The increase in Big Tech’s censorship offensive after what happened on January 6th in Washington’s Capitol has not only focused on the worrisome interest of those of us who, from different fields, are fighting the necessary countercultural and counterrevolutionary battle.
Certain prestigious personalities in the technological field have also given their opinion on the future of the network of networks. Perhaps they “have not made a political pronouncement”, but it is not so much the form as the substance of the issue that is of interest here, from a more professional and technical point of view.
Tim Berners-Lee is a computer engineer whose most outstanding contribution was the World Wide Web (access to and use of the Internet as we know it), developing the first web page (and thus inventing the first Internet service), the first web browser and the first HTTP server. In a recent interview, he emphasized the importance of decentralizing the web and “recovering the power” that certain forces to be considered as centralizing hold at this time. He considers that in this, Big Tech (Google, Twitter, Amazon and Facebook inter alia) are all in play.
At the same time, he advises that individuals could take control of their own data. Along these lines he is working on a web platform with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), called Solid. It woill combine calendars, chats and multimedia content, but without any kind of external dependency.
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With this, the Internet user, benefiting from a container called pod (this concept is very familiar from the containers of the container management platform in the cloud known as Kubernetes), would have a factual insurance of his privacy.
In any case, the important thing is that a celebrity of his level would have already opened, in the most apolitical of spheres, the debate in favor of a more advanced decentralization, which would be in line with the very essence of dispersion and distribution of the network of networks.
In recent weeks, movements have been developing in the technological spheres that are shaping new concepts of alternative service offerings such as those of Web 2.0 which are already worrying the Big Tech.
Open code worries Google
While it is true that more than five years ago, corporations such as Microsoft began to relax their reluctance to open source (encouraging “integration” with Linux and Unix was proof of this) and that some of Google’s software emanated from non-proprietary kernels, it seems that concerns are now coming into view.
Various concerns about privacy and the escalating restriction of access to any content that does not support the “official truth” of the Progressive consensus have led many not only to look for alternatives in social media, but also in the way to surf the Internet as well as taking a look at the operating system environment.
Certainly, Android is one of the most used operating systems on smartphones while, according to StatCounter Globalstats, the market share of Google Chrome browser is over 60%, across all platforms (desktops, tablets and smartphones).
Many are happy with the user-friendliness of Chrome’s interface as well as its relatively high performance (they also appreciate that it is cross-platform). In fact, let’s not forget that by the mere decision of many users, Microsoft’s solutions fell (something that Mozilla and Opera had not achieved before).
Therefore, it would be a bit lazy to separate from these services (apart from the compatibility with many apps that are not yet within the paradigm of Progressive Web Apps, not native at all). Therefore, alternatives that are not very well known, but not groundbreaking, are being considered.
There are UNIX-based mobile operating systems that facilitate the compatibility of apps developed for Android, such as GrapheneOS (there is also a program to run them on Ubuntu Mobile, a solution that is somewhat better known as it is the sister of the most important Linux desktop distro).
Simultaneously, Google Chrome is based on an open project called Chromium, the essence of which the Mountain View company has been trying to do away with in recent weeks by restricting access to certain programming interfaces of Google service applications that are still popular (e.g. Maps).
Open unlimited alternatives to social media
Surprisingly and positively, the blockchain (that technological infrastructure that not only serves to support cryptocurrencies, but which stands out to benefit several areas due to its distributed and decentralized essence that does not depend on centralized points but rather on dispersed nodes) is coming into play.
One of the alternatives to consider in the face of YouTube’s “official truth” policies is LBRY, a platform where both audiovisual and digital bibliographic content can be distributed. This open source platform, supported by its own cryptocurrency, works in a similar way as P2P networks, with no political standardization whatsoever.
But there are also alternative email services to Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and Yahoo that cannot be enabled (as we all know) on a home hosting, but encrypt messages asymmetrically, taking advantage of the dispersion of blockchains.
In fact, the HTTP/HTTPS protocol could face a new competitor, which would be the one on which the Brave browser’s operation would be based. With this protocol, the user would not make GET requests addressed to central servers at a specific point, but to a network of distributed nodes that would reduce costs, based on proximity criteria.
Technology and time are playing against centralized management and planning
For the umpteenth time, it is worth remembering that open source has an essence comparable to philosophies such as libertarianism and anarcho-traditionalism (with no intention of ideologizing or playing politics), due to the self-organization of dispersed groups when it comes to maintaining or improving certain solutions.
At the same time, it opposes so-called “intellectual property,” which is nothing more than a new form of protectionism, which shields certain corporations from market competition that may arise from other entrepreneurs who have a better idea for a service to serve society.
That said, the essence of the Internet makes everything easier for developers seeking to meet the demands of certain niches, but it also demolishes the myth that technology always works to the benefit of socialism (albeit in the “Chinese form”). Statism, and its allied arm of Big Tech, are endangered even by open source.
Angel Manuel García Carmona is a software engineer – Web developer