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WonderWoman
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06 Dec 2021, 11:17 pm

Hi guys,

Anybody have any thoughts or strong opinions about the decentralized web? Do you think it's viable?

Has anybody developed a website on the IPFS platform or using Filecoin storage?

I think it's a great direction for the Web to take.


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carlos55
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07 Dec 2021, 4:57 am

Its a great direction but unlikely unfortunatly.

The world has changed greatly since the web went mainstream in the late 90`s. Most gov now want greater control over it and censorship is real.


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07 Dec 2021, 5:01 am

IPFS looks very interesting. I should look into this some more.

As for "FileCoin," though.... It seems to me that cryptocurrencies generally will eventually be outlawed, for environmental reasons, given the amount of computing power they consume.


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WonderWoman
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07 Dec 2021, 2:18 pm

Thanks, Mona Pereth. Engineers are working very hard at addressing the computing power they consume. I'm still learning about it, but I'll report back as I learn more about how successful they are. Thanks for voicing this major concern.


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07 Dec 2021, 9:16 pm

Hate to break the news - but the "dark web" has been decentralized and operating for many years now.

The internet is like a big city - there are a lot of parts of it. Some you know and some you don't. And - trust me there are some parts you would rather not visit.

The "dark web" is one part i really don't need to visit.


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WonderWoman
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07 Dec 2021, 11:05 pm

I really appreciate your insights. I’ll keep them in mind.


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naturalplastic
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08 Dec 2021, 6:02 am

In what sense is the Web "centralized" in the first place?



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08 Dec 2021, 6:22 am

naturalplastic wrote:
In what sense is the Web "centralized" in the first place?

I'm just spitballing here:

It's not that the Internet itself is centralized, per se, but rather any given website is effectively self-contained. Anyone can visit, but the site itself is located on a select set of servers. Ever get an error message (Wrong Planet has had cloud errors before)?

REAL WORLD example: It's like, anyone can come into the store, but the store itself is owned and controlled by one person. If they don't show up for work that day, the store is locked, and you can't get it. If the owner decides to close shop, the store is gone. If the government wants to use eminent domain to bulldoze the shop, it's gone. Stores (collectively) aren't centralized. But each individual location is centralized.

What this decentralized web sounds like is akin to file sharing. As with Peer-to-Peer (P2P) music file sharing. Instead of EVERYTHING being in one place, the "stuff" is spread out over multiple places, with individuals and their home computers acting a servers. If my computer is off, there's still a chance dozens or hundreds of other people are hosting. Essentially, instead of ONE server, the "stuff" that makes a website is fractionalized and the computers of individual users all host a piece.

Problem is, if not enough people are active, the website will lag. Like with a co-op, if too many people call out sick or can't be bothered, the few who show up to work can't run the place all by their lonesome.



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08 Dec 2021, 10:27 am

What are the solutions? Do we just remain sitting ducks?


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Fenn
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08 Dec 2021, 8:52 pm

parts of "the internet" are centralized. I cannot get "on the internet" unless I have an ISP (Internet Service Provider). TLD (Top Level Domain) names are centralized. DNS is somewhat centralized, and somewhat decentralized.

As things stand, if Twitter wants to ban Trump they can. Some people consider that "the web". If you WANT Trump to be banned you may think "that is good" but then you have to stop and think who will be banned next and why and who gets to decide.

Think of how the ability to own a printing press was part of the US revolution against the British.

So in some sense "the internet" is centralized. Facebook and Twitter and a small number of others "are" the internet from some people's point of view. It all depends on how you look at it. Silicon Valley or the USA could be seen as having an unfair share of the power. ATT and Verizon (etc) might be seen as holding the reigns. Do you use gmail? Do you think your e-mail is private? Could the FBI or the "bad guys" get at the information on your iPhone if they wanted to? Originally "the internet" was US Government and academic research (for the US Government) only. Things have changed a lot since then.

The TCP/IP and HTTP standards are all open - anyone can create a cluster of computers (or even non-computers) using the standards. But the internet as it stands has some centralized pieces - or some "more centralized" pieces.

