The problem is most people, even people who profess to be socialists/communists, don't understand that aspect of it.

And of course anybody with two brain cells that function should be able to spot the obvious defect in such a scheme. Who decides who gets elevated above everyone else and installed as an 'expert?'

Self selected? Right. Just look at the fiasco going on in the US right now as we hurtle along at insane speed towards a socialist takeover of a medical system that is the envy of the world currently. Look who 'self selected' as experts. Not a doctor, insurance actuary or other actual expert in the bunch. All socialist politicians pushing variations of plans that have already been tried and failed in other places.... failed to improve medical care but succeeded at increasing the power of the politicians. Ah. Now the student should understand the flaw.

Free from outside influence? Only if nobody cares what is being decided. ISO did solid work when setting standards where nobody had much of an ax to grind as to exactly what was in a standard, but everybody stood to benefit from having A standard. But observe what happened when billions of dollars was on the line with MS-OOXML. Suddenly those dispasionate experts were for sale to the highest bidder, stacking the meetings with paid for warm bodies, etc.

So again, who is going to pick the experts and how does one keep them from undue influence? Answer, you can't. Any scheme which could pick the experts would itself have to exhibit the sort of dispasionate expertise and freedom from outside influence that would make it directly suitable as a system of governance.

This recurring dream stems from a basic dream. The truth is that a wise and just king is the best form of government possible. But they only occur rarely and nobody has ever produced a working system to get such men on thrones at even the rate they occur at random nature. And the converse is also true. A bad king/tyrant (which occures more frequently than good ones) is the more common variety, which is why few will make the argument for monarchy. But the unspoken yearning for an all wise philosopher king is what drives most left thinking these days. Witness the uproar over the Obamessiah.

Re:okaay (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693850)

Zittrain clearly shows how clueless he is by lumping Libertarians and Anarchists together, in his contrived "graph". In fact, Libertarian principles support the very kind of self-governance that Zittrain espouses... without the "central authority".

Governance -- even self-governance -- is not "anarchy". Other nations predicted that the self-governance model of the new United States would fail miserably. It has taken over 200 years, and it is finally starting to fail. But that is not because of the principles that it is based on! On the contrary, it is because of the corruption of those principles by our "leaders".

Re:okaay (4, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693950)

That article sure uses a a lot of words to say 'the web should be communist'.

Communism is an economic system where the workers own the means of production; the practical implementations usually had the state owning everything. It has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

All analysis like these are missing a huge, huge point. The wider web may well end up under the control of powerful, agenda ridden groups. This isn't that important, no really, it isn't. They are trying to control something which is already on its way to being obsolete as a means to disseminate information between ordinary people.

Why not? Because the net will contain sub-internets within game worlds. sub-internets will be the new places to hang out. We may even see clones of our current Internet hosted entirely inside game worlds (or whatever game worlds become).

I use the Web mainly for reading text and looking at pictures. The current Web is absolutely superior in this compared to any imaginable virtual world.

The cyberspace - a simulation of real 3D world - is a fun thing for playing around, but when you need to get information, it is pathetically inefficient. Besides, it takes obscene amounts of resources to host a virtual world compared to simply hosting a website, so not surprisingly every virtual world in existence is tightly controlled by agenda-ridden groups. Add the fact that there is only a handful of them, and getting started in a new virtual world requires an absurd amount of effort - installing the client, at the absolute minimum - compared to simply going to a new website with the good old browser, and it is quite clear that the Internet's future lies in the lair of the spider queen.

Re:Experts in what? (1)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693426)

Expert: someone who knows more and more, about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.

(Sorry, dunno where I stole this from.. thought it was funny.)

Re:Experts in what? (2, Interesting)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693792)

"Why on earth should he think that "experts" are any better at self regulation than any other random group of people?"

Because they're "experts" and not a random group of people.

Jono's quite right: frame it in this context - who would you put in charge of managaing, say, the Linux kernel? A bunch of guys that knew it best or a governmnet committee of people qualified to do something else?

TFA is wrong though when it says "this almost happened with domain names". Substitute "DNS" for "Linux" in the above and you have ICANN.

Jono was there as well, to watch this all come up. In fact Lessig and Zittrain were involved in the process that led up to ICANN and were as surprised as anybody else when the government stepped in and said "We know you've been working on this for a year all over the world, but here's the baord and here's the organization. Thanks, but you can go home now".

Re:Experts in what? (2, Interesting)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693918)

I don't think that was his argument - or, at least, not exactly in those terms. If I read the article correctly, what Zittrain is saying is that a communitarian approach to the internet is the best one to take, because communities (like Wikipedia, DNS, or Slashdot, to name but a few) have their own strongly-policed rules, but do not claim a totalising power. So Wikipedia's rules apply to Wikipedia, Slashdot's rules apply to Slashdot, and so on. The "expertise" that Zittrain is talking about isn't necessarily having a PhD from MIT, but the kind of expertise that allows Slashdot to be run so effectively, including the expertise of its users who act as moderators and meta-moderators. He's asking us to stop accepting "top-down" regulation of the internet (from governmental authority, on the whole). Instead, we should build communities which self-regulate and, from there, create a moral internet which can fulfil its true potential whilst resisting the shut-down pressures coming from business, government, and anarchist forces.

