The death of the internet: what we will do to fix it

June 12th, 2008

If Internet 2 comes about as everyone fears it might, how can we respond to its built in restrictions? What can we do to maintain the current openness of the internet we know and love so that anyone can have a site, publish what they like on it and make it available to anyone, anywhere for free?

Lets take a look.

The threat:

ISP’s have resolved to restrict the Internet to a TV-like subscription model where users will be forced to pay to visit selected corporate websites by 2012, while others will be blocked, according to a leaked report. Despite some people dismissing the story as a hoax, the wider plan to kill the traditional Internet and replace it with a regulated and controlled Internet 2 is manifestly provable.

“Bell Canada and TELUS (formerly owned by Verizon) employees officially confirm that by 2012 ISP’s all over the globe will reduce Internet access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every other site you visit. These ‘other’ sites would then lose all their exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as the end of the Internet,” warns a report that People have raised questions about the report’s accuracy because the claims are not backed by another source, only the “promise” that a Time Magazine report is set to confirm the rumor. Until such a report emerges many have reserved judgment or outright dismissed the story as a hoax.

What is documented, as the story underscores, is the fact that TELUS’ wireless web package allows only restricted pay-per-view access to a selection of corporate and news websites. This is the model that the post-2012 Internet would be based on.

People have noted that the authors of the video seem to be more concerned about getting people to subscribe to their You Tube account than fighting for net neutrality by prominently featuring an attractive woman who isn’t shy about showing her cleavage. The vast majority of the other You Tube videos hosted on the same account consist of bizarre avante-garde satire skits on behalf of the same people featured in the Internet freedom clip. This has prompted many to suspect that the Internet story is merely a stunt to draw attention to the group.

Whether the report is accurate or merely a crude hoax, there is a very real agenda to restrict, regulate and suffocate the free use of the Internet and we have been documenting its progression for years.

The first steps in a move to charge for every e mail sent have already been taken. Under the pretext of eliminating spam, Bill Gates and other industry chieftains have proposed Internet users buy credit stamps which denote how many e mails they will be able to send. This of course is the death knell for political newsletters and mailing lists.

The New York Times reported that “America Online and Yahoo, two of the world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.”

The first wave will simply attempt to price people out of using the conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an FCC or government bureau to set up a website.

The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported in 2006 that, “Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets–corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers–would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.”

Over the past few years, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the Internet and further lead it down a path of strict control has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs:

  • Time magazine reported last year that researchers funded by the federal government want to shut down the internet and start over, citing the fact that at the moment there are loopholes in the system whereby users cannot be tracked and traced all the time.
  • The projects echo moves we have previously reported on to clamp down on internet neutrality and even to designate a new form of the internet known as Internet 2.

  • In a display of bi-partisanship, there have recently been calls for all out mandatory ISP snooping on all US citizens by both Democrats and Republicans alike.
  • The White House’s own recently de-classified strategy for “winning the war on terror” targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to “diminish” their influence.
  • The Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.
  • In a speech last October, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a “terror training camp,” through which “disaffected people living in the United States” are developing “radical ideologies and potentially violent skills.” His solution is “intelligence fusion centers,” staffed by Homeland Security personnel which will go into operation next year.
  • The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress. Criminal charges including a possible jail term of up to one year could be the punishment for non-compliance.
  • A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web – and their argument is supported by the U.S. government.
  • A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.
  • The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down “terrorists” who use the Internet to spread propaganda.
  • The EU data retention bill, passed last year after much controversy and with implementation tabled for late 2007, obliges telephone operators and internet service providers to store information on who called who and who emailed who for at least six months. Under this law, investigators in any EU country, and most bizarrely even in the US, can access EU citizens’ data on phone calls, SMS messages, emails and instant messaging services.
  • The EU also recently proposed legislation that would prevent users from uploading any form of video without a license.
  • The US government is also funding research into social networking sites and how to gather and store personal data published on them, according to the New Scientist magazine. “At the same time, US lawmakers are attempting to force the social networking sites themselves to control the amount and kind of information that people, particularly children, can put on the sites.”

The development of a new form of internet with new regulations is also designed to create an online caste system whereby the old internet hubs would be allowed to break down and die, forcing people to use the new taxable, censored and regulated world wide web.

Make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outposts of free speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who cannot operate within a society where information flows freely and unhindered. Both American and European moves mimic stories we hear every week out of state controlled Communist China, where the internet is strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the rest of the web.

The Internet is freedom’s best friend and the bane of control freaks. Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to centralize power and subjugate their populations under tyranny by eliminating the right to protest and educate others by the forum of the free world wide web.

has spread like wildfire across the web over the last few days.

The article, which is accompanied by a You Tube clip, states that Time Magazine writer “Dylan Pattyn” has confirmed the information and is about to release a story – and that the move to effectively shut down the web could come as soon as 2010.


The answer to this comes from the time before the internet was in every house; the era of the ‘BBS‘ or ‘Bulletin board system’.

If you are old enough to know about dialing up Bulletin Board Systems, you will understand how the way out of Internet 2 will work. For those of you who never used a BBS, or heard of a BBS, it was the way people connected to each other (mostly email) before ‘teh internetz’.