The dark web is kind of a network on top of a network. It is a bit like "the black market" - it is there and it is hidden, but not hidden. Encryption and block-chain and things like BitTorent and decedents mean that "less centralized" pieces exist.

You can read more here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_web

Also relevant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremvax

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-level_domain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_ ... _Authority

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_privacy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberterrorism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_(network)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_St ... iness_Team


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08 Dec 2021, 10:26 pm

What about protocols like IPFS, where content is addressed as per its contents, not its location. Sure, if it’s distributed, and nobodies online with it, you can’t get it, but it solves another problem: if it moves, no problem bc you id it by its unchangeable contents. And further, what if you broke it up into chunks and paid people with filecoin for verifying its availability, then you solve both problems?


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Last edited by WonderWoman on 08 Dec 2021, 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

WonderWoman
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08 Dec 2021, 10:31 pm

@Fenn As for dark web, FB and Twitter (the “internet” lol), are doing a lousy job at protecting people from stuff that will burn your eyes, sounds like they have even facilitated direct abuse and trafficking.


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08 Dec 2021, 10:51 pm

@naturalplastic The web is centralized in the sense that most of its content is controlled by Big Tech: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple… If you don’t support their profit and propaganda and bow down to them, you are censored, marginalized, demonized, demonitized, banned, audience lost, apps off apple, youtubes down, tweets and posts throttled (which can be worse than being temporarily taken off bc you can never build up an audience). Who died and made them king? I say, “Let’s take the internet” for our benefit, not their profit.


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Fenn
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09 Dec 2021, 9:51 pm

WW
At one time large parts of the US were the "wild wild west" and the only "law" was guns and tenacity.
From a cultural stand point "law and order" have a practical value.
Parts of the internet are the "wild wild west" now. Cyberspace is only partially science fiction.
Things like terrorists buying guns, human trafficking, money laundering, rape and torture and the money related to it really exist and the internet, the "dark web" make all of this possible.
Hippies and free thinkers and "privacy" advocates are only part of the picture.
There really are "bad guys" and they really can flourish in the "wild wild west".
Cyber terrorism may include shutting down power grids which may end in people not being able to get health care of life support. Real cybersecurity experts talk about "influence campaigns" that both China and Russia are involved in (and the US too) and may really influence elections in countries small and large. Being able to distinguish between political lies and real facts is getting harder. Especially when the point of the lie is not to convince people the lie is true, but to hide the real truth.
As a computer professional I have stopped listening to politicians almost entirely when they talk about the internet. But that does not mean there there are not really "bad guys". Any big city has them. Any country has them. The internet has them.

I read and understand the details in security bulletins. It is not all smoke and mirrors.

A black hat can steal information but they can also sometimes control things, or break things.
Both can be powerful if aimed well and coupled with other forms of power (like political, economic or military).
Government spooks can have all the same tools - or they can hire them - think "cyber-mercenaries".
Big businesses can too. Or organized crime.
A small handful of VERY knowledgeable people can operate independently for any purpose that motivates them.

The thing people have to understand is this: all internet security / cyber security comes down to "one smart man ties a knot, another smart man unties it".

A lot of things depend on motivation. You can do (nearly) anything given enough time and money.


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10 Dec 2021, 12:23 am

So, sounds like you're saying (not sure): OK, some of these techniques may help...at least temporarily, but they can be gotten around. Is that the gist of it?

Isn't the job of cybersecurity to stay on top of each new type of attack and work to thwart it? There's always a next plan. I think the current one has failed and we're behind.


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naturalplastic
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10 Dec 2021, 5:47 am

WonderWoman wrote:
@naturalplastic The web is centralized in the sense that most of its content is controlled by Big Tech: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple… If you don’t support their profit and propaganda and bow down to them, you are censored, marginalized, demonized, demonitized, banned, audience lost, apps off apple, youtubes down, tweets and posts throttled (which can be worse than being temporarily taken off bc you can never build up an audience). Who died and made them king? I say, “Let’s take the internet” for our benefit, not their profit.

So ... the internet is just like every other media. And we all live with that. Not being able to publish our own books.

So ...what exactly IS this "problem" to be "solved"?