This is my understanding of the article which, in its turn, is someone else's understanding of what Zittrain has said. I'll be interested to read the book and see whether I've got it right!

first ni66as (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693158)

yea

Why is that so bad? (1, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693164)

I've been on the Internet longer than most people (since 1991). I know the concepts and the goals of a lot of people who have used it and created it. Heck, I've downloaded music and movies, etc. too. But honestly, if now what we have is a bunch of people who think that stealing is ok because that is what the Internet was designed to allow us to do (see replies to this thread [slashdot.org] , then were we really so right to choose an open Internet?

If anything, I think its time for the Internet to get back in touch with reality.

Re:Why is that so bad? (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693294)

I've been on the Internet longer than most people (since 1991). I know the concepts and the goals of a lot of people who have used it and created it. Heck, I've downloaded music and movies, etc. too. But honestly, if now what we have is a bunch of people who think that stealing is ok because that is what the Internet was designed to allow us to do (see replies to this thread, then were we really so right to choose an open Internet?

All the internet is doing is helping to demonstrate how and why copyright is broken.

Re: Problems of some age, now this age. (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693302)

Society takes a rather long time to accomplish it, but consensus does eventually grind through topical issues over a course of a generation or two.

It may surprise people to recall that it was Star Trek of all things which, after the Mobile Phone, made a big point to announce that Replicators (seen first here with media, and coming in 20 years with mainstream custom-form solids) would seriously thrash economic theory.

Trek eventually settled into a kind of Meritocracy-for-Rent, where the right to be a part of some high-skill group (such as the Enterprise) was the payoff for being able to keep up on a par with that group.

Also, the Internet is bringing the Big Brother question to its proper discussion level by actually demonstrating what was previously an abstract conceptual warning.

"Experts"... Many of us here may qualify if that term is generous enough. Any one of us could moderate out the worst of youtube style TurboTroll users - and for forums that don't have this site's free speech theme, that is in fact necessary to protect basic functioning value.

My favorite example of a real "Expert" here is our friendly neighborhood NewYorkCountryLawyer. When he posts, we get really quiet and listen. : )

Re: Problems of some age, now this age. (4, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694000)

It may surprise people to recall that it was Star Trek of all things which, after the Mobile Phone, made a big point to announce that Replicators (seen first here with media, and coming in 20 years with mainstream custom-form solids) would seriously thrash economic theory.

You want to understand the impact of replicators?

Ralph Williams' short story from 1958 "Business As Usual, During Alterations" throws buckets of cold water on the whole idea.

In Williams' world anyone can copy an Eames chair, the Calder mobile, but only one man can design it and only one shop can produce the master. In Williams' world, intellect and creativity remains scarce and valuable.

Re:Why is that so bad? (2, Insightful)

arabagast (462679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693312)

but do you want the possibility to post anonymously (say, you are Chinese) just because people download shitty Hollywood movies and some top 20 music ? I would like an open internet, not a network being monitored left and right - some may even say this is already happening. We have to make it clear that monitoring traffic is not O.K . I want my personal messages to be personal, and not being read by a god damn agency somewhere.

Re:Why is that so bad? (1, Flamebait)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693488)

The Internet is being monitored left and right. The USA is doing it big time as part of Bush's "patriot act". The Chinese are doing it big time for censorship and suppression of anything anti-Chinese communist. And the Russians are doing it too.

In fact, just about every government is at least monitoring it. Some are actively censoring it. Some use the information the glean to arrest, detain, and question citizens.

Governments even set up shill TOR sites so they can monitor traffic in and out of anonymizing services like TOR.

In short, your personal messages are not personal. And they are being read by an agency somewhere. And archived. They probably aren't being read by a human unless you managed to pique someone's interest, but they are at least being scanned by programs that look for key words and patterns and that are addressed to other persons of interest that might identify you as some kind of person of interest.

It is real and it's happening now.

Re:Why is that so bad? (3, Insightful)

phaunt (1079975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693908)

(...)

In short, your personal messages are not personal. And they are being read by an agency somewhere. (...)

It is real and it's happening now.

And, most importantly and frighteningly, the average user doesn't give a damn.

Re:Why is that so bad? (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694046)

Like an earlier poster, I've been on the Internet for a long, long time (since early '89), and I've always known that no communication over the Internet is "private" unless it's encrypted, and even then the packets are always subject to copying. It's the way TCP/IP is set up, you have no control over where the packets get routed, and you have no control over what each router along each packet's path is allowed to do with those packets. Anyone who ever thought that the Internet was somehow "private" was either misguided or ignorant. Why do you think there was always a warning about sending passwords through email?

Re:Why is that so bad? (4, Insightful)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693776)

...I would like an open internet, not a network being monitored left and right...

If it's an open internet, it's certainly open to being monitored.

I want my personal messages to be personal, and not being read by a god damn agency somewhere.

Then you may want to refrain from sending your personal messages over an essentially public network that was pretty much designed to pass your message through an indefinite number of points before being delivered.

Re:Why is that so bad? (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693394)

I think its time for the Internet to get back in touch with reality.

The social contract that we call "government" is just an shared idea that has been realized by the efforts of very large numbers of people throughout history. Having a different shared idea embodied in the internet is no more or less "real" than the idea of government, it just doesn't have the same amount of history or communal effort put into realizing it yet. Order, Justice, Law, those things are just ideas. Reality is Gravity and Thermodynamics. I think the internet is actually more in touch with the physical realities of the universe than most of the government is.

