Media Reform ...

The internet!
"Everyone is meant to watch, most of all ourselves." MS

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the language of The World Wide Web.
Visit The Internet Society: Brief History of the Internet.
The Wikipedia page on Hypertext is very informative too.

Alan Turing (1912-1954) became the founder of computer science when he set the rules for digital technology with his decision to use 1's and 0's – infinite binary numbers as "computable numbers". The earliest large-scale electronic digital computers were the British Colossus (1944) and the American ENIAC (1945). Many consider Vannevar Bush to be the Godfather of our digital age, referring to his 1945 essay As We May Think - describing a theoretical machine he called a "memex" – for automating human memory – to help humanity achieve a collective memory with such a machine and avoid the use of scientific discoveries for destruction and war. Later pioneers with hypertext, such as Ted Nelson, J.C.R. Licklide, Douglas Engelbart, also credited Vannevar Bush. >>> more

In 1963, Ted Nelson coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" because...

A mistaken belief has sprung up that the Internet was invented at the Pentagon in 1969.
Ian Peter sets the record straight - comprehensively!

History of the Internet


Perhaps the most serious rebuttal on the theory of Pentagon origins (otherwise known as the big bang theory of Internet origins) came from the person who was in charge of the Pentagon Arpanet project at the time when the Internet supposedly began, Bob Taylor. Writing in reference to a mailing list invitation to attend the 35th anniversary event, Bob Taylor explained:

In February of 1966 I initiated the ARPAnet project. I was Director of ARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) from late '65 to late '69. There were only two people involved in the decision to launch the ARPAnet: my boss, the Director of ARPA Charles Herzfeld, and me. Numerous untruths have been disseminated about events surrounding the origins of the ARPAnet. Here are some facts:
The creation of the ARPAnet was not motivated by considerations of war. The ARPAnet was not an internet. An internet is a connection between two or more computer networks."
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee developed the technology that launched 'the Web' we know today, and made it freely accessible to the public domain - in other words, the web belongs to all of us. I wanted to see the Web proliferate, not sink my life’s hours into worrying over a product release. – Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Sir Tim Berners-LeeA graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee's first hypertext database system was launched in 1980.
By 1989, he had invented the World Wide Web for global information sharing. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URLs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread. He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). See talks by W3C speakers here.

The World Wide Web Foundation was launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity. Berners-Lee has promoted open government data globally and is a member of the UK's transparency Board.

What do we want? Raw data!

Watch Tim Berners-Lee's lectures here
For his next project, he's building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together

Learn more about Harald Haas, here

The future of the Internet?
Harald Haas is working on it.

Harald Haas is the pioneer behind a new technology that can communicate
as well as illuminate. Imagine using your car headlights to transmit data ...
or surfing the web safely on a plane, tethered only by a line of sight.
Using a regular LED light and a solar panel, Harald Haas and his team
have invented a way to transmit data to a laptop using light –
while the solar cell also creates electricity to run the laptop

Free and Open Source Software

What is it?
The Internet Archive is a San Francisco–based nonprofit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge".
What does it do?

It captures data: 498 billion web pages saved over time.

The End of the Internet Dream
by Jennifer Granick,
Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

In 20 years, the Web might complete its shift from liberator to oppressor.
It’s up to us to prevent that. Jennifer Granick was the keynote speaker at Black Hat 2015. Read a modified version of her speech here

This is the video of her speech:
The Lifecycle of a Revolution
Published on YouTube, Aug 10, 2015

YouTube notes:
In the early days of the public internet, we believed that we were helping build something totally new, a world that would leave behind the shackles of age, of race, of gender, of class, even of law. Twenty years on, "cyberspace" looks a lot less revolutionary than it once did. Hackers have become information security professionals. Racism and sexism have proven resiliant enough to thrive in the digital world. Big companies are getting even bigger, and the decisions corporationsnot just governmentsmake about security, privacy, and free speech affect hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people. The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypseterrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and money launderersare driving online policy as governments around the world are getting more deeply involved in the business of regulating the network. Meanwhile, the Next Billion Internet Users are going to connect from Asia and developing countries without a Bill of Rights. Centralization, Regulation, and Globalization are the key words, and over the next twenty years, we'll see these forces change digital networks and information security as we know it today. So where does that leave security, openness, innovation, and freedom?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is being used to weld the hood of cars shut to keep engine software safe from mechanics. Will we still have the Freedom to Tinker even in the oldest of technologies? What does it mean that the U.S. is a big player in the zero-day market even as international agreements seek to regulate exploit code and surveillance tools? Will we see liability for insecure software and what does that mean for open source? With advances in artificial intelligence that will decide who gets run over, who gets a loan, who gets a job, how far off can legal liability regimes for robots, drones, and even algorythms be? Is the global Internet headed for history's dustbin, and what does a balkanized network mean for security, for civil rights?

The capture of the internet by large corporations

If economic power is concentrated in a few powerful hands you have the political economy for feudalism, or authoritarianism, not democracy. ... When people tune out politics, they are not being hip or cool or ironic. They are being played.
– Robert McChesney

We Need to Advocate Radical Solutions to Systemic Problems

04 January 2015
By Mark Karlin
Robert McChesney, a leader in challenging the corporate media's role in degrading democracy, carries on this fight with Blowing the Roof Off the Twenty-First Century. In the book, he makes an urgent and compelling argument for ending communication monopolies and building a post-capitalist democracy that serves people over corporations.

