Comments on: Down with Gatekeepers: Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration vs. Internet Freedom http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/12/06/down-with-gatekeepers-hillary-clinton-and-the-obama-administration-vs-internet-freedom/ Property - Prosperity - Peace Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:39:12 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 By: Paul T http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/12/06/down-with-gatekeepers-hillary-clinton-and-the-obama-administration-vs-internet-freedom/#comment-2800 Sun, 09 Sep 2012 16:51:36 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=9980#comment-2800 It’s not too late to contemplate the development of an internet that is independent of government and its agents in ways that ICANN, to give on example, prevents the Internet from being independent.

There will be many challenges, of course, and just one of them will be to make sure that the network does not succumb to a petty craving for dependency upon proprietary standards. Enforcement of copyright and patent statutes are a clear hazard here. Another problem will be to ensure that proper functioning of the network, or network of networks, isn’t dependent upon a benevolent despot or clique of despots. Another problem will be transport, for all of the carriers are in bed with the government, partly as a result of regulations imposed on the pretext of protecting consumers. Why would they welcome the change when protected incumbents rarely do? In fact, when last I checked, there were parts of the world in which the carrier is the government. This brings us to the problem of developing interfaces between the new, independent internet and the telephone network. This will require not only hardware solutions but also development in software, including operating systems.

Still more problems will come from getting people to adopt the new network in spite of prejudices against networking that is free of governmental parentalism. Some people will regard the transition as an unnecessary hassle. (IT managers and CIOs come to mind now.) There is the possibility that some hardware will have to be duplicated, in order to use both the old internet and the new internet simultaneously. I think that the most difficult challenge, however, will be to protect the infrastructure of routers, switches, communications lines, and other hardware from the looter class, esp. that portion of the looter class that has power to hide behind the law when carrying out its crimes. This will be extemely difficult in China, in Russia, in the America of the Republicans and the Democrats, and in other places where the ruling classes deny that even one’s own body is one’s own property.

I could go on, but we can expect many benefits once the challenges have been overcome. Of course, the power of Columbia would be reduced, and there would be a greatly reduced risk of Publius’ government using the old internet as a tool of despotism. The mere existence of a credible alternative to Columbia’s internet might be enough to discourage politicians and bureaucrats from attempts to impose draconian controls on the old internet. What would be the point of trying to do so if the controls could be circumvented? In fact, even a credible threat of establishing an alternate internet could be enough to discourage the control freaks, the worst of which in America are not necessarily Democrats but, instead, may be Republicans and the pastors of vice squads.

Another benefit is that innovation and investment in the independent internet will be less hampered, less discouraged, and less perverted by government meddling. Finally, the scientific and engineering challenges could stimulate new developments in computer science and telephony that have yet to be conceived in academia. In the early 1960s almost no one had heard of packet switching, for example, and it would be small minded to assume that no more such radical innovations are possible or that they can’t be made more likely by the necessity of developing an independent internet.

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