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The Death of the Internet

The internet was meant to be open, free, and decentralized, but today it is controlled by a few companies with grave consequences for society and the economy. The internet has become the opposite of what it was intended to be.

In the early 1960s, Paul Baran was an engineer at the RAND Corporation when he began thinking about the need for a communications network that could withstand a nuclear strike. RAND was contracted by the Pentagon to create a system that could continue operating even if parts of it were destroyed by an atomic blast. It was supposed to be the ultimate decentralized system.

Baran went on to publish a paper in 1964 titled “On Distributed Communications, [1]” which was influential in establishing the concepts behind the architecture of the internet.

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn put these concepts into practice at the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency in the late 1960s, and created the communication methods that make the internet possible. The principles of freedom and openness were at the heart of the design—packet switching [2] made the system robust in the face of nuclear attacks and Internet Protocol [3] allowed for open interconnection.

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Years later, Cerf said [4], “The beauty of the internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group.” In his view, “this model has not only made the internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it’s also prevented vested interests from taking control.”

The principle of decentralization went directly against the business models of technology giants like AT&T and IBM. Until AT&T’s monopoly was broken up in the early 1980s, communications were extremely centralized and traveled through dedicated, point-to-point channels. The use of third-party devices on the network was prohibited.

The internet would have remained an obscure channel for government and scientists to communicate had it not been for Tim Berners-Lee. In the late 1980s, he created a way for information to be shared easily using hypertext via the World Wide Web.

Berners-Lee could have become fabulously wealthy, but instead he released the source code for free, embodying the democratic spirit of the internet. Berners-Lee wanted [5] “an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.”

In recent years, the great hope of an open and free internet has given way to a dystopia where a few big companies control what we see, how we communicate, and what we can say online.

Today, Berners-Lee thinks the internet is broken [6]. In a 2018 interview [7] with Vanity Fair, he recalled its early days. “The spirit there was very decentralized,” Berners-Lee said. “The individual was incredibly empowered. It was all based on there being no central authority that you had to go to to ask permission. That feeling of individual control, that empowerment, is something we’ve lost.”

Berners-Lee is taking a break from his work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to launch Inrupt [8], a startup that he has been working on for the past nine months. His mission is to decentralize the internet, reclaim power from tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, and allow individuals to control their own data.

Although the architecture of the internet is still decentralized, the ecosystem of the World Wide Web is not. A few giant companies have near-monopolistic control of traffic, personal data, commerce, and the flow of information.

If you had to choose a date for when the internet died, it would be in the year 2014. Before then, traffic to websites came from many sources, and the web was a lively ecosystem. But beginning in 2014 [9], more than half of all traffic began coming from just two sources: Facebook and Google. Today, over 70 percent of traffic is dominated by those two platforms.

The internet was meant to be open, anarchic, decentralized, and above all free. In the 1990s, America Online helped people connect and discover content, but it failed to meet the internet’s founding ideals because it was ultimately a “walled garden [10].” AOL determined and curated the user experience, which was contrary to the spirit of the web. Once users started going online with their local cable companies, and Google began helping them find the information they needed on the web, people began to leave AOL.

Facebook has since become AOL 2.0, a centrally designed internet for its users. You discover only what the company wants you to. It is about as uncool as AOL, but it won’t die the same death because personal Facebook accounts contain so much of a user’s life history, photos, and friend and family connections. Many articles and videos only appear behind Facebook’s walled garden, and many apps and sites will not even let a user join without a Facebook account.

Vint Cerf, the father of the internet, decries Facebook’s walled garden. Cerf, however, now works at Google and is the firm’s chief internet evangelist [11]. He fails to see how Google also is swallowing up the internet.

Google started out as a search engine that helped users quickly find the information they needed. It’s since gone from directing people to content to directing traffic inwards to itself, according to Rand Fishkin, the world expert on search engine optimization.

Even though competitors like Yelp might have superior local reviews, Google Reviews are given preferential placement in search results. Even though shopping comparison websites like Foundem in Europe might offer better results, Google can effectively blacklist them. Increasingly, Google offers snippets and previews of Wikipedia and Getty Images. Traffic to these websites has subsequently collapsed. Far from directing users to other sites, Google today starves content creators of traffic.

As Fishkin notes [12], “Google’s behavior over the last few years away from an engine that drives searchers to other websites for the answers to their problems and toward self-hosted answers and solutions. That’s made SEO much more difficult, as Google, for the first time in its history, is sending less outbound traffic.”

