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<nettime> Regulating Facebook away: an actual proposal
carlo von lynX on Sat, 27 Jun 2015 23:50:09 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Regulating Facebook away: an actual proposal

Hands up who in this room thinks of Social Networking as an
existential infrastructure rather than as a commercial service?

I can imagine Anglosaxons having a hard time seeing things in that
way, given how they accept tap water being some company's product,
but for the continentals among us many should be willing to make
the necessary bold statement to say...

- You can sell products over the net, but the net is not the product.
- You can do business over social networking, but the network itself
  belongs to the people in it.

Easily said and not so easily put into practice?
Actually, there is a way.

What it takes is legislation that forbids companies from accessing
any conversations between people - be it "mail" or "social networking"
(the distinction is just reach and presentation). If Facebook is not
one of the intended recipients, they must not be able to read into
any communication.

It's actually essential for the preservation of our democratic order,
but let's skip that aspect for now.

Since there is no way to guarantee end-to-end cryptography using the
web know, a new distributed cryptographic technology (the web we want
maybe) needs to be deployed. Luckily, prototypes of that kind exist.
Even plans for distributed social networking platforms.

A legislator who likes to stop corporations from filling a role that
should be provided by public infrastructure needs to foster suitable 
technology. Luckily all the device manufacturers and telecoms have
an interest in selling phones, tablets and computers. If the
availability of a free software distributed social network is part
of the legal requirements, they are incentivised to swiftly form a
consortium intended to complete the ongoing work in creating a new
Internet communications stack that guarantees end-to-end privacy
and metadata protection. And the legislator can even specify precisely
who, when and how that consortium is made and who gets to exercise
control over it. And the legislator could be us.

So now we no longer wait for the tech people to come up with something
as that may be like waiting for Godot.

We activate political organisations, the media and the average people
to strain their voices and say they want, need and deserve a secure
Internet that maintains their privacy.. and they know how to get it.
By pushing that law. And the technology will follow.

A proposal along these lines is being written at

Interested in a session at the Chaos Com. Camp on this topic?

  E-mail is public! Talk to me in private using encryption:

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