Skip

Do you already have your Internet Surfing License?
July 5, 2010 4:53 AM   Subscribe


 
I shouldn't be allowed read this, must have logged into the wrong internet. Better hit the OS flag.
posted by Elmore at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2010


Italy is way ahead on this one.
posted by vacapinta at 5:07 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


GoogleAppleAmazon

Did this article switch genres from science fiction to fantasy when I wasn't looking?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:13 AM on July 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


the slope to butthurt, slippery it is
posted by bonaldi at 5:22 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Depressed yet?
posted by Servo5678 at 5:40 AM on July 5, 2010


Show me a law or a technical restriction and I'll show you a million frothing nerds just itching to find a way around it.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:47 AM on July 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not too worried.

Every step of the way, modafinil-snorting chronic masturbators have always found a way to undercut whatever security measure or pay wall has been put in place. Where the NSA or Google hired the coder who was head of the class and wore a tie to the interview, there's someone who skipped class so he could sit in his boxers and take down SIS/MI6's electrical systems "for the lulz."

Governments and corporations aren't stupid. I think you will start to see them tread lightly in the future.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:51 AM on July 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


On failure to preview, what Happy Dave said.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:52 AM on July 5, 2010


I think you will start to see them tread lightly in the future.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping [lightly] on a human face, forever." - George Orwell.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:00 AM on July 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have to agree. Those are some really cute kitten pictures, especially the way some of them are enjoying RED BULL CNS HYPERSTIMULATOR 5TM. I love the way RED BULL CNS HYPERSTIMULATOR 5TM enhances everything I do on the net. Textures and spatial resolution are just much more, well, more, and with the new intelligent applicator it's even easier to inject, even around sore or troublesome sites!

What do you mean text? It's a photogrid full of kittens being cute and shooting comically tiny doses of RED BULL CNS HYPERSTIMULATOR 5TM.

Wait. You haven't upgraded to the latest patches and blacklists, have you? Shit man, that's dangerous. They'll pull your plugs for that. Get the fuck away from me or I'm calling the fucking cops!
posted by loquacious at 6:01 AM on July 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've never thought about it this way before, but basically what Dave and BB are saying (and I agree): Anonymous will save the internet.
posted by Pertz at 6:01 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to Be Hysterical About Ineternet Regulation (A Guide From 2010)
posted by orville sash at 6:08 AM on July 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched Idiocracy recently, and the scene of what TV had become brought my purchase of another monitor into sharp relief: I have increased the amount of screen real estate the salivating marketroids are desparate to plaster with ads for Facebook Privacy Violator Rhodium and whatnot. I'm now looking to get a vt220/vt320 with an lk201 as a result. And spend my time on gopher.
posted by oonh at 6:14 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So long as beards grow on necks the internet will always be free!
posted by fuq at 6:18 AM on July 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


But Glenn Beck says net neutrality is a socialist plot for Obama to censor the internet!
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:22 AM on July 5, 2010


If the government and/or corporations were able to ruin the internet as a whole, they would have done it a long time ago. Its unfettered, dangerous state is far too useful for everyone.

That said, I still want net neutrality legislation on principle. Especially since you can ruin the internet in a region by setting up a censorship firewall. And tiered internet access would suck, and hurt small businesses. But those are things that ruin it for people with screwed up governments and ISPs. Unless every government and every ISP does that, the internet would still remain strong and full of potential, just with less contributors.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:28 AM on July 5, 2010


Weren't people making these same dystopian predictions about Internet 2010 back in 1995?
posted by box at 6:30 AM on July 5, 2010


Pshaw...next thing you'll be telling me is that the world is heating up and there's nothing we can do to stop it.
posted by briank at 6:35 AM on July 5, 2010


Death of the net predicted. Film at 11.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:46 AM on July 5, 2010


I watched Idiocracy recently, and the scene of what TV had become brought my purchase of another monitor into sharp relief...
That's funny. Out of all the images in that movie, the mega-huge tv screen littered with ads is the one that I had the easiest time accepting as "probably will happen."

As for the basic premise of the piece...I think there's a really enormous "it depends" it all hinges on. And a lot of it is out of our hands. It's no big secret that there a strain of politician and security-minded folk out there who do want filters put on both internet access and content. The terr'ists use it, y'know.

Given the right combination of a conservative (not necessarily Republican...just conservative) government and another big "incident", I could easily see some sort of controls slapped on internet access in the US. I'm not sure, though, how that would manifest itself.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:51 AM on July 5, 2010


I think we often underestimate how much some people, i.e. consumers want the internet to be regulated and organised by somebody.

They find the internet bewildering in its size and scope. That's why the loved the paternalistic banality of AOL, love Google's simplicity, choose Wal-Mart over little local stores.

For the hipsters out there it's not just redneck rubes, either. There's a reason why Apple is so popular that goes beyond its design values and coolness factor - the simplicity of a system that trades choice and control for usability.