Bulletin Board Systems worked over very slow modems and computers that were, by today’s standards, beyond a joke. Mobile phones of today have more storage space, display resolution, bandwidth and processor power than the machines that ran BBSes. Many of the software clients ran in DOS, it cost you money every time you wanted to get your mail because you had to dial a land line telephone number to connect to someone else’s desktop computer to collect your messages, which you read in an ‘offline news reader‘ like BlueWave. The computers running the news and mail networks were mostly privately owned, run in peoples houses on ordinary telephone lines. The storage these computers had was literally tiny by today’s standards; the biggest BBSes had a few tens of gigabytes of storage.

Most of the mail traffic on these systems was text. Because people had to dial up over telephone lines, sending images or large files in the mail system Fidonet was strictly forbidden; you were paying by the minute to get your mail and news, modems were very slow, averaging 2400 baud, so bandwidth had to be used efficiently. Contrast that to today, where you have always on, unlimited, high speed bandwidth.

Despite all of these restrictions, small storage, low bandwidth, high cost of connecting, computers that were hard to use, the BBS explosion caused a revolution and spawned a huge culture that even gave rise to its own forms of art. I downloaded the first version of PGP from a BBS in the USA, and so many other things…the Black Dog used to run a BBS called ‘Black Dog Towers’; I learned all of my early modern PC skills from Ken Downie…but that is another story!

The point is that BBSes were hard to create and maintain and difficult to access. Despite those difficulties a distinct and vibrant culture was created that lasted many years and touched many lives. Make no mistake; this is about culture, and who controls it.

Today, all households have computers that are more powerful than any computer that ran a BBS by orders of magnitude. The modems we have today are fast enough to transfer 24meg in a second over a copper wire. We have the means to telephone each other and leave the ‘phone off the hook’ indefinitely without incurring a by the minute charge. Software developers now have modern languages (PHP/Ruby) to develop essentially anything they can imagine. We have free operating systems (GNU/Linux) that are as sophisticated as proprietary operating systems, that are so easy to use that my 70 year old aunt can use them with no problems whatsoever. We have a pool of content creators numbering in the hundreds of millions, who are eager to write blogs, post comments on forums and do everything that the old media has seen and experienced as a direct threat to their business models, prestige and influence.

With all of these pieces in place it will be literally impossible to put the genie of internet freedom back into the bottle. When all of these very potent pieces are brought together we will be able to create a system that will circumvent the censorship of Internet 2 at a scale and with an efficiency that would make the sysops of the BBS era spontaneously combust.

We will see the birth of ‘Internet 3’ where literally hundreds of millions of personal computers will be networked together into a system that cannot be stopped without shutting down the entire world-wide telephone network. This new, permanently free internet will take the place of the old internet, discredit the legitimacy of the corporate controlled Internet 2 and ensure that freedom of the electrons is a feature of our lives for generations to come.

Of course, as our future devices become more powerful and more connected, Internet 3 will grow in power as a consequence, further cementing its pre-eminent position. There will be other consequences too. People will figure out how to make money on Internet 3, and they like Mark Shuttleworth who created the fantastically powerful and popular Ubuntu will put their billions into making the system more robust and useful. In fact, the Ubuntu story is a perfect example of how Internet 3 will come about; Shuttleworth took Debian Gnu/Linux and used it as the basis for a Linux distribution that anyone can use. In a short space of time, it has become the best Linux distribution out there, so much so, that Dell is now offering it pre-installed on its computers. Ubuntu solves the ‘proprietary Operating System problem’, the ‘Linux is not ready for the desktop problem’, and the ‘Windows Tax problem’ Superimpose this wild success and the way it was done on our ‘Internet 2 problem’, and you can begin to see how not only it can be solved, but how much success we can expect.

What would the Internet 3 user experience look like? Who knows? But at a minimum, it could work in the following way.

Users could interface with it via an application that resembles a modern browser that sits on top of your network connection, transparently peering with other users, managing bandwidth (if needed), giving you what you want while facilitating other people in getting what they want. Think of it as a very advanced browser sitting on top of a next generation Bittorrent client.

Such a piece of software, or its vastly superior decedents, and other myriad software clients that are bound to be created, would be impossible to stop, especially if everyone is using a GNU/Linux distribution, where policies of what software can or cannot be run is not under the control of a proprietary and predatory operating system vendor like Microsoft. You should read about how Trusted Computing can control what you can and cannot do with your own computer. If the lusers of this world continue to use Windows and its variants, the day will come where the state can forbid a certain piece of software from being executable on any computer and all it will take is an update from MS to kill, say, Bittorrent or its descendent. Free operating systems will be immune from this sort of control. But I digress.

We can very quickly build a world-wide, unstoppable, robust private network that will keep information absolutely free. We have the tools to do it, we have had sufficient warning, we have developers to hand, the will, the users and the software tools and hardware to make it happen.

It will happen.

Your job is to maintain and increase your computer literacy, switch to GNU/Linux and be ready to do whatever you need to do help make Internet 3 happen.

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