Interview Excerpt:
Mark Karlin: In a Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week interview in 2013 about your book, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, you reflected profound pessimism about the capture of the internet by large corporations - and the evolution of net consumers into marketing "products." Is the trend of the co-option of the web by a few large corporations accelerating?

Robert McChesney: Whether the process is accelerating is a difficult question to measure or to answer. That the process exists and that it is the dominant fact about the internet is not controversial. Barring radical policy intervention, the domination of the internet by a handful of gigantic monopolists will continue and remain the order of the day. After Digital Disconnect was published, I had a meeting in October 2013 with Sue Gardner, who was then the person in charge of Wikipedia. Sue told me that it would be impossible for Wikipedia or anything like it to get launched by then, because the system was locked down by the giants and privileged commercial values. I was left with the impression that Wikipedia got in just before the deadline, so to speak.

What is striking about this corporate monopolization of the internet is that all the wealth and power has gone to a small number of absolutely enormous firms. As we enter 2015, 13 of the 33 most valuable corporations in the United States are internet firms, and nearly all of them enjoy monopolistic market power as economists have traditionally used the term. If you continue to scan down the list there are precious few internet firms to be found. There is not much of a middle class or even an upper-middle class of internet corporations to be found.

This poses a fundamental problem for democracy, though it is one that mainstream commentators and scholars appear reluctant to acknowledge: If economic power is concentrated in a few powerful hands you have the political economy for feudalism, or authoritarianism, not democracy. Concentrated economic power invariably overwhelms the political equality democracy requires, leading to routinized corruption and an end of the rule of law. That is where we are today in the United States. >>> more

Monopolists are Trying to Enclose the Internet Commons

Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords
By Michael Hiltzik
January 14, 2014, Los Angeles Times

Who deserves the blame for this wretched combination of monopolization and profiteering by ever-larger cable and phone companies? The FCC, that's who.

The agency's dereliction dates back to 2002, when under Chairman Michael Powell it reclassified cable modem services as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services," eliminating its own authority to regulate them broadly. Powell, by the way, is now the chief lobbyist in Washington for the cable TV industry, so the payoff wasn't long in coming.

President Obama's FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, moved to shore up the agency's regulatory defense of net neutrality in 2010. But faced with the implacable opposition of the cable and telecommunications industry, he stopped short of reclassifying cable modems as telecommunications services.

The result was the tatterdemalion policy that the court killed today. It was so ineptly crafted that almost no one in the telecom bar seemed to think it would survive; the only question was how dead would it be? The answer, spelled out in the ruling, is: totally.

The court did leave it up to the FCC or Congress to refashion a net neutrality regime. The new FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, has made noises favoring net neutrality, but he also sounds like someone who's not so committed to the principle.

In an important speech in December and a long essay released at the same time, he's seemed to play on both sides. But that won't work. The only way to defend net neutrality, which prioritizes the interests of the customer and user over the provider, is to do so uncompromisingly. Net neutrality can't be made subject to the "marketplace," as Wheeler suggests, because the cable and telephone firms control that marketplace and their interests will prevail. Congress? Don't make me laugh--it's owned by the industry even more than the FCC. >>> more

STIRRINGS in the 'free' world of 'Open Source'

Talk of replacing ISPs with a decentralized meshnet, HERE

Point of view:
Net Neutrality is dead as of Tuesday
By Ryan Singel.
04 January 2014
So-called common carrier rules apply to services like airlines and the phone company. In the case of airlines, they require that an airline transport any person who has the money to buy a ticket. For the phone company, common carrier rules include the obligation to let any person call any number (along with a whole host of other rules as the phone system is considered to be a necessary lifeline).

Now, free from any rules, ISPs can stop acting like utilities.
If your cable company now wants to slow down Netflix, it can. If it wants to make Skype calls slow, it can. If it wants to make streaming video from its services lightning fast and free from data caps, while slowing down YouTube and counting that data against your monthly allotment, it can do so. If it would simply like to ban peer-to-peer protocols like BitTorrent, that’s now perfectly legal.

There’s all sorts of things a network can do in order to make more money by *not* being a utility, and home broadband providers and mobile carriers are eager to try them out. >>> more

The 13 Creepiest Privacy Violations
the NSA Didn't Want You To See

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.

EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 50,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public. >>> more


Worried your emails might be spied on?
Here’s what you can do
October, 2016
By Lecturer, School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Crime and Justice Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology.
Monique Mann is a member of Australian Privacy Foundation's Board of Directors.

We live in a post-Edward Snowden world, in which US tech companies have been accused of complicity in mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).  ... The power for this type of surveillance was expanded by the US Patriot Act, which allows for the use of secret National Security Letters (NSL) to compel service providers to hand over customer data. The letters come with gag orders...

So with all this going on, is it possible to protect your privacy? And if so, how?

One way is through encryption, which allows only the sender and the receiver to read the content of messages, as it converts information into a secret code that requires a key to decode it.
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