Google is eating the web through its new technologies. Pages load faster with tools like Accelerated Mobile Pages or Firebase. Both are like Facebook’s Instant Articles. They sound great, until you realize that the faster pages run on Google’s and Facebook’s servers, displacing third-party advertising networks and further centralizing the web into their ecosystem where they exercise control.

Google also kills off technologies that would reduce the need to search using Google. In 2013, the company announced they were discontinuing Google Reader, which relied on RSS. An RSS feed was a way for publishers to reach their readers directly without using Google Search. But the death of Google Reader [13] in 2013 marked the end of interoperable web services like RSS from large organizations like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The current configuration of the web’s ecosystem advances Google’s business model. Google’s Android mobile operating system powers most smartphones in the world with a whopping 85 percent market share [14]. It has integrated the Android OS into its own search engine, and has integrated Android into its own app store, effectively becoming the gatekeeper to what websites, apps, and companies consumers can access.

It uses its dominance in browsers to its own advantage as well. Its Chrome browser has a 60 percent market share globally [15], and comes with a new ad-blocking feature [16], which it claims is the work of a collective, industry-wide effort to get rid of annoying ads. Yet the software only blocks certain types of online advertisements. Mysteriously, the ads that are blocked are ones its competitors use, not its own.

Confronted with a closed web controlled by two private companies, users are increasingly demanding that Facebook and Google fix themselves. As journalist Matt Taibbi has succinctly put it [17], “For Google and Facebook to be the cause of and the solution to problems tells you how irrelevant governments and regulators have become.”

There is currently a vast imbalance of power between individuals and private companies. The web is not free and open if two companies control the flow of information. André Staltz, a computer programmer, has noted [9] that that the tech giants can ban users and “don’t need to guarantee you access to their networks. You do not have a legal right to an account in their servers, and as societies we aren’t demanding for these rights.”

Conservatives who love democracy should prefer decentralization, as it allows each user to make their own choices. In a centralized system, users have no control over what standards Google or Facebook deem acceptable—someone else makes those choices on our behalf.

Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, has noted [18] that techno-utopians once said things like “the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it.” Today, that is no longer possible. The centralization of the internet by monopolies “increasingly facilitates surveillance, censorship, and control.”

It’s a sad irony that the internet, intended to be decentralized and free, is dominated by monopolies with ever-increasing control of our lives.

Jonathan Tepper [19] is a senior fellow at The American Conservative, founder of Variant Perception [20], a macroeconomic research company, and co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition [21]. This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.

37 Comments (Open | Close)

37 Comments To "The Death of the Internet"

#1 Comment By The Other Eric On March 7, 2019 @ 11:23 pm

99.9% of all Internet users prefer an internet that can be used rather than a platform dominated by trolls, spam, malicious software, and millions of popup ads. I do not like the idea of the Internet dominated by a few companies. But unless government is going to step in and provide a safe environment, people will choose the easy to use mega corp.

#2 Comment By bkh On March 8, 2019 @ 1:43 am

But they do not control you unless you let them.

#3 Comment By polistra On March 8, 2019 @ 5:02 am

You shouldn’t be so quick to believe the idealistic myths about “freedom” and “decentralization”. The net was mainly developed by NSA for NSA’s own purposes.

Having users believe in “freedom” is extremely convenient for NSA. Spies never let the victim know he’s being wiretapped. When we know we’re being monitored, we speak carefully.

#4 Comment By GaryH On March 8, 2019 @ 7:05 am

“Intended to be open, free, and decentralized, it’s now dominated by a handful of companies that control what we see and what we can say.”

Isn’t that the reality of every revolution? With one glaring exception: the American revolt from the British Empire.

High Tech is bringing us Brave New World, which is a slavery worse than 1984. Silicon Valley is shaping up to be a new and much worse Politburo.

#5 Comment By Gary Keith Chesterton On March 8, 2019 @ 7:21 am

If Theodore Roosevelt could see this.

#6 Comment By Dennis Byron On March 8, 2019 @ 7:47 am

I do not use Google (I’m a Duck guy for technical reasons you probably do not care about). I do use Facebook so I can see my grandkids sports photos and share photos of their great great great grandparents with them. Facebook does not own those photos; I do. My wife uses Amazon to save gas and money… Amazon does not seem to use the Internet anymore than if she had shopped at 20 different “stores” online. It certainly does not control anything.

