Net Neutrality and Decentralisation

The recent decision by the current US President’s Administration to shred and throw net neutrality in the USA to the four winds has been widely criticised and is a direct threat to the democratisation of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Remember the early days of AOL, with it’s “sandbox” version of the Web? The US is heading back to those days unless net neutrality can be rescued and reinforced. Everyone will get just a few different sandboxes to play with.

The Internet has Flaws

The fact that a single act by a government can threaten the internet in such a way actually demonstrates two fundamental flaws in its infrastructure

  1. The Internet delivers the World Wide Web to everyone via the physical infrastructure that a few large companies own. These are the cables, satellites and mobile (cell) towers that pipe the internet into your device. With net neutrality going away, those companies can shape the web into whatever form they wish. They will be deciding for you what you should be getting access to, and either charging you high prices to see “unapproved” content or not giving you access at all.
  2. Important parts of the internet (and indeed the World Wide Web) are actually centralised. This was not the original vision for the Internet. It was originally imagined to become a vast network based on peer-to-peer protocols, with very little reliance on centralised infrastructure. It did not quite work out that way.

The following is an article from IT Pro Portal, written by a representative of Mimik Techonlogy Inc. They are attempting to tackle the 2nd flaw. The only way to prevent the exploitation of the 1st flaw is to stop the scrapping of net neutrality. Shout, write, post and protest, sign petitions, and vote for candidates that want to preserve net neutrality.

DISCLAIMER: I have no association with either IT Pro Portal or Mimik Technoolgy Inc. Nor am I saying Mimik is the progenitor of the concept of decentralising the internet, or that they are the company that can get it done. Only that somebody should.

Decentralization is the future of the Internet

“Without net neutrality, ISPs can restructure how the Internet works. They will practically own the internet by controlling the applications and content that run over their networks.

Decentralization is the future of the Internet

“The recent FCC ruling will completely change the way individuals and businesses in the US access the Internet…It is alarming that the FCC has decided to approve a policy that hampers progress and economic opportunity and grants too much control over the internet to a few large corporations. We must fight to restore net neutrality.”

“We need to rethink how devices communicate data over the internet. In addition to securing net neutrality, we need to move towards a decentralized cloud computing architecture where every device can be a cloud server. Today, our devices connect to central cloud, which hosts most of the applications we use. Devices generally communicate with each other through the central cloud. We need to evolve to an architecture that leverages all our computing devices including devices that we own and control to form the future cloud fabric.”

Freedom Journey Hub Comment

Net neutrality - Depiction of a decentralised networkThere’s no doubt that the current US administration’s decision to remove net-neutrality has exposed the freedom of the internet to the potential for throttling your experience and the ability to make your voice equal to anyone else’s.

If you are in the US, make sure your voice is heard on this subject, whilst you are still free to do so.

If you are in the UK, watch out for Brexit. There is no guarantee that the current robust EU rules on net neutrality will survive that process, and there are many UK ISP’s that would love to see the end of net neutrality.

Mobile providers are already performing throttling but in a different way.

You must have come across those packages where you can get “free” passes for certain services, such as iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video etc?

These are being provided by carriers such as EE, Virgin and Vodafone. It means that if you have one of those packages, usage of those services is not counted against your data allowance. But other services would be.

In effect, they are making you pay for some services, but not for the ones they have hand-picked. They are choosing your experience for you, and damaging competition at the same time.

So whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver, you must be vociferous about any attempt to remove net neutrality after we leave the EU. You can safely bet that the big UK ISP’s will be lobbying government for the removal of net neutrality at the first opportunity they see.

There would be fierce opposition to any such move, but this government’s track record at listening to fierce opposition means there is no room for complacency here, whichever side of the Brexit fence you are on, or on the left or right.

If you want to read more about the potential effects on the UK’s net neutrality post-Brexit, read this excellent article from the Huffington Post.

“The main enemies of net neutrality, are ISP greed, and bandwidth scarcity: it’s all about charging and rationing bandwidth.”

“That’s why mobile providers (building expensive infrastructure) and fixed line ISPs (using outdated equipment that can’t give you speeds you want) are both quite keen on getting rid of net neutrality.”

– Spokesperson for Open Rights Group

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Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm is set to change

Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm changes are nothing new. But we are in for another change soon.

The following is from a report by The Independent:

“Facebook is changing its newsfeed algorithm. Now you will see less posts from organisations or celebrities.”

“There will be fewer posts from brands, pages and media companies and more from people. There will also be fewer videos, which Facebook considers “passive.”

“That’s because even if people read such content on Facebook, they don’t necessarily comment or interact with it in other ways.”

“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post Thursday.”

“The move will not affect advertisements — users will continue to see the same ads they have before, “meaningful” or not. But businesses that use Facebook to connect with their customers without paying for ads will also feel the pain“.

– Independent, 1st Jan 2018

Emphasis in the last sentence has been added

Freedom Journey Hub Comment

Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm - Depiction of social interaction and physical contactI am a little concerned about this.

I follow a number of alternative news channels that have struggled with changes to the newsfeed in the past. These news channels are often one or two-person operations that display ads on their own channels. They do not have the resources to place ads on a regular basis. If their posts start disappearing from my feed, I will not be happy. And neither will they.

Facebook has been often criticised for helping to destroy normal social interaction. And there is evidence that, in general, heavy use of social media can have negative outcomes. I don’t dispute this, as I know it to be true. However, the negative impact is a result of how one uses social media.

If Facebook wants us to have “meaningful” interactions with or about people we care about, then this hammer-to-crack-a-nut approach is a case of Facebook (and those who put pressure on them) deciding what is best for us.

I most certainly do interact meaningfully with my alternative news channels, as behind these channels are oftentimes just a person. A person who has revealed many things about themselves, and whom I have come to care about.

How about measuring our level and tone of interaction with posts instead, rather than making it about People vs. Everything Else?
When this change comes through as it has been reported, your Facebook world is going to shrink.

So let us hope that the reports are missing out all the finesse.

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Mobile First

If you weren’t aware of the increasing adoption of mobile devices as the primary computer people interact with, you should be. This trend should be informing your business approach to the utilisation of technology, and most definitely should be the main focus of your marketing efforts.

Buisness Matters Magazine has reported the following:

‘Mobile-First’ Apps are the Future of Enterprise

“Their latest report, November 2017 as of writing, showed that Android was now the primary OS used by nearly 40 per cent of businesses and it is currently on the rise. Windows, on the other hand, have dropped down to 36.07 per cent and both are miles ahead of other well-known operating systems like iOS and Linux…
Mobile and smartphones are on the rise in the office and the desktop computer is now on the decline…. Desktops will not be completely abandoned of course, but with this change in dominance, it now makes more sense to have a ‘mobile-first’ strategy instead. Focus on mobile OS’ like Android and iOS as the lead platforms and then port to desktop later.”

– Business Matters Magazine, 12th Jan 2018

Freedom Journey Hub Comment

Net Neutrality etc - Depiction of a mobile phone on a car seatWhat does this mean for you? Well, if you are already focussing your efforts on publishing your content and advertising in a mobile optimised way, you are already following the trend. If you are not, then you had best get started!

What more is there to say?

There will be more next week, but until then, have a great weekend folks!

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