When you look at how most people want our society to be, the internet is a more accurate reflection of that desired society than our government is namely because much larger numbers of people have a more direct and malleable input into the internet than they do of their governments. This is important because the "reality" you mention is the social contract that is what makes us a society, as opposed to a mere collection of intelligent bald apes.

Social contract theory provides the rationale behind the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most of these theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any social order, termed the "state of nature" or "natural state". In this state of being, an individual's action is bound only by his or her conscience. From this common starting point, the various proponents of social contract theory attempt to explain, in different ways, why it is in an individual's rational self-interest to voluntarily subjugate the freedom of action one has under the natural state (their so called "natural rights") in order to obtain the benefits provided by the formation of social structures. [wikipedia.org]
Because of it's newness and sudden growth the internet partially escaped the rule of military force and the meat-space reality of scarcity [wikipedia.org] . Because of this the social contract has manifest differently than in "real world", however that doesn't make it any less valid.

Re:Why is that so bad? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693486)

The word that we call a "possessive" is just a word that is accepted by the efforts of very large numbers of people who realize that a possessive is already possessive and so doesn't need an apostrophe to protect the "s" from the other letters.

Re:Why is that so bad? (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693418)

But honestly, if now what we have is a bunch of people who think that stealing is ok because that is what the Internet was designed to allow us to do

*sigh*

Do you know the difference between punching someone in the face or stabbing them dead

One is called assault and the other is called murder.

What you are describing as theft is most likley copyright infringement.

Neither is ok, but using the internet to copy copyrighted material is not theft but copyright violations which are judged and prosecuted under a wholly different set of laws.

Here is an example... You copyright a song that is whistled. It is catchy and one of the persons who hears it goes about his daily life and whistles to his hearts content and teaches others to whistle it as well. Absurd as it sounds, that violates copyright laws but your right to your whistling song is temporary for the sake "of useful arts and sciences" according to the constition and one day that song will be free to the public to whistle as much as they choose.

Now if it were theft of the same scenario, I suppose that would include an angry fan punching you in the stomach and forcing you to whistle against your will (theft of services) or removed actual profits that you made from your catch whistle directly from your bank account. Now that is theft... Again its the difference between manslaughter and murder.

If you ever end up on the wrong side of a jury, you'll hope the jurors know the difference.

As far as an Open Internet, one has to simply point at Iran and China as why regulation and lack of anonymity is a "bad thing".

Who? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693176)

John Nobody blathers on about something he knows very little from his summer place while sipping tea.

Why do Slashdotters buy the banal esoteric blather that comes from guys like these who have no real connection to reality?

FB (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693180)

Frosted Butts

Out of their hands and back again apparently (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693210)

Out of the hands of anarchists... and into the hands of self-policing communities. What exactly does he think anarchism means in practical terms?

Re:Out of their hands and back again apparently (4, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693494)

Out of the hands of anarchists... and into the hands of self-policing communities. What exactly does he think anarchism means in practical terms?


Self-policing communities means that he's making the decisions. Anarchists means that somebody else is.

Re:Out of their hands and back again apparently (2, Insightful)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693498)

> Out of the hands of anarchists... and into the hands of self-policing communities. What exactly does he think anarchism means in practical terms?

Simple, really-- anarchy means no laws. Given that, every individual is either self-policed or policed by others (or both). Having a "self-policing community" means having laws. It conflicts with anarchy. Whether the laws are voted on or imposed from above, or whether the policing is done by volunteers or the government, is really irrelevant next to the fact that a group of individuals is telling other individuals how to behave.

In short, anarchy = self-policing individuals. A self-policing community can't be anarchic.

Re:Out of their hands and back again apparently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693676)

Whether we like it or not, we are all part of a community - both in the real world and on the Internet. In an anarchic system we are inevitably under a self-policing community. Even if there are no "rules" in the sense of laws from a higher authority there is always the simple fact that any action taken by the individual can incite reaction from others who may or may not be affected. Maybe this form of "self-policing community" isn't what TFAuthor meant, but it is really no less capable of enforcing social responsibility in individuals.

Re:Out of their hands and back again apparently (4, Informative)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693706)

anarchy means no laws
I'm not sure this is true. Anarchy is generally agreed to mean the absence of government, and this is different from "no laws". Wikipedia agrees [wikipedia.org]

Having a "self-policing community" means having laws.
Not true either. Anarchists (including prominent ones like Chomsky) have often put stated that their form of government does include rules, though I don't know enough about anarchism to state exactly what. One interview I've read is with Peter Jay [chomsky.info] and this includes some clarification about some anarchist views on the rule of law.

Anarchism is probably the most misrepresented of all political creeds, even more than fascism or communism. While I am certainly no expert (nor anarchist) you're putting forward statements that are clearly untrue, even at a glance.

Re:Out of their hands and back again apparently (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693900)

>> anarchy means no laws
> I'm not sure this is true. Anarchy is generally agreed to mean the absence of government, and this is different from "no laws". Wikipedia agrees

Actually, the Wikipedia article you linked gives "state of lawlessness" as part of its first definition - I would consdier "no laws" to be synonymous with "lawlessness."

And while it describes anarchy as absence of "government," not laws, the words "legislation" and "democracy" and "enforcement" are all absent from the article. Given that a typical role of government is to write and enforce the laws, I would consider an anarchist society to be void of rules as well. A rule that is agreed upon by all, but not enforced, has no teeth. It would rely on people to police themselves, at which point the rules become rather flexible.