So what is this author babbling about? He or she echoes the long time anthem of the leftist when it comes to technology: Success should be punished. We should get crap service so some nirvanah can be reached. Google (or Duck if you are like me) “Venezuela” to see how that turns out.

#7 Comment By spite On March 8, 2019 @ 8:50 am

They are woke, which means all the leftists don’t care.

#8 Comment By Mark On March 8, 2019 @ 9:42 am

How can you write an article on internet monopolies and not include ISPs or the loss of net neutrality?

#9 Comment By Dennis On March 8, 2019 @ 10:09 am

The only solution at this point is to break up Google and Facebook (and to apply strict first amendment protections to “platforms” like Twitter, and to sellers like Amazon). They have become a menace to society, controlling not only data, but thought and speech (de-platforming of conservatives and other dissidents from the left’s social and cultural agenda is a growing danger. And Amazon has also begun to aggressively de-listing certain books SJWs and the SPLC don’t like).

In the meantime, people also need to take control of their own online actions. Delete Facebook and Twitter accounts. I go directly to sites I want to visit – I don’t need some Facebook or Twitter portal to “guide” me there and manipulate my browsing or the news I see (though de-platforming by ISPs is also an issue when it comes to dissident websites these days).

#10 Comment By phree On March 8, 2019 @ 10:34 am

Sounds like a pretty good argument for net neutrality.

#11 Comment By Rob G On March 8, 2019 @ 10:43 am

“So what is this author babbling about? He or she echoes the long time anthem of the leftist when it comes to technology: Success should be punished.”

So being against monopolies is “leftist”? Who knew!

“Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, has noted that techno-utopians once said things like ‘the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it.’ Today, that is no longer possible. The centralization of the internet by monopolies ‘increasingly facilitates surveillance, censorship, and control.'”

Absolutely true. See The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff.

#12 Comment By Kent On March 8, 2019 @ 10:53 am

“open and free” are incompatible with the free market. “Choice” is only between the entities the free market chooses to provide. You may wish to have more choices, but unless you are willing to pony up your own billions to provide the option, you will get only what is currently provided. Regardless of how miserable and ad ridden.

Conservatism is incompatible with the idea of government regulation in favor of the standard of living of the population. Yes, we could use government to provide all kinds of nice things. But those things cost money, and sooner or later we run out of other people’s money.

#13 Comment By Sid Finster On March 8, 2019 @ 11:01 am

Was it not taught to us from old that freedom of the press belongs only to those who own one?

Not only that, but as anyone in the Good Old Days knew, independent news was a risky proposition, especially if you were going to publish things that the local establishment didn’t like seeing in print.

Forgetting the cash outlay, a printing press requires specialized technical skill to operate. Not only that, but getting content, distribution networks and revenue sources ain’t easy, yo. Start annoying the Town Fathers and watch your contributors clam up and your distribution and advertising suddenly disappear.

So, unless you were both independently wealthy and had the time to tork people off with your very expensive hobby, best to keep your observations to yourself and your friends. “Community standards” and all that. Conservatives love to talk about them, but that’s what they boiled down to.

This all changed with the personal computer hooked up to the internet. Now, any toolio with WiFi and WordPress can go into the publishing business for free and get to publishing just as fast as he can type. Not only that, but he can enjoy worldwide distribution and advertising support, all totally anonymous.

Needless to say, this is intolerable for those people who want to maintain the status quo. Hence the push to corral the internet into safe, controllable, easily monitored fora.

#14 Comment By Anon1970 On March 8, 2019 @ 12:02 pm

The Internet is hardly dying, but like any new industry, it has been going through its Wild West period where almost anything goes. You can find plenty of stuff to watch without Facebook. Thanks to streaming, you can also watch plenty of stuff on TV without incurring a high cable bill. For all of the market power AT&T supposedly has, one would never know it by its lousy stock market performance over the years.

#15 Comment By PAX On March 8, 2019 @ 12:21 pm

A good example is Ryan Dawson. He has been banned from major www outlets for his alternate views on the great events (often poorly explained by the officials) of the 21st century. I may not agree with him, but I do not like these informational dictators telling me what I can access and what I can’t. The First Amendment is truly under attack. Other countries (terminating their tenure as real democracies) have willingly succumbed. The U.S. must not. Courts are able and willing to entertain alleged libel violations. We do not need Google, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and other contrived and well-controlled outlets dismantling our free speech rights. This implosion of our rights by people who wish total word and mind control must end. It already has gone too far. Great effort is made by these informational monstrosities to less than gently teach us (South Pacific) how to think and act. Goebbels must be applauding their efforts in the U.S. loudly from his coffin. He is probably musing – why did the US fight WW2 – if to capitulate to mind and thought control to a few wealthy ideologues?

