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We won’t have a decentralized Internet, and it’s your fault

Well possibly it’s not your own fault (you’re here, after all), but it’s most people’s fault. Here’s is why

1) People are lazy

Maintaining a contact book with names and e-mails? That’s so 2010! With half the internet population on Facebook, or on a few other social networks each more populated than a couple of continents, almost all your contacts are in your “apps”, with name and picture. So convenient. And those who aren’t there? Well you just don’t bother talking to them much, peer-pressuring them into becoming part of the Big Data horde.

2) People crave censorship

Seriously, they do. Of course, they don’t like to be censored themselves. But they love censoring contents they don’t like. They can’t imagine not censoring contents they don’t like.
A few months ago, I went to a presentation (well, it was more of a workshop actually) about ZeroNet. One of the first question from the (small and select) audience was “Can I block contents?”. Not as in “can I hide it from my view?”, but as in “can I prevent my node – if not the network – from spreading it?”. By the way, ZeroNet makes this possible (and actually really trivial and accessible) so if you’re committed to content-neutrality you’ll want to prefer things like Tor and Freenet.

And the “problem” with a decentralized Internet is that you can’t censor it. So people just won’t support it: as soon as they see something they don’t like and that they can’t get removed, they run back to Big Tech, which can trivially be bullied into removing anything deemed too insufficiently politically correct (if they don’t just do it by themselves before anyone asks them to)

3) People cheer for monopolies

Well, not monopolies, but quasi-monopolies or ultra-dominant actors. Which is pretty much the same, apart from the fact that it provides the “it’s not a monopoly” defense, in addition to “it’s okay as long as it’s cheap” (where the dollar-equivalent value of privacy is zero). They want to use a service that all their friends already use, making it a nightmare for new actors to pop up, and an even worse nightmare for companies to remain mid-sized: either you take all the market, or you get just a few customers who are only here because they care about diversity (and who likely won’t be numerous enough to make the business sustainable).

NB: Just stumbled on this old draft and figured I’ll never really finish it, so here it is, as is

Posted in privacy.

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