How Wikileaks & Operation Payback Have Exposed Infrastructure That Should Be Decentralized, But Isn't
from the real-trend dept
The classic line about how “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it,” is certainly being proven true yet again these days, but there is an interesting corollary that might be worth considering in this as well: which is that sometimes these attempts at censorship expose the need for new routes, and those routes are quickly created.
We’ve been pointing out repeatedly for a while now that the real issue we’re witnessing with things like Wikileaks and Operation Payback is the confusion a centralized/closed system has when it comes up against a more distributed and open system. Much of what we’ve seen concerning both Wikileaks and Operation Payback over the past few weeks is exposing the cracks in the system where things that should be more decentralized and distributed are not.
However, it seems that each time new centralized intermediaries spring up to cause problems, all it’s really done is to drive more people to figure out ways to create more distributed and decentralized alternatives. We’ve already discussed a more decentralized DNS system, but now the EFF is listing out a variety of distributed and decentralized projects that it hopes will help people route around censorship attempts.
As the EFF notes, many of those individual projects probably won’t succeed or catch on, but others will. In a few years, it will be interesting to look back and see just how many new, more distributed and decentralized infrastructure systems really came out of the “fights” we’re seeing splashed across the news today. The real shame, of course, is that the US government, who has been speaking so forcefully about being against online censorship over the last year or so, may ultimately be the leading cause for these new infrastructure tools to be built, and not because it supported them directly, but because of its current attempts at censorship.