The internet was once seen as a kind of wild west that would both increase our freedom and bring the world closer together. Alas, that was not to last. What we have seen over especially the last decade is the internet actually stifling our speech. In ye olden days people would have to actually talk to one another directly, either face to face or by phone. This meant that a private conversation could be had away from the prying eyes of the criminals – and they are criminals – in law enforcement. True, phones were not completely private but due to their direct nature and the relative unsophistication of surveillance technologies in most cases they could be considered as such (not to mention the laws in some countries, namely Britain, prohibited the police from using wire tapping evidence in court).
Why was all this privacy so great? Because it allowed free conversations, you could speak freely to someone without so much fear of repercussions. Bring on social media, in the new world if you speak to someone on facebook or twitter it’s quite likely to be part of a public chat, plenty of potential for public persecution, for employers to boycott you and for the police to use it against you in a court of law. Even if you message someone privately, facebook/twitter/the police hold a permanent copy of that message. If you cross a line they can arrest and prosecute you for it, or if the person you sent it to doesn’t like it they could publicly vilify you for it – with evidence.
Yes, people still meet face to face, but I think that frequency has dropped, with social media occupying more of peoples time and this makes those who have unPC thoughts more wary of expressing them. The other problem with social media is censorship. They get to decide if you are “pure” enough to be on their platform or not. If you say something unPC on facebook and their automated AI-algorithms pick it up, or some feminazi bitch complains, and your account gets deleted, and all your friends are on facebook then suddenly you could find yourself more likely to be excluded from your social circle, even for face to face meetings (as these are likely organised on facebook), and certainly you won’t be able to involve yourself in the social media conversations anymore. Not good!
So, bring on decentralisation of the internet! This is the future that could save humanity from the brink of collapse. I genuinely believe that the ideal scenario is a decentralised internet that has strong anonymity properties, offers competitive advantages over the existing internet (e.g. cost savings that encourage people to actually host sites on it) and is distributed in a way such that, there are no central servers and data cannot easily be lost or tampered with. The unPC truth is that such an internet would allow the proliferation of child pornography with absolutely no way for the police to stop it. If the public are forced to see images of horny teens who LOVE having sex then that is likely to begin to remove paedohysteria from the general public’s belief system. That, plus the freedom to be able to support abolishing the age of consent without being censored. Yeah I know when defending anonymity systems it’s customary to say “we need anonymity because russia/china/some other country that we don’t like and aren’t allied with doesn’t allow western feminists free speech to hate men” because of the fear that if we state the real reasons we need anonymity in the west our governments might ban anonymity but well, you know… Fuck it. I doubt what we say will make much difference to what they do – they probably haven’t banned it yet because the government have their own reasons for wanting it (the US government funds the Tor project for instance).
So without further ado, here’s a list of promising decentralised internet projects:
One project which meets all criteria, is Maidsafe a so far unreleased project that actually started before Bitcoin but encompasses it’s own cryptocurrency as well as being a distributed internet. Any data that is uploaded is encrypted and automatically distributed to several nodes on the internet in such a way as to avoid data loss. Data storage is paid for by cryptocurrency. It has its own browser and anyone can write a Maidsafe web site. It is designed to be anonymous and difficult to trace. Furthermore, your private data really is your private data. No one else can view it (unless you want them to).
The only downside is that it hasn’t been released and it could still be sometime (though they have been increasing their PR efforts) – it would be amazing if it actually gets released and people start using it though! If you like, you can invest in the project by buying a maid token (stored on the bitcoin blockchain) that can be swapped for maidsafe’s own cryptocurrency when it is released.
Zeronet actually works right now. It essentially allows you to browse websites that are, behind the scenes, served using BitTorrent technology. Even though it uses BitTorrent it supports features that allow updates and it is actually possible to create web forums using Zeronet (a place for our Male Sexualism forum perhaps?). Whilst not specifically designed for security it does also support Tor integration for anonymity. The downside is data is entirely unencrypted, so no private chat or private file store. Also websites are not guaranteed to stay up, they will only stay up while seeds are present. A visitor of a page will automatically seed the page when they download it, but if all the visitors and the original host goes offline (as is likely to happen with low traffic websites) then the website will be lost. I’m also slightly hazy on whether the site may still require the original host to be online for visitors to post updates to the site (e.g. forum posts).
SteemIt is another working technology that I have yet to try properly myself. It is a social media platform backed by a blockchain, and as far as I can ascertain messages are stored on the blockchain and it is not possible to censor what messages are stored there, though sites such as SteemIt may apply filters to the content. You can earn money for posting interesting content when users upvote you. Since each message sent is effectively like a bitcoin transaction as with bitcoin there would be the risk of needing transaction fees, however, since that would not work for a social network (who wants to pay £20 to send a message!?) instead the number of messages that users can send are throttled based on the amount of money in their account (or something like that). I don’t completely understand all the details but I think the end result of this is that to create an account anonymously you need to pay to open an account. However, it looks like if you aren’t anonymous then you don’t need to pay (I assume SteemIt have a secret stash of coins that they dish out to verified users, but I may be completely wrong as I couldn’t find much information).
One of my readers mentioned D.Tube recently. It is based around SteemIt but takes it further and allows distributed video uploading. If one were to store videos in the blockchain then that would not work so well (since disk space is a premium on the blockchain) so D.Tube integrates the SteemIt blockchain with IPFS which you can think of as a newer better BitTorrent. The SteemIt blockchain essentially just stores a “link” to the IPFS video. As I understand it, D.Tube are currently getting a third party to seed all uploaded videos, so there’s some potential for censorship in that they could stop paying that third party for certain unPC videos. I imagine the account creation process and associated issues are also similar to SteemIt.
Conclusion? I think Maidsafe is the best project if they actually pull it off, but it has not been released yet. Otherwise SteemIt and D.Tube are probably likely to reach the widest audiences right now since their websites are available on the public internet and they have put a lot of work into usability. However, there is a risk they could apply some filtering making it harder for producers of unPC content. It is also costly to create an anonymous account with those platforms. On the other hand, Zeronet is not really a social media platform but it does allow you to create your own distributed website which is not easily possible with SteemIt or D.Tube (as they are more specifically for making videos or posts, not websites). The downside is Zeronet websites are not available on the public internet and they can go down if seeds stop seeding. However, there is no cost to creating such a website.