Priorities in the Internet Crises. Draft 3

Third Draft*

*Thanks to Francis Jeffrey, for his good ideas and long history with the issue as an Internet pioneer. Thanks to Cari Machet for good input. Thanks also to Maciej Ceglowski whose excellent ideas I have reprinted.

No crises on the Internet exceeds the harm that is happening to innocent lives. There has been life-destruction going on for a long, long time, this has been sheltered, enabled, the stats are not even being kept (and this is coming from the SV, which claims to be so fond of Data…). This must end.

The collapse of Internet privacy has been ongoing for too long now, with raging, out-of-control profit interests grabbing up our personal data every single minute on a World-wide scale, a complete collapse is on the horizon. The situation is nothing less than dire, the future of the Internet is at stake, the future of personal and business interests connected to it, the future of the data they are hoarding, what will happen to it. Every single internet user is in danger, not only present and coming danger, but danger from what they’ve already got.

Awareness Raising

One of the giant issues is there is an oppression of information – just like with green energy way more is happening than people are aware of and yet much more could be happening if people were made more aware – especially of what they themselves can do to make a difference.

If only we had a 1st grade class entitled ‘you are personally responsible for life – do work hard the time you are here to protect it. That has been what is needed, for people to inform themselves and to act, since the forces in power have only been complicit, weak, and ineffective to this major problem.

There is great danger going on, the madness of unethical, unthinking, out-of-control Power. We cannot let them destroy the Internet.

This is a list of priorities, for us to fix, what is most urgent to solve, to end. All are very important.

1. Human Lives and their essential Rights, number One, the Right to Life, must be ensured and much better protected.

2. Ownership of Our data must be made into law.

Lets Solve the Problem of Restoring Internet Privacy! Francis Jeffrey, on How to do it

3. Protection of essential privacy. Companies like Google and Microsoft, our government’s NSA, need to immediately stop lifting and scanning all data that is personally identifiable, all emails, any private correspondence, all private messages, any private credit card information, all passwords and logins. People need to feel safe again writing and sending private messages, as they are not now, their passwords protected, they have been left extremely vulnerable by the data lifting. Everyone needs to understand that destroying internet privacy is a dangerous right’s invasion and will destroy the Internet.

4. Existing lifted data needs to be destroyed. Companies like Gigya need to stop the selling and sharing of personally identifiable data. They cannot store it, its too dangerous A. Because of potential hacking B. Because of potential future government corruption that could and would summon it for incrimination C. For potential corruption from the big data corporations themselves. No one wants to in any way, aid a future fascist State or corporation. Its not safe for any of us.

5. CyberCrime needs to be immediately addressed

CyberCrime Costs the World Economy hundreds of billions of dollars:

Cybercrime is already costing the World hundreds of billions of dollars. This is only going to get worse and worse. So long as our data is being stored it is clearly a commodity, companies like Gigya make no secret about this. The mentality is not different than a criminal’s, and this is where the big problem lies. Malware attacks are becoming more and more frequent. I have written for over 5 years about the mass destruction of human life happening on Topix. All this money is constantly being put, in the Silicon Valley, into “New” start-up, companies. What are needed are companies whose purpose is to Clean Up this Mess. I have long suggested, for instance, Rich Skrenta himself, should devote his resources and thinking, to solving the many problems, which he has either founded or invented (like Malware).

Hack-a-thons are being held, how about Save the Internet, a-thons? Seriously, there is only one Net, not one single user, wants it destroyed, wants it to be unsafe.

6. “Safe” data needs to be defined and distinguished, from “Unsafe” data.  Safe data would be data that could be shared. Not personally identifiable data, which has to be made private again. Untouchable.

7. Tracking reform. Tracking reform is urgently needed, people’s homes should not be in a search engine. This is a very basic safety precaution.

Some townships in the US have made new laws – the Google cars that film for the map were driving into peoples driveways and such. If you check maps for federal government sites you will find them blank on the map – they don’t show the people the government but the government gets to see all about the people.

8. Ownership of your data. A new clarification is needed, as to what belongs to a person, what needs to be private, and what is public. What is private needs to be the province of the individual or business, untouched, unsold, unmarketed.

9. Ownership of your own image. Google Glass presents a huge danger because there are currently no laws that say a photo taken of a person, belongs to that person. This is an open-door for blackmail and indeed, this has already happened.

10. Change of Consciousness/Awareness. The whole mentality that developed the invasion of personal data needs to be re-thought, its wrong, its destructive, its dangerous. It can, will and is, destroying the Internet, this will only further deteriorate.


Maciej Ceglowski had excellent ideas along the same lines he gave in a speech, I am reprinting his ideas for saving the Internet:

It should be illegal to collect and permanently store most kinds of behavioral data.

In the United States, they warn us the world will end if someone tries to regulate the Internet. But the net itself was born of a fairly good regulatory framework that made sure de facto net neutrality existed for decades, paid for basic research into protocols and software, cleared the way for business use of the internet, and encouraged the growth of the commercial web.

It’s good regulation, not lack of regulation, that kept the web healthy.

Here’s one idea for where to begin:
1. Limit what kind of behavioral data websites can store. When I say behavioral data, I mean the kinds of things computers notice about you in passing—your search history, what you click on, what cell tower you’re using.

It’s very important that we regulate this at the database, not at the point of collection. People will always find creative ways to collect the data, and we shouldn’t limit people’s ability to do neat things with our data on the fly. But there should be strict limits on what you can save.

2. Limit how long they can keep it. Maybe three months, six months, three years. I don’t really care, as long as it’s not fifty years, or forever. Make the time scale for deleting behavioral data similar to the half-life of a typical Internet business.

3. Limit what they can share with third parties. This limit should also apply in the event of bankruptcy, or acquisition. Make people’s data non-transferable without their consent.

4. Enforce the right to download. If a website collects information about me, I should be allowed to see it. The EU already mandates this to some extent, but it’s not evenly enforced.

This rule is a little sneaky, because it will require backend changes on many sites. Personal data can pile up in all kinds of dark corners in your system if you’re not concerned about protecting it. But it’s a good rule, and easy to explain. You collect data about me? I get to see it.

5. Enforce the right to delete. I should be able to delete my account and leave no trace in your system, modulo some reasonable allowance for backups.

6. Give privacy policies teeth. Right now, privacy policies and terms of service can change at any time. They have no legal standing. For example, I would like to promise my users that I’ll never run ads on my site and give that promise legal weight. That would be good marketing for me. Let’s create a mechanism that allow this.

7. Let users opt-in if a site wants to make exceptions to these rules. If today’s targeted advertising is so great, you should be able to persuade me to sign up for it. Persuade me! Convince me! Seduce me! You’re supposed to be a master advertiser, for Christ’s sake!

8. Make the protections apply to everyone, not just people in the same jurisdiction as the regulated site. It shouldn’t matter what country someone is visiting your site from. Keep it a world-wide web.


I was very taken with Bastian Allgeier’s talk yesterday on decentralization. And we’ll be discussing a lot of these issues at Decentralize Camp tomorrow.

Folklore has it that the Internet was designed to survive a nuclear war. Bombs could take out lots of nodes, but the net would survive and route around the damage.

I think this remains a valuable idea, though we never quite got there. A good guiding principle is that no one company, or one country, should have the ability to damage the Internet, even if it begins to act maliciously. – Maciej Ceglowski