The free and open internet (henceforth referred to as the “open internet”) is a vast wasteland of unused car websites, powerwashing websites and more, but mostly, social media, videos and porn. Because humans like talking to other humans, and humans like watching other humans. This is the fundamental thesis of the public internet. Private internet would probably be a lot faster with lower trust assumptions and industries would thrive using it. Despite that, we don’t do private internet – we do open internet.
An open internet refers to a digital ecosystem that promotes accessibility, collaboration, and innovation without unnecessary restrictions or central control. I propose, here are the pillars of an open internet.
- Open Standards and Protocols: An open internet relies on openly available and standardized communication protocols, such as HTTP, SMTP, and TCP/IP. Open standards ensure interoperability among different devices and services, enabling seamless communication and data exchange. Apple has tried to control the RCS stack, which it has been more or less successful at, unfortunately.
- Decentralization of Communication Protocols: On an open internet, you cannot be blocked from communicating with a person with access to the open internet. The general concept idea of sufficient decentralisation, but applied to the entire internet stack. That means from the first layer to the last, of the network stack, you’re not being controlled beyond reason. The US consti
- Open Source Software: Compute, or general creative resources, can be paywalled, but the tools and software should at the very least have an open source and free alternative. Monetisation is not evil, but open source is built by community, and should either compensate contributors or be freely available for install. Open source is also easier to audit thus easier to trust. OTOH, users, if in position to help, should try their best compensate free software (yes, even if they’re monetised, but not if they’re big corp). Uniswap allows for contributor PRs, but doesn’t have an open license that allows changes, only verbatim copy – this is not good and poor ethics.
- Net Neutrality: Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally, without discriminating or prioritizing certain content, websites, or services over others. This ensures a level playing field and prevents ISPs from controlling or restricting access to specific online resources. Facebook's (”Meta”) net neutrality was criticized for "Free Basics," favoring its services, potentially creating a tiered internet, and limiting competition and diversity of content.
- User Privacy and Data Protection: Preserving user privacy and safeguarding personal data are vital aspects of an open internet. Strong data protection regulations and user consent mechanisms help maintain trust in online services. Websites should be compliant with best possible security standards, have security guidelines in place and regularly have audits.
- Accessibility and Inclusivity: An open internet should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities or location. Efforts to bridge the digital divide and ensure accessibility for people with disabilities contribute to an open and inclusive internet. The Great Wall of China is one example, and Websites not being WCAG is another example.
- Competition and Innovation: Promoting competition and supporting innovative services and applications drive the evolution of the internet. Avoiding monopolistic practices encourages diverse offerings and better services for users.
These components collectively contribute to the open and free nature of the internet, fostering an environment where creativity, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas can flourish. Open standards are like the universal language of the internet. They make sure different gadgets, apps, and websites can talk to each other and play nice together. Bad actors ruin the mood, and you don’t want you fucking rood muined.