Reclaiming the Internet

Reclaiming the Internet

Breaking Free from the Internet Monopoly

Image Source: Carve Podcasts

Are you tired of the internet being dominated by a handful of companies with immense power over our digital lives? Do you long for a freer, more open internet where you have more choice and control? Well, you’re not alone. In this week’s episode of Have a Nice Future, Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode sit down with Cory Doctorow, a writer, internet activist, and author of “The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation,” to discuss how monopoly power has made the internet a miserable place and what we can do to reclaim our digital freedom.

Doctorow’s book delves into the increasing concentration of power in the hands of tech giants and the detrimental effects it has had on the internet. “The internet isn’t just like a video-on-demand service or a surveillance system… It’s like the one wire that delivers free speech, free press, freedom of association, civics, politics, education, nutrition, romance, family life,” says Doctorow. But with the dominance of these tech companies, the internet has become less free, less open, and filled with endless surveillance and data exploitation.

One of the key concepts Doctorow explores is interoperability, the ability of different systems and platforms to work together seamlessly. In the early days of the internet, messaging was decentralized and interoperable, allowing users to connect across various platforms easily. However, as the internet evolved, centralized experiences and corporate interests took over, leading to a lack of interoperability and consumer lock-in.

Why is messaging such a critical example of interoperability? Messaging was foundational to the early consumer internet, but as it became more centralized, users found themselves locked into one system or ecosystem, making it challenging to switch between platforms. The crux of Doctorow’s argument is that interoperability gives consumers freedom of choice, enabling them to use the platforms they prefer without the high cost of leaving.

Doctorow’s passionate arguments are not just empty rants about the state of the internet; he offers solutions. In his book, he advocates for a future where interoperability is embraced, tech companies are forced to compete on a level playing field, and users have control over their own data. His perspective is in line with the recent movements towards regulation and antitrust actions against big tech companies. Doctorow believes that competition and regulation are crucial forces that can help restore balance and give consumers more control over their online experiences.

So how can we achieve this vision of a freer, more open internet? Cory Doctorow suggests that public debate needs to shift from thinking of data as a valueless commodity to recognizing its true value and the cost of giving it away. We need to reeducate ourselves and others about the benefits of interoperability and the dangers of monopolistic control. While breaking up big tech companies seems like a distant dream, the first step towards reclaiming our digital lives lies in making them more interoperable, allowing users to have more freedom and choice.

The conversation with Doctorow leaves listeners questioning the current state of the internet and the role of technology in our lives. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the power and influence of big tech, there is hope in the growing awareness and movement towards change. By demanding interoperability, supporting regulation, and promoting competition, we can work towards a future where the internet is once again a place of freedom, creativity, and connection.

So let’s break free from the internet monopoly and seize the means of computation. The power is in our hands, and it’s time to take back control of our digital lives.

This article is based on the Have a Nice Future podcast episode featuring Cory Doctorow, hosted by Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode. The podcast explores the impact of monopoly power on the internet and offers insights into reclaiming our digital freedom.