The inter­net is bro­ken. We need a new one: The Internext

This article is also available in German.

#tldr: Decentralized networks sprout up like mushrooms. They have the potential to replace the old Internet dominated by monopolies and states and to return freedom to the internet users.

If you take a closer look at the state of the Internet today, you can only come to the conclusion that it is broken, distorted and misappropriated. What began as a project of academics, researchers, programmers, and creatives has been turned into a swamp of commerce, surveillance, and censorship by the economic and governmental sectors. On the economic side, a few large corporations determine the destiny of the Internet. Everyone knows Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon: by the way, all US companies. They monopolize data, data streams, content, advertising, socio-economic personal profiles, and not least the technological development, that is the future of the Internet. Unfortunately, consumers are lazy enough to give these monopolists their own personal data, such as e-mail, surfing habits, search history and documents, as they can benefit from free services in return. These data are converted into gold by being sold, traded, resold, expanded, and then thrown back to consumers in the form of targeted and tailored ads. A billion-dollar business where the consumer only loses!

Of course, the expenses of this gigantic surveillance are borne by the supervised ones themselves: pure, absolute madness!

The state actors, on the other hand, play "cyberwar" and "robbers & police", mine and wiretap free communication and actively promote the weakening of the entire IT infrastructure boosting the black market by buying security holes. In other words, states use taxpayer money to buy criminal software. To hunt criminals, the services of criminals are used. A twisted logic that is certainly still decorated with many abstruse politician excuses. Furthermore, states - now also Switzerland - are releasing a nationwide, disproportionate surveillance apparatus to their own people, who, of course, don't mind in ignorance of the matter or even because of irrational panic. In Switzerland, the BÜPF ensures that as of March 1, 2018, all connection data of all devices is stored for half a year. Of course, the expenses of this gigantic surveillance are borne by the supervised ones themselves: pure, absolute madness! If the state wanted to record all our interpersonal connections and contacts in reality, those responsible would have long since been removed from their democratically transferred positions. The people who are overwhelmed with the operation of their smartphone, just do not understand the processes in the digital space and blindly follow a few wolves in sheep's clothing. So we must the fact that the Internet, the basis of our modern communication, has been completely undermined by democratic or totalitarian states, too. For example, let everyone judge for themselves whether the serious security holes (Meltdown & Spectre) that have existed for years in modern processors, computing units of any computer, are a product of chance, misplanning or deliberate state infiltration.

People need to reclaim and get back control of their communications and data.

The Internet has moved away from its original purpose, communication between people, has become a self-service store and marketplace of personal data. Facebook, for example, a platform that offers people the opportunity to share images, interests and opinions, utilizes and sells the profiles of their users to advertising companies or other interested parties. Of course, the users agree with this by accepting the terms of use unread. Facebook knows its participants inside out, maybe better than they know themselves. Is that a fair deal: communication vs. Sale of the person profile? That is just the downside of these centralized and monopolized communication platforms. The users actually sell themselves without being aware of it. Anyone with an Android smartphone should log in to myactivity.google.com to find out that Google is logging their entire digital and real life. Which app was updated when? Where was the user? What was she or he looking for? These data are recorded there on the second. (Note: Pay attention to your login details). State authorities can only dream of it. However, all this actually has nothing to do with the internet that Tim Berners-Lee designed 27 years ago. At this point, a line must be drawn. People need to reclaim and get back control of their communications and data. This is possible in the near future, without central monopolists, without centralized services, without central servers, without total surrender of his life and soul.

The next network gives people control over their data and communication.

There are several ways to protect yourself from this absolute surveillance and control of communication. However, in the end, these patches only reveal how broken the Internet already is. That's why it's high time to reinvent the Internet. The next network gives people control over their data and communication back. And this is not an unrealistic vision of the future, as the technologies are ready, and countless projects for a decentralized, distributed and encrypted Internet are in the starting blocks. The core technology that will power this Internet is the Blockchain. It is an encrypted, non-manipulatable, distributed chain of transactions or actions. This technology is paired with Bittorrent, Tor, DHT, encryption, file splitting and distributed file systems. Here is a brief overview of various projects that are striving to design a decentralized and secure Internet. Incidentally, this includes the «Solid» project by "Internet Inventor" Tim Berners-Lee.

Distributed internet platforms:
Beaker browser
Zeronet
Peergos
Substratum
Solid
Maidsafe
Blockstack

Distributed Mobile Messenger:
Ring

Secure Bittorrent client:
Tribler

Distributed trading platform:
Open Bazaar

Distributed social platforms:
Scuttlebutt
Sphere

Distributed file systems:
Interplanetary File System (IPFS)
Dat Project

Distributed storage:
Storij
Sia
Bitdust

Decentralized Facebook replacement:
Diaspora

Distributed computing power:
Golem Project

The "old" anonymous networks:
I2P
Freenet Project (not to be confused with the German e-mail provider)

Yet, monetization of the new Internet can not be in the interests of the users. At the moment, that's already happening enough.

Of course, not all gold is what glitters. Many of these projects are still in their infancy. Other projects of this kind undoubtedly serve to link a digital currency to services. Yet, monetization of the new Internet can not be in the interests of the users. At the moment, that's already happening enough. In addition, such projects must necessarily be open developments, so that the control remains with the users. Proprietary projects don't contribute to an open, free Internet, because this is again associated with a centralization and monopolization of the Internet. It is up to the reader to decide which of the above projects are "open source". However, it is noteworthy that the popular browser Firefox in version 59 accepts the decentralized protocols of IPFS , Dat and Secure Scuttlebutt. One may therefore be curious about future addons that use these protocols.

This strengthens the data and personality protection softened to the worst in today's Internet.

But what are the advantages of a decentralized network? These decentralized networks are first and foremost incredibly censorship-resistant. That will not appeal to democratic or totalitarian states. The data is just not centrally on a server at a provider, but encrypted and distributed among all participants in the network. Web pages and documents will be hard to remove because hundreds of thousands or even millions of people around the world need to be removed from the web. Data is also stored redundantly, so that the loss of personal data is almost impossible. Furthermore, the participants have an increased control over their personal data and what they reveal about themselves. There may even be some form of anonymity or pseudonymity. This strengthens data and personality protection softened to the worst in today's Internet. In any case, criminal prosecution will not be thwarted, as the lifting of the «Silkroad» drug and weapons portal has shown. Solid, targeted and traditional investigation work will have to replace the nonsensical mass surveillance of innocent citizens. Democracy will definitely be strengthened. Not much is likely to change for copyright holders as they are already facing a flood of copyright infringements. However, the prosecution and suppression of copyright infringements is likely to be somewhat more difficult. Perhaps this will lead to a rethinking of the content providers, who considered the fans of their products as enemies.

The social consequences of decentralized networks will not be insignificant and, at best, overthrow one or the other dictatorship as well as strengthen "democracies on the wrong side".