>> Having a "self-policing community" means having laws

> Not true either. Anarchists (including prominent ones like Chomsky) have often put stated that their form of government does include rules,
> though I don't know enough about anarchism to state exactly what.

That's all very interesting, and I will read more about it-- but "rules" mean rulers. If some authority enforces it upon others, it's effectively the same thing as a law. As our democratic experiment has shown, self-rule doesn't automatically lead to more freedom or eliminate authority.

> While I am certainly no expert (nor anarchist) you're putting forward statements that are clearly untrue, even at a glance.

No, it just depends on your definitions. I think the very idea of a "self-policing community" is in contradiction with anarchy, which I consider to be based on the idea of the individual having authority over him or herself and no other. "Rules" without government end up being nothing more than a consensus of "best practices."

I didn't get it. (2, Informative)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693218)

Hm, article contains word blogosphere. Stopped reading there. And up to that word, I did not really get what "JZ" wanted to say anyway, it sounded more like an incoherent ramble by TFA's author. Anyone care to elaborate?

Re:I didn't get it. (3, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693250)

could be worse, he could of said blagotubes (http://xkcd.com/181/).
I have to admit that i didn't even bother reading more than the summary, saying something has to be taken out of the hands of anarchists is never a good start, because by anarchists he means people!

Re:I didn't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693350)

I dunno. Looks like the outcome of someone who spent too much time thinking about the Internet, but not one second on the engineering side.

Re:I didn't get it. (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693384)

Yeah, the article is pretty incoherent. Hard to tell whether it's an incoherent summary of a coherent talk, or a correct summary of an incoherent talk.

One problem is that he talks about the internet as if it were a nation-state. The internet is a tool. Calling me a "netizen" is like saying that I'm a citizen of my screwdriver.

If a society is organized along centralized, authoritarian lines, then the problem isn't that that has a bad effect on the internet, the problem is that the whole society is screwed up. I care about whether there's free speech or not; the issue isn't free speech on the internet, it's free speech. I care about "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures;" the issue isn't whether TSA employees demand to paw through my laptop's email boxes, the issue is whether the bill of rights is being raped in general in the U.S. as a response to 9/11. If copyrights and patents are out of control, that's an issue for our society as a whole, not just for the internet.

Re:I didn't get it. (1)

tkinnun0 (756022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693548)

One problem is that he talks about the internet as if it were a nation-state. The internet is a tool. Calling me a "netizen" is like saying that I'm a citizen of my screwdriver.
The internet is THE de facto forum of the World Government, if there ever was one. You have the Chinese Party, North American Party, European Party and Middle Eastern Party, all vying for influence, all with different goals. So no, the internet is not a nation state, but it's the political playground of a new world state that's just emerging. Letting one party control the medium of discourse is not good news for political discussion.

Re:I didn't get it. (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693520)

And up to that word, I did not really get what "JZ" wanted to say anyway, it sounded more like an incoherent ramble by TFA's author. Anyone care to elaborate?


It's the old "we have to kill ourselves before they kill us" argument, as it is usually applied to the internet, that's all. Nothing new under the sun today.

Imaginary Property (2, Interesting)

biscon (942763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693226)

I think intellectual property (or at least the current laws governing it) will be responsible for the death of the internet as we know it today.
We will still have something called the internet, but it will be some proprietary closed crap. Unlike today everyone and their dog won't be able to just put up a page in a days work.

I would love to be wrong though.

Re:Imaginary Property (1, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693386)

Unlike today everyone and their dog won't be able to just put up a page in a days work.

Meaning you might have to put some effort into creating original content for the web instead of just posting - or plagiarizing - the work of others?

It interests me how the Geek lusts to rip off Steamboat Willie. While the real artist moves on and produces a Ratatouille.

Re:Imaginary Property (2, Interesting)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693968)

t interests me how the Geek lusts to rip off Steamboat Willie. While the real artist moves on and produces a Ratatouille.


You speak for yourself.

This geeks produces his own precious creations, while at the same time wanting a more balanced agreement between those who contribute to art through its production and those who contribute to it through its appreciation. I'm not sure, but I suspect it's really those who simply seek to make a profit off of it that are the threat to the process.

Re:Imaginary Property (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693392)

I think intellectual property (or at least the current laws governing it) will be responsible for the death of the internet as we know it today.
Obviously you are not a person who relies on your creativity for your income. Perhaps you still live in mom's basement.

Re:Imaginary Property (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693516)

In the future, it's not hard to imagine us running the hardware of today on community mesh networks of wired or unwired kind. The best advice I could give any entrepreneur is to snap up pristine examples of today's best hardware, because the only way 'The Man' will be able to force proprietary crap on us which prevents DIY network efforts is to change the hardware.

How will that help? (4, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693244)

So he's saying that the only way to stop the 'net from being placed under centralised control would be to place the 'net under central control?

All right. I'm being flip, and I'm sure there has to be more to it than that. All the same, how do you prevent the two cases from becoming functionally equivalent? If you hand net governance into the hands of a small clique, the obvious moves for those who want to unfairly exploit the net is to gain control of the clique.

All this would do is open a second avenue of attack for the forces he seems to be so worried about. That's if we accept the initial premise that the 'net is doomed as things stand... and I'm not sure that I do.