#16 Comment By Kouros On March 8, 2019 @ 12:53 pm

I think net neutrality is more important in the first place.

Also, for me the death of “free” internet was when Google stopped searches of blogs and comments of users on various blogs.

And don’t blame only Google or Facebook or Amazon. Every platform is one way or another “moderating” and “censoring” participants. In fact, a lot of platforms belonging to MSM have removed entirely the ability of providing comments by their readership (kudos for TAC!).

I guess they felt they had to since most of the time, most of the comments were at glaring disagreement with the opinions exposed by the publication. Just look at the “free”, “market oriented” “Economist”, which lately has become almost a yellow paper, just a bit above the gutter of Daily Mail.

Ultimately people, like in the Movie Merlin with Sam Neil, will turn their backs to the magic and control of MSM and Co and pay no credence anymore (at least this is what the surveys are hinting to..)

#17 Comment By Stephen J. On March 8, 2019 @ 2:12 pm

I wrote the articles below in 2012 regarding the internet.

“Coincidence or Planned Political Control”?

[22]
—————
[23]

#18 Comment By Mark Thomason On March 8, 2019 @ 2:15 pm

Centralizing cancels out free and open, for everybody but the centralizer, who still uses “free and open” as carte blanc to do as it likes even if abusive of everyone else.

If it is necessary to centralize, then it is necessary to regulate. It isn’t free and open anymore, so it must be not free and not open in a responsible way that works for everyone.

It may be necessary to centralize. There are advantages. But it must be one or the other, free and open or not, not just free and open only for the couple of powerful centralizing corporations.

#19 Comment By george On March 8, 2019 @ 2:33 pm

and it’s like Republicans regularly vote legislation to deregulate things like the internet, weird. i mean, facebook and google and amazon basically fulfilled a capitalists wet dream fantasy, which you’d think conservatives commentators would celebrate.

this is a good, real time example of how ruthless capitalism isn’t really working out anymore, the internet isn’t regulated and inevitably a few companies gained the power to regulate as they choose. it doesn’t take a lot to see those dots lining up.

you just can’t apply free market ideology to certain goods (the internet) or services (healthcare) without this happening and our lives being directed by unaccountable board memebers. we’re just at a point where we need to retake power from these giganto-corporations or its going to keep getting worse, the state and it’s laws are our best tool to do so.

#20 Comment By Slugger On March 8, 2019 @ 3:08 pm

I am a bit surprised that this site and Sen. Warren share these opinions.

#21 Comment By ICommentedOnTAC On March 8, 2019 @ 4:07 pm

That large numbers of people make use of the same popular and comfortable services in no way suggests the internet is free. They are not bound to use those services. They do so because they offer them enough of what they want that they don’t care to find an alternative. If you don’t want to use Facebook, then don’t. There are other social networking options and you could always do things the old fashioned way and just talk to someone face to face or on the phone or through a letter if you don’t want to use any of them. Similarly, there are other search engines and other email providers and other video hosting services.

If you really don’t like any of the options, you’re always free to do what those other people did and create your own alternatives. If you have legitimate value to offer to people, you’ll likely find success. Sure, you’ll probably have to settle for having a drastically smaller audience, especially at first, and having to work a lot harder to get your message or whatever out there, but that’s true for any new business or venture.

The only thing that I think is actually a problem is the rather casual way these companies are allowed to collect my data, even if I don’t ever agree to let them do so, as well as the fact that they basically go scot free if they fail to safeguard my information on top of that. There definitely needs to be more done to protect our personal information and privacy, especially with the imbalance of power in mind, but I’m not sure exactly what could be done that would both be effective and wouldn’t create bigger problems. Privacy is an issue; the dominance of Google and Facebook is not.

#22 Comment By just dropping by On March 8, 2019 @ 4:27 pm

I must be missing something. Have never used FB- thought it creepy and intrusive from the start. Don’t use google search engine; I know all about them and use DuckDuckGo. Don’t use the word “google” when I mean “look it up” or “research it” and do keep in touch with anyone I want without having a page with my life on it, on the net.

