31 March, 2014

THE END OF THE NET AS WE KNOW IT


On March 15th, I wrote a blog post titled “Fourteen Drunk People.” It was about how the domain registration organization ICANN is controlled by the US government.

Seems there’s been a change in Internet governance. According to Deutsche Welles:

It was hardly a surprise. People had been calling for it for ages. But when the US Department of Commerce finally announced it was planning to relinquish control of a vital part of ICANN - and with it, the Internet - by October 2015, the chatter really began.

The announcement, says the same article from DW, has “"electrified" this week's ICANN 49 meeting in Singapore.”

The Republicans, of course, are not happy. According to the Hill:

A group of House Republicans introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with its announced plans to relinquish oversight of the technical side of the Internet's Web address system.

The Internet now needs to be governed by an international body. I’m sure out of those 150 plus countries, there are going to be more than a few people with the technical capabilities to get this done. The question is: will the task be handed over to some efficient entity within a nation-state like Singapore to co-ordinate, or will it fall into the disorganized grasp of an institution like the UN?

By the time the unwieldy beaureaucracy of the UN gets its act in order, the Internet may have splintered into many independent pieces. Clearly the transition has to be well thought out, if it is to remain in the shape it is today.

I guess the question is: do we want it in the shape it is in today? There’s been some questionable usage of the Internet, including what appears to be a massive heist of all available data through the maws of American companies like Google and Facebook. Clearly there are dollar signs attached to all this data trawling.

Then there’s the even more questionable noise coming out that the US government may have started to “download data” from people’s brains. According to RT’s article “Pentagon's DARPA works on reading brains in real time”, dated October 28, 2013:

The new project is part of President Obama’s BRAIN initiative, which sets aside $100 million in its first year to develop new innovations in neuroscience. DARPA is collaborating with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation on SUBNETS, and it is currently soliciting proposals from various research teams.

There’s a headset that generates “clean data”-the scientists are surprised now clean it is. Meaning basically they are now reading your minds, and possibly downloading this data on the web each time you Google your own name to scare the shit out of you. This is (or should be) known as the “Google Terror Complex”.

According to RT:

A new state-of-the-art headband is being developed by Tufts University scientists that could help facilitate communication between the human brain and computers.

Here’s a gushing 10Cool DARPA Projects In Development” article from Information Week that says:

SUBNETS will investigate therapies that use near real-time recording, analysis, and stimulation in next-generation devices inspired by current deep brain stimulation (DBS), which involves implanting electrodes within specific areas of the brain.

An article from Slate "How next-generation apps will market your brainwaves” also looks at ways in which companies are increasingly trying to predict people’s future behaviors by tapping their brains, for purposes of commercial gain.

Clearly there’s been a “cool” interface between data downloads of all kinds-including the human brain—and the ever entrepreneurial urge to make money and make it marketable. The military-industrial complex/financial maws of capitalism is an inexorable nexus.

A hitch has now developed for this massive “data grab”, with the Internet now out of American government’s exclusive control.

How does the data grab continue? You can be sure it will. And it may be best for civil society worldwide to keep its eyes open for the Next Big Thing because its sure to violate every single known norm of human rights.

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