Re:How will that help? (2)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693372)

And besides, HOW would you go about installing any kind of Net governance in the first place? State governments have some kind of chance of at least trying to govern the Internet, since they can pressure ISPs and other players with their legislative powers. I don't see everyone on the Internet, even just the companies that run the infrastructure, suddenly agreeing to be governed by some body of experts. Then again, maybe Zittrain is proposing something completely different than a new method for governance of the Internet - it's kind of hard to tell what he actually means to say from just reading TFA.

Re:How will that help? (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693382)

I personally find the whole idea that any group could control the Internet tantamount to saying that any group can control all religions. No there aren't the same thing, but to me the concept is similar. You might be able to control parts of the net, but as soon as people find out this is the case they will migrate elsewhere. The whole concept of the internet is that it is (relatively) free and is a worldwide community. Thus the only possible policing polity or agency, or what-have-you, would have to be composed of a group representative of the entire world.

And we've all seen the UN.

No anarchists required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693246)

Corporations and government agencies always grab for more power and centralized solutions. They don't need any anarchists to do this. Look at all the bureaucracy controlling television or hospitals... even though the broadcasters and doctors are far from rebels.

The only reason the internet is free is that we have the anarchists/libertarians doing a lot of the work that makes the internet run.

Well written, high conceptual crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693278)

Folks,
I actually read the article and was impressed with how well written and grammatically
correct the article was. But I still came away with some nagging impressions:

1) These people are not familiar with the history of the internet.
2) These people are not familiar with the history of the internet.
3) These people ARE NOT FAMILIAR with the history of the internet.

The genius of the internet is that you can't control the people on the internet
by fiat. You have to convince them. All the malware coders, pedophiles, scammers,
power hungry monopolists, power hungry governments are just "damage" on the
internet, and the internet is very good at routing around "damage".

These people are cut from the same cloth that think only "experts" like
Encyclopedia Britannica can actually produce a good encyclopedia -- years
after wikipedia has been on the internet.

These are the same kinds of people who keep thinking that only a large
multinational corporation has the capability to create something as
complex as an operating system that is robust enough to run just about
any hardware, nearly 2 decades after Linux was released.

These are the people who still think that some large corporation or government
can tell the people how they must think inside of their own heads even though
the Berlin wall fell nearly 20 years ago.

Folks, don't get worked up about these guys.

Who guards the guards? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693304)

the Internet has to be taken out of the hands of the anarchists, the libertarians, and the State, and handed back to self-policing communities of experts.

and just how do you propose to make a state surrender its own interests and that of its prime constituencies to outside "communities" answerable to no one but themselves?

YouTube criticised for gang rape video [timesonline.co.uk]
Rape Video Posted on YouTube Not Removed for 3 Months [clevelandleader.com]

Hold on a second... (5, Insightful)

thewils (463314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693318)

Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation says that Internet should be Governed and Regulated?

Sounds like a nice make-work project to me...

Re:Hold on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693410)

To govern the internet, you need a structure similar to that used to approve changes to say, the C programming language. That seems like a pretty good structure for a government of an entity like the internet.

Just my 2 cents. Never read the article though.

Re:Hold on a second... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693960)

To govern the internet, you need a structure similar to that used to approve changes to say, the C programming language. That seems like a pretty good structure for a government of an entity like the internet.

Until it gets gamed by someone to advance their financial interests (see Microsoft and OOXML "standard" approval).

Same as the courts were gamed by SCO.

Same as the electoral system was gamed by Bush

another whiney Brit (0, Troll)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693334)

The only people more fearful than American news are the British. If I see another "panic" article Slashrot, the odds are its from the UK.

Another Yank With Bad Grammar (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693366)

The only people more fearful than American news are the British.

I wish I understood this sentence. I've been racking my brains for five minutes trying to work out what you're saying and I just can't get it.

Incidentally, we may have been stupid enough to vote in a lying fearmonger like Tony Blair, but what's your excuse for voting in a lying HALFWIT fearmonger like "Dubya"?

Re:Another Yank With Bad Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693454)

"... but what's your excuse for voting in a lying HALFWIT fearmonger like "Dubya"?"

... twice!

Re:Another Yank With Bad Grammar (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693506)

...what's your excuse for voting in a lying HALFWIT fearmonger like "Dubya"?

The TV told us to.

Re:another whiney Brit (2, Informative)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693450)

PS. It's amazing how easy it is to avoid making a total ass of yourself if you spend a minute on Google to get your facts straight.

According to this "Harvard Unversity that just happens to be in the USA" link Jonathan Zittrain [harvard.edu] is a visiting professor at Oxford - it looks like he's just another "know-it-all" Yank after all.

I wonder what the alternative would have been... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693644)

doctor: Yes ma'am, your son has been borne healthy and breathing as well as we can see, yet he does have a long growth of blemishes following his ass-crack. Have you decided to name him yet, while the nurses treat his epidermal episode?

      mom: I and my husband are somewhat not decided between two names, either Billy Monkey-Butt or Jonathan Zit-Train

      dad: Let's you and me flip a coin, doc. Heads for Monkeybutt, tails for Zittrain.

doctor: and it's tails, for Zittrain. Welcome to your Taxpayer ID/Social Security account Number, Jonathan Zittrain.

FWIW (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693352)

I find the statement that something should be taken out of the hands of Libertarians to be contradictory and wrong.