Don’t use apps. Can find anything I want with the DDG search engine or by going directly to the site. Just seems like, rather than relying on FB and google to give them news, when we all know they’re corrupt, people would just go to the sites they like and bookmark them to check directly whenever they want.

As for Android — with a landline and a cell phone, don’t need that either. If we don’t bring datamining companies into our lives, they have no control over us. Couldn’t pay us to put a spy machine like alexis in the house.

I know, people look at such habits with shock and dismay, but those of us living this way will go nose-to-nose with anyone getting news from sites that censor, FB “friends” or networks on TV…and probably win. (Geez, that sounds arrogant. Sorry, really don’t mean to sound that way.)

#23 Comment By Jennifer Arimborgo On March 8, 2019 @ 4:59 pm

It is indeed concerning that Facebook and Google hold so much control on the Internet. Facebook has banned some of the perfectly innocent ads that I have tried to put up for my posts (nothing even politically controversial), and so far it seems that this kind of thing goes unchecked. Thank you for a well-thought out article!

#24 Comment By SteveM On March 8, 2019 @ 5:34 pm

Re: bkh, “But they do not control you unless you let them.

Exactly.

Use Firefox, not Chrome
Use Private Windows so web actitivity always deleted
Use DuckDuckGo as your search engine
Use social media platforms without logging on if possible
Do not log onto YouTube unless you have to
Do not log onto Google unless you have to
Do not log onto Amazon unless you want to make a purchase
If you log onto any social media, explicitly log out first rather than just close the tab
Use a VPN (3 bucks a month).

Incidentally, from my perspective Facebook is a feminized platform. I.e., males mostly provide sparse personal info and rarely post comments to their timelines. Females though are much more active. Whatever user stats Facebook provides to vendors, they are probably heavily skewed demographically.

#25 Comment By Ed On March 8, 2019 @ 5:39 pm

When we first came to the Internet, there were all kinds of web pages set up by fans and enthusiasts to show us their passion. I’m sure some of those sites are still out there, but how often do we find them nowadays? It seems that as traffic increases, we tend to go to a small set of the usual sites. We don’t stumble on somebody’s home made site so often as we are directed to Wikipedia or YouTube some other established site. People who might have been developing their own fan site
now just go to Facebook or Twitter. I don’t know why this happened and don’t think government can do much about it, but sometimes I do miss the old Wild West days of the Internet.

#26 Comment By DL. On March 9, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

So someone put a gun to your head forcing you to use the internet, click on ads, get Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/whatever, shop at Amazon, online bill pay, read only e-books, watch only YouTube, search only with Google, download Windows10…I could go on and on here. The internet is enslaving you because you are allowing it to. Nobody put a gun to your head over this!

#27 Comment By Tom Welsh On March 9, 2019 @ 1:12 pm

Like that of Mark Twain, the death of the Internet has been greatly exaggerated. In fact it has been growing rapidly for 30 years, and before that for 20 years as the ARPAnet.

“Intended to be open, free, and decentralized, it’s now dominated by a handful of companies that control what we see and what we can say”.

The Internet is still open, free and decentralized – and it will continue to be as long as it is implemented through the Internet Protocol suite maintained by IETF.

No company can control what you see and what you can say unless you voluntarily give it that power. (The exception being your ISP, if you are so desperately unlucky to have no choice in that matter).

People who complain bitterly that Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and others “control what they see and what they can say” ought to blame themselves for using those companies’ services.

They are like fat people who blame chocolate cake for their girth.

#28 Comment By Ken T On March 9, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

This is an object lesson in “free market economics”. ANY decentralized market will inevitably be taken over by the strongest, richest players. Whether you are talking about the internet, or retail shopping, or manufacturing, or anything else, unregulated capitalism leads to monopolization. Period. “Free Marketers” cannot point to one single example anywhere in the world at any time in history where this did not happen.

#29 Comment By Puzzled On March 9, 2019 @ 5:08 pm

I don’t understand posts like this. A site like TAC can say whatever it likes, and FB, Google, etc. can’t do anything about it. They only control *their* sites. The author seems to be unhappy that he can’t also control sites owned by others, like “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”

#30 Comment By Bmc On March 10, 2019 @ 8:38 am

Curious article considering how many of my comments have not gotten pass the censors here on TAC. It seems as if pointing out the moral depravity of pornography, abortion and sodomite marriage, and those groups responsible for such legislation, is not allowed to be discussed on this site.