If the internet ceases to be neutral it won't necessarily be just because some bad corporation or government stages a landgrab. It'll be partly because some people want a different internet, or at least don't mind if the current one stops being.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:57 AM on July 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


Oh. (This is why I don't comment here, because I so often just don't GET stuff.)

I laughed when I read it, and then I came back here and read the comments. Mental confusion reigned. I went back and clicked on their homepage and read for a while. They strike me as rather pessimistic. And a bit conspiracy-theorist. A tad odd.

I went from laughing to puzzled to scared to relieved to infinity and beyond. In about 9 minutes. I'm exhausted.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:05 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The dystopian Internet is already here. The US, China and lord knows who else have already penetrated Facebook, Google, Omniture, etc to implement broad tracking schemes. Private data providers have legally obtained information from various credit card companies, public records, etc and put this information into very sophisticated databases. CCTV Cameras are passing 16 megapixel resolution which is finally making facial recognition technology reasonably accurate. On the horizon will be camera upgrades to traffic monitoring stations that can pull license plate data with high fidelity. Don't forget even if you don't use Gmail, Hotmail, me, etc; anytime you send an email to anyone on those networks you are mapped as part of their social graphing technology, anytime someone sends you an email from those addresses and cc'd people you are graphed. In summary who needs real id. Also why would they stop pornograpy, porn is the fastest and easiest way to on ramp someone to a materialist culture driven by consumption and instant gratification. Now if you don't mind I'm going to go watch those CPR videos again.
posted by humanfont at 7:06 AM on July 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


This overuses the word "great."
posted by millipede at 7:12 AM on July 5, 2010


The internet will continue to be increasingly regulated.

Other forms of communication will also appear. The cycle will repeat, until government and laws have limits carved in stone.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:47 AM on July 5, 2010


Sounds kinda like an Apple Internet to me.

iTunes, for instance, already has incredibly irritating forced localization down to a T, as well as rampant product placement and a high degree of "censoring" of adult content. The crazy thing is that people seem to love their stuff anyway. It is amazing what wrapping things in cheap, shiny, Chinese plastic can do...
posted by dagny at 7:52 AM on July 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Are your cleared for this content, citizen?
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


COMCAST Basic - Over 75 websites! Only 59.99/mo*!
COMCAST Advantage with Google! - Over 125 websites plus Google Search Apps Suite! Only 79.99/mo!*
COMCAST Elite with Google! - All 500+ internet websites plus Google Search Apps Suite! Only 129.99/mo!*

*- local conditions and monthly usage fees apply. See full conditions for terms of downloads pricing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:13 AM on July 5, 2010 [3 favorites]




There are two impulses at work. The impulse to control information because we know what's good for you, and the impulse to control information in order to monetize it. These are powerful forces. I don't know about the time scale, but I imagine something like this is where we'll end up. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so.

Family safe and corporate controlled. All signs point to yes.
posted by Trochanter at 8:45 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Italy is way ahead on this one.

From the first link: Internet service providers and websites owners will be held responsible if anonymous content is posted.

And suddenly any Italian anonymous forum moved elsewhere, and the internet continued as it always has.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on July 5, 2010


Sounds kinda like an Apple Internet to me.

If only there was a way to unlock their products and use them how you like.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:55 AM on July 5, 2010


If the government and/or corporations were able to ruin the internet as a whole, they would have done it a long time ago. Its unfettered, dangerous state is far too useful for everyone.

Yes, information wants to be free. Yes, it's always in somebody's considerable interest for this not to be so. Yes, this conflict won't be resolved anytime soon. Yes, if forces of interest manage to clamp down on the internets as we know them, something fresh and weird (and conceivably old-fashioned) will pop up in their place ...

Or we're all gonna die.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2010


Oh yeah. I forgot to say that if the internets are outlaws only outlaws will GOOGLE RON PAUL !!!!!111.
posted by fuq at 9:03 AM on July 5, 2010


Wow, that piece was the most ham-handed clunky peice of satire I've read in ages. I agree with all the underlying ideas, and yet I rolled my eyes and clicked back after a few 'graphs.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:12 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


A licence to surf the internet already exists in some places. I started worked for a multinational company in 2004 in the UK. In order to get internet access I had to take a test (which was stored and run locally) which had obviously been written in 1996 and not updated since.

The introductory pages (lots of them) ran through a description of the internet, the WWW, a browser and an HTML page. I seem to remember the verb "to surf" was used a few times, always in quotes. It then described the types of content available and what was appropriate to view at work and what was not.

It then literally asked you whether or not it is appropriate to view pornography/racist/abusive material at work (with a different question for each one). You had a Yes/No checkbox to answer. The whole thing took over 30 minutes due to the sheer number of screens.

At the end you had to print out your "certificate" and fax it to HR in the US.

HR took up to 3 days to approve you and then, and only then, were you deemed capable of "surfing" the internet.
posted by jontyjago at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is amazing what wrapping things in cheap, shiny, Chinese plastic can do...