Ah yes (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693364)

the experts. I'm sure the people that built the Titanic were experts too. I know that just the other day I was saying to the wife, "Wife, I really can't stand all of these people saying what is on their minds. What we need is a self appointed elitist university type to run the Internets."

Yuck. (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693396)

Err, sorry, but the clique of 'experts' would be just as (if not more) dangerous than the corporation or state.

Personally, and IMHO, as long as everyone is forced to keep to open standards, and as long as there are cheap and easy ways to access a network based on them, nobody can close anything off.

The Internet is (still) beyond the power of the individual or small group to control it. Put up a firewall? TOR springs up. Implement network throttling on certain types of traffic? That type of traffic will suddenly mimic other types. ISP locks you out due to political discomfort? You get another one who is willing to sell service at the same or lower price. Mandate locks and controls at the telco level? WiFi and NoCat springs up to build a mesh. Even Cuba, which has the tightest controls of any networked country, has one hell of a Sneakernet going on with geek sticks and covert data transfers... slow, but workable.

North Korea is about it for the ultimate Internet control, but only because they literally don't have an infrastructure installed, at least not outside of a few elite homes, palaces, and offices.

The closest anyone has come to a corporate-built 'walled garden' style of network was AOL (which had an "Internet" button to leave that network and get online). AOL's garden (in case no one noticed) is dead, and the corp is a mere shell of its former self.

To top all that off, corporations live and die by their customer base - the more locks they place on it, the less access they have to it.

Nope - I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

/P

Yuck-Death! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693692)

"Personally, and IMHO, as long as everyone is forced to keep to open standards, and as long as there are cheap and easy ways to access a network based on them, nobody can close anything off."

Point noted. Now here's mine. The internet as a noun is composed of private, public, infrastructure and overall national oversight. In other words the people who we fear control already control via the fact they created and run it. The public whom we implicitly assume will work in our interests makes up a small number of the total and what they control is fragmented enough to not make up a viable substitute should "The Man" decide to exert control. Make note of all the cables cut and how easy it could have been to isolate a region should a deteremined attacker do so?

"WiFi and NoCat springs up to build a mesh."

Meshes aren't silver bullets even if they are slashbuzzwords.

"Even Cuba, which has the tightest controls of any networked country, has one hell of a Sneakernet going on with geek sticks and covert data transfers... slow, but workable. "

Cuba isn't a full-blown totaltarian regime. The fact that foreigners can go their makes my point.

"The closest anyone has come to a corporate-built 'walled garden' style of network was AOL (which had an "Internet" button to leave that network and get online). AOL's garden (in case no one noticed) is dead, and the corp is a mere shell of its former self."

It "died" because the internet offered more than what AOL could. Kind of hard to compete with that. Throw in all the other issues Time Warner/AOL had and you come to the present.

"To top all that off, corporations live and die by their customer base - the more locks they place on it, the less access they have to it."

Apparently for slashdot some aren't dying fast enough.

Re:Yuck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693714)

Err, sorry, but the clique of 'experts' would be just as (if not more) dangerous than the corporation or state.

Personally, and IMHO, as long as everyone is forced to keep to open standards, and as long as there are cheap and easy ways to access a network based on them, nobody can close anything off.

How is Joe Sixpack going to figure out how to install and use Tor? What if he doesn't know what a wireless mesh is? What if such meshes and Tor are illegal? I can't help but notice that Cuba isn't a haven of internet freedoms, and only a select few are able to get any outside information at all. If Cuba is your example of an unsealed internet then your standards are uselessly low. And you have the audacity to conclude on the basis of your lame standard that limiting internet freedoms is impossible!

understanding the current situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693400)

The "corporate protectionists" are the "Forces of organized interests that do not play by the rules, like malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers...". DRM is a collection of viruses, spy ware, trojans, and other misc. malware. China, Japan, and other foreign interest lobby heavily for DRM so they can use it to hack our systems, steal information from credit card numbers to corporate secrets. The "there's nothing of national security interest hooked up to the net" argument is BS. Information is created by people, information is collected by people, and information is processed by people, people that often only own one computer from which they do everything. And remember we are not just talking about national security but economic security as well. These outside interest know what to invest in, know when to dump stock, know which companies are paper castles and which have substance. As long as DRM is allowed to exist the US will continue to fall into economic collapse while Japan, China, Russia, etc. thrive.

Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693432)

...doesn't see himself as "forces of organized interests." And he puts the anarchists and libertarians with the State when the charge for centralized, authoritarian solutions is mostly coming from professors of internet governance and soccer moms.

A lot of us look back on the Wild West days of the internet with great fondness. It was an era of total personal responsibility, but it better in every way to the regulated picket-fenced suburbia we are headed to now. And it isn't the anarchists and libertarians leading that charge.

The only thing that is better today is the bandwidth. And the extra bandwidth will be meaningless when we have to comply with all the regulations of a series of sovereign states or even worse if we have to comply with the regulations of an untold number of local communities.

This guy is like the soccer moms that are so scared of freedom, that can't see all the harms they get when they invite regulation. And they seem oblivious to the failures of fighting market forces like spamming with prohibition laws. You don't get any of the supposed benefits of the prohibition, but you get all the downsides of the government authority, including the concentration of corporate power that that allows.