#31 Comment By Morgan On March 10, 2019 @ 2:53 pm

Actually, it’s called gentrification.
You may remember it from when the peasants were kicked out of the common pastures and the land was put under control of the wealthy.

#32 Comment By Ary Avnet On March 10, 2019 @ 4:40 pm

This was not a power grab by companies or government institutions. This is just illustrative of capitalism. The free internet is still there, albeit a dark and suspect environment. People choose to use these platforms created by corporations because they are refined and helpful. No one is innovating for free

#33 Comment By David Payton On March 10, 2019 @ 8:15 pm

The Internet is not broken, It is merely and electronic form of communication and data sharing. To say that the Internet is broken is like saying that a .38 Special will jump into one’s hand and force one to kill one’s mother. …What is broken, and has been for many years, is the users’ concept of the Internet and how to use it. There was a time when the Internet was a sort of many Committees of Correspondence, some private and some public. What Facebook has done, for better or for worse, was to make it easier, at a price, to share and sell, in a sense, one’s personal information. The same goes for Google and Twitter. One sells oneself to get on Facebook, Twitter and Google. There are alternatives to the Big Three such as MeWe, Gab and Startpage. Each are as good or better than the Big Three, but the Big Three are big and well known. Their position could be compared to the old days of gas stations. Why would one go to a Flying A station when there was a Shell station nearby. Or a Terrible Herbst when there was a Chevron station on the opposite corner? There are alternatives. Facebook is awful. Twitter is awful. And Google is awful. But one can get one’s ideas out, and information outside of those venues. And it’s not going Dark Web. It’s going alternate…Let’s face it, most people go to Facebook, Twitter and Google is because they are lazy and they see a shiny product before their eyes…Should Facebook, Twitter and Google be whacked? Of course they should because they lied to the users.

#34 Comment By keith Pridgeon On March 12, 2019 @ 1:32 am

Here’s my problem I’m always suspicious when an article uses percentages instead of actual numbers. I’m almost certain that the 30% not controlled by Google and Facebook actually has more traffic than the 50% in 2014. All things pass when capitalism us allowed to flourish. Google and Facebook will provide the best service until someone else does better then they will be dominant.

#35 Comment By Kaci On March 12, 2019 @ 5:45 pm

It is clear that the internet has become a supra-dictatorship. For us North Africans we note in the support of Facebook and google in preferance to the opinion of the Arab-Muslim colonizers by censoring the native peoples. I am not allowed to have a Facebook account and my website, mergueze.info, no longer receives visitors directly.

#36 Comment By Hal Lemoyne On March 13, 2019 @ 11:21 am

OH I knew this was coming

But

our internet still has more freedoms than

than everybody wants to believe!!!

#37 Comment By Josep On March 16, 2019 @ 3:37 am

Anyone remember the controversy with NSA spying through Windows 10? Some people have flocked to Linux, while others have opted to keep using Windows 7 until 2020. I did hear that there’s an option to turn off NSA spying, but still…

On all the PCs I run, DuckDuckGo is the default search engine. While DuckDuckGo works well for regular searches, however, for some searches it’s hit-or-miss. When searching for images or videos, DuckDuckGo would yield fewer results than Google or none at all.

I have never had a Facebook account. I used to have a Twitter account only for some school assignment; I have since deleted it. The only social networking I still use is WeChat, and while it’s not free of censorship either, at least there are fewer users. Sadly, however, its use relies on a smartphone capable of running WeChat, even with the PC version, so a flip-phone won’t cut it. This would mean having to either buy a new Android smartphone once the old one stops working, import a non-American phone capable of WeChat (e.g. Huawei), or give up WeChat entirely.

Last October I moved from YouTube to Vimeo. While my YouTube channel is still running, however, no new videos will be uploaded there. One major reason I moved was so that, if there’s a typo, I can replace the video with a fixed version. Another reason is the smaller number of users.

For portable games, I am thinking of buying either a 3DS or a Switch (Sony recently announced they’re going to discontinue the Vita). Not only do they have physical buttons, but their use of physical game cartridges reduces reliance on DRM.

Even though we’ve got cell phones, I see no reason to dismantle pay-phones. Let’s say someone is stranded and his/her cell phone is out of juice. If there were no payphone, then he/she would be screwed.