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Re: <nettime> "Too bad your great ideas will never work."
Felix Stalder on Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:13:28 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> "Too bad your great ideas will never work."



On 2017-09-14 08:33, Morlock Elloi wrote:
> The Internet did give us what majority always wanted - uniform
> enforcement of sub-mediocrity and conformity. Enjoy. Or run httpd. There
> is nothing in-between.


I'm not sure about this. There are lots of things in the middle, if you
leave the what-I-can-do-as-an-individual-perspective. One is called
regulation. That fact that social networks are virtual monopolies, or
better, a collection of walled gardens that make it as hard as possible
to climb the walls, is not what people wanted or was it in anyway
embedded in the technology (network-effect), but techno-politically
generated.

The more the FB and the rest manage to bring into their walled space
(eg. instant articles), the higher to costs of leaving will be for
anyone, no matter how much they might hate it, or be discriminated
against. It's how protocols as a source of power work.

Thus, the political answer should also be on that level. One relatively
straight-forward way would be to enforce interoperability in networks,
like the type that was designed into the early protocols, of smtp and http.

The tool would be anti-trust and competition laws, which were used in
the 1980s to break up telecom monopolies. Buzzfeed floated the idea a
few days ago that breaking up the internet monopolies might be a project
that the "radical left" and the "far right" (aka Sanders and Bannon)
might agree on.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/theres-blood-in-the-water-in-silicon-valley

Politically speaking, the US, this is wishful thinking, at least for the
foreseeable future. But still, it's out there and can be raised in
polite conversations.

As far as the EU is concerned, this is slightly less wishful, as their
is no European champion to protect. Unfortunately, there are also no
European upstarts that might profit from such a move, so it's not on the
table. But if the EU ever decided to do it, they would be the only
agency powerful enough to do it.

But I think it's really important not to forget that there is nothing
magical or deterministic, but good ol' corporate power.

Felix






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