It all ultimately goes back to government (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693440)

Russia and China wink and nod when their people commit crimes against richer countries. Nigeria and other countries have many internet cafes which are havens to criminal enterprises, and that the police can't dismantle because they're so ineffective (and often the culture too is corrupt or sympathetic to the criminals because they target the "colonial powers" or some shit like that). It's failure or outright tolerance for this behavior on the part of government that is to blame.

As to the issue of experts, one of the biggest problems we have today is that many "intellectuals" think that their weight in one field carries over into another. The crossover here between history and science intellectuals is a good example. There are many scientists who sound like illiterate douchebags when they talk about history, and vice versa, yet their credentials give them undue weight.

IMO, the era of the public intellectual is over, and with that should come the end of an automatic assumption that experts are anything other than a one trick pony, unless they can prove otherwise.

Re:It all ultimately goes back to government (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693590)

I guess you would be a good example of the kind of "intellectuals" you describe.

The dang problem with all those pesky intellectuals is that they are frequently educated. This country has traditionally valued an education that provided a broad foundation of knowledge. Even if one of those know-it-alls specialized in, say, particle physics of some sort, they would also have had quite a few upper level classes in other subjects such as literature, biology, scientific method, history, etc.

The education systems most likely to produce "experts" with lots of knowledge in one area and little in most others are the vocational-technical systems because they take people out of the broad educational programs and focus them down to just what they need to in order to do whatever kind of job they are training people to do.

The plain fact is that many "intellectuals" do indeed know a fair amount about other issues. They are frequently avid readers and self-educate themselves about many other areas simply because they are curious about the world around them. One of the things a higher education does is teach people how to teach themselves. It's just how it works. And being jealous of them for whatever reason doesn't change that on average, intellectuals do in fact know quite a bit about lots of different things.

I think the biggest prejudice against so-called "intellectuals" has been waged by the "intelligent design" morons just because most "intellectuals" think intelligent design is utter crap. I'll go out on a limb here, MikeRT, and guess that you are religious and possibly even an intelligent design proponent and that is why you are so anti-intellectual. This is just a guess but it does seem to fit in with your tirade against anyone who is "intellectual".

The internet is already in athoritarian hands (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693478)

Take a look at a map of it sometime, it's now heirarchical, it isn't a web any more and hasn't been for years. This is down to ISP control of routing, peering arrangements.

The heirarchical control of IP addressing and routing leads to heirarchical control of the whole Internet; a naturally authoritarian system.

 

One has to wonder (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693480)

just what kind of porn "self policing communities" will produce?

Anarchism (4, Informative)

sohp (22984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693508)

Zittrain lost me on his own misuse of the word anarchist. Politically, an anarchist is someone who simply rejects a society controlled by a coercive state. This, of course, is exactly what his 'communitarian corner' supports. His taxonomy distorts the debate by relying on the pejorative use of anarchy as a term for moral and political disorder.

Re:Anarchism (4, Insightful)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693736)

Do not underestimate the number of people who think of "anarchists" as those bomb-throwing, window-shattering, break-into-your-house-and-poop-on-the-carpet kinds of people. I would guess Zittrain was using the term with that in mind.

Just like real life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693532)

"Forces of organized interests that do not play by the rules, like malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers are allowing another army of interests -- corporate protectionists, often -- to demand centralized, authoritarian solutions. This is the future of the Net unless we stop it.'"

Internet is just like "real life"... and we all know, that even centralized, authoritarian solutions could not eliminate "real life" crime, corruption, etc. How could "we" stop it?

In fact, malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers are relatively less dangerous - they can't kill people for example.
Internet crime is nothing else, but applying "regular" crime to a new environment, using different technologies, methods. But the underlying motive is pretty much the same as most of the good old "real crime": making money.

Internet has become a basic infrastructure of society, it can't be closed down, just like other "real venues", where crime is taking place.
 

Not to be a complete arse, but... (-1, Offtopic)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693582)

Jonathan Zittrain. Jonathan Zit Train.

I can't be the only person whose speed-reading eyes stumble over themselves every time I see that fellow's family name?

Re:Not to be a complete arse, but... (1)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693744)

Jonathan Zittrain. Jonathan Zit Train.
Are you sure it's not Zit Rain?

(Cue The Weathergirls...)

Think I've heard that before (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693602)

Basically, we have to give up our freedoms to preserve our freedoms, right?

Slashdot spam solution template (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693672)

My first attempt at doing this, please feel free to ammend/critique:

Your post advocates a
( ) technical (X) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam (and malware). Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

(X) We have no idea wtf you are talking about
( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(X) People need to understand your idea in order to incorporate it
( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
( ) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) You are an incoherent hack
( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

May I be the first to say... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693678)

Forces of organized interests that do not play by the rules, like malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers
Sorry to re-state something what has been said and said again on this site but most of these groups (well, except spammers) would not exist if Microsoft programmers were doing their jobs right. It would not exist if the most installed OS had a sane security policy. Blaming internet on these things is exactly like blaming the post office for receiving death threats or spam.

It is an inevitable consequence of a good communication networks allowing anyone to connect.

March of the Pundits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22693680)

Elitist governance by groups with narrow self interests has already ruined newspapers and television. Do we really need to hand the reigns of the internet over to the punditocracy as well?

With almost no tweaks at all... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693688)

"Forces of organized interests that do not play by the rules, like malware peddlers, identity thieves and spammers are allowing another army of interests corporate protectionists, often to demand centralized, authoritarian solutions. This is the future of the Net unless we stop it.'"

