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Whose Web Is It Anyway?

bruce lawson
September 17, 2020

Whose Web Is It Anyway?

Who decides web standards? Who decides what gets implemented in browsers? Who does your browser work for? And, most importantly, why did Vladimir Putin's communist nipples get me banned from Facebook last week?

bruce lawson

September 17, 2020

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  1. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Tim Berners-Lee Takes the Stand to Keep the

    Web Free Jennifer Doan, a Texarkana lawyer representing Yahoo and Amazon, led the questioning. When Berners-Lee invented the web, did he apply for a patent on it, Doan asked. "No," said Berners-Lee. Doan: "And who owns the web?" Berners-Lee: "We do." https://www.wired.com/2012/02/tim-berners-lee-patent/
  2. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act "No

    provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
  3. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It? Mike

    Godwin designed to empower internet companies to remove offensive, disturbing, or otherwise subscriber-alienating content without being liable for whatever else their users posted. The idea was that companies might be afraid to censor anything because in doing so, they would take on responsibility for everything. Co-counsel in Reno v. ACLU (1997), a constitutional challenge to the Communications Decency Act
  4. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It? Mike

    Godwin Another thing we clearly got wrong is how large platforms would rise to dominate their markets Back in the 1990s, we thought that a thousand website flowers would bloom and no single company would be dominant. https://slate.com/technology/2020/02/three-decades-internet- freedom-activism.html
  5. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk “I Have Blood on My Hands” “I’ve found

    multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions. I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count.” - quoted in Buzzfeed, 14 September 2020 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/craigsilverman/facebook-ignore-political-manipulation-whistleblower-memo
  6. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Springer law suit The claim is that ABP

    changes the programming code of websites in order to block inventory, and that this is illegal and infringes publisher copyright. “Advertising blockers change the programming code of websites and thus directly access the legally protected offer of publishers,” Claas-Hendrik Soehring, head of media law at Axel Springer told German site Heise. https://digiday.com/media/inside-axel-springers-war-adblock-plus/
  7. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk WTF FFS OMG <head desk> “Compared to the

    original version of HTML, to which many statements still refer with respect to the property of a program, HTML5 shows many characteristics of a programming language, such as concrete control statements. For example, these control statements - or commands - cause the computer with a browser to at least maintain certain priorities when processing programs ("block - i.e. immediately now" (default), "only at the very end" (defer) or "parallel" (async)). This means that the requirements for a computer program, such as those mentioned in the Response to Claim, are met.” "the case law defines a computer program as "a sequence of commands which, when recorded on a machine-readable medium, are capable of causing a machine with information processing capabilities to display, execute or achieve a specific function or task or a specific result”
  8. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk It’s a USER agent Over the course of

    its existence, the web has accumulated a multitude of standards and common patterns. While most of these are beneficial for both developers and users, if abused (intentionally or otherwise) web APIs can sometimes be a detriment to user experience. An intervention is when a user agent decides to deviate slightly from a standardized behavior in order to provide a greatly enhanced user experience. Because of its nature, it must be done sparingly and with extreme prudence. https://github.com/WICG/interventions
  9. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk RFC8890: The Internet is for End Users “When

    a decision improves the Internet for end users in one jurisdiction, but at the cost of potential harm to others elsewhere, that is not a good tradeoff. As such, we effectively design the Internet for the pessimal environment.” So at its heart, The Internet is for End Users is a call for IETF participants to stop pretending that they can ignore the non-technical consequences of their decisions, a call for broader consultation when making them, and one for continued focus on the end user. Ultimately, end user impact is as least as important as the technical considerations of a proposal. https://www.mnot.net/blog/2020/08/28/for_the_users
  10. @brucel, www.brucelawson.co.uk Godwin: When ordinary people are empowered to come

    together and work on a common, humanity-benefiting project like Wikipedia, unexpectedly great and positive things can happen. Wikipedia is not the anomaly my journalist friend thinks it is. Instead, it’s a promise of the good works that ordinary people freed by the internet can create. I no longer argue primarily that the explosion of freedom of expression and diverse voices, facilitated by the internet, is simply a burden we dutifully have to bear. Now, more than I ever did 30 years ago, I argue that it’s the solution.
  11. THANKS ’N’ SNOGS! brucelawson.co.uk @brucel * Other Bruce Lawsons are

    available. ** known to cause nausea in some jurisdictions.
  12. THANKS ’N’ ELBOW BUMPS! brucelawson.co.uk @brucel * Other Bruce Lawsons

    are available. ** known to cause nausea in some jurisdictions.