With almost no tweaks at all, you can say exactly the same thing about fraudsters, con men and fly-by-night businesses in the real world. There's no more reason to make Internet some kind of centralized, authoritarian regime than there is to make the US a neo-fascist state. At least from where I'm standing, they are less of a problem now than what they used to be. Free software is more mature and so less need to download random garbage, with firewall in XP and phising filters in IE7 and whatnot people are more secure than they were 5 years ago and the spammers have been very uncreative and nothing more than a nuisance in my inbox.

i don't see anything like this distopia in any of the people i talk with, even though many of them are hardly skilled computer users. The only people running around with "the sky is falling" tendencies are those trying to restrict the flow of information. because as security improves they get less and less ability to snoop at what other people are doing. And those are bound to lose, because soon bandwidth will be at such levels that P2P with random peers is unnecessary. I know Bob, Bob doesn't have what I want but he knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone and they'll all route it so the only connection I have is with Bob, basicly the old "friends of friends" network over the Internet. There's no way to win without banning all private communication.

Genie out of the bottle (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693698)

Dude, ever see Usenet? Use a private P2P network? IRC? Meet some guy on a MUD who had a private SFTP server running on a non-standard port ?

There's so much unregulatable content and traffic going on - just because Joe-AOL and Mommy-MSN have to suffer a corporatized,spam-ridden Internet, doesn't mean that everyone has to.

Libertarians are NOT "anarchists"! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693806)

By lumping Libertarians with Anarchists, Zittrain shows just how completely clueless he is. I am tempted to ignore the guy, except that he is looking like a dangerous Communist to me (as someone else has already stated).

Re:Libertarians are NOT "anarchists"! (3, Informative)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693980)

Oh, come on! He's not saying that Libertarians = Anarchists, but that they have a similar place on the top-down/bottom-down and Hierarchical/Polyarchical system which he is using to analyse this issue. The types of Libertarians he's talking about are specifically those who live their cyber-lives outside communities. Some FOSS developers, for example, who prefer not to be associated with particular projects or communities. He's not saying that "quadrant" in his model is necessarily a bad thing, but that it doesn't have the same power as the communitarian model to help resist the shutting down of the internet by top-down governmental regulation.

If you read TFA, you might see the author's final comments on communitarianism - that it is a model which is built more on micro-institutions than hippy communes. This isn't a communist model, but one which asks for community expertise to be allowed to police net freedom rather than a totalising imposition of "solutions" from above.

It remains an endpoint problem. In Windows. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22693808)

It's worth realizing that we've solved most of the problems with hostile sites on the Internet other than ones that involve Windows zombies. Nobody is spamming from an identifiable source any more; that gets spammers turned off fast, or arrested. Spamming is now done using Windows zombies.

Hosting of scams tends to involve Windows zombies or server break-ins. We track this on our "Major domains being exploited by active phishing scams" [sitetruth.com] list. Notice that almost all the sites with multiple exploits listed are services that provide DSL connectivity. The single-exploit sites are usually break-ins. Most of the open redirectors have been fixed, so that hole has mostly been closed.

The malware problem is, again, an endpoint problem, with programs given all the privileges of the user running them. Again, that's mostly a Windows problem. (Not that Linux is fundamentally better. Installs still typically have to be run as root. Few will run under a restrictive Secure Linux profile.) Of course, when Microsoft tightens things up, as they did minimally in Vista, people scream that their insecure apps won't run. Fixing the problem requires a clean start, like the OLPC [olpc.com] . If the OLPC technology gets some traction at the high school, college, and road warrior level, we might have a way out of the current mess.

Once we get past outright criminality, we're faced with the "bottom-feeders" - the Made for Adwords sites, the "landing pages", the directory sites, the typosquatting sites, the domain parks, and similar annoying dreck. We're doing our bit to choke that off [sitetruth.com] . If you're willing to lump the bottom-feeders together with the crooks, it's easier to separate them from the sites with some degree of legitimacy.

Most of the bottom-feeders get their revenue from Google's advertisers, via Google. Google is starting to do something about this with "landing page quality measurement" [google.com] . Their standards are very low, though, judging by what's still showing up in AdWords ads. (We have a free Firefox browser extension [sitetruth.com] that rates AdWords advertisers, so we have a way to look at this. Advertiser quality varies drastically by site: advertisers on Bloomberg look legit, LinkedIn, mostly OK, Myspace, mostly bottom-feeders.)

There's a basic question here - how much of Google's revenue comes from bottom-feeders? Google recently tightened up their landing page standards, and Google's revenue dropped for the first time ever. Can Google still afford "don't be evil"? We'll find out this year.

All of these things are endpoint problems. Down at the IP level, we're doing OK.

Is that like self-policing medical industry eXPERT (1)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22694002)

Is that like self-policing medical industry that has us treating the symptoms of disease, creating long term revenue flows rather than promoting the information to end the cause of disease?

Or what about the Self policing banking industry and the current situation? A group that privately owns and controls the symbol we use to represent value?

An expert is someone who has thoroughly researched the topical material regarding a particular area. This means anyone can become an expert on a subject if they invest the time. WE all now have access to most of the same data and research.

Who certifies an expert? There is no process right now other than popular opinion.

Genius is not born of conformity or alignment with the status quo.

and the politicization of science results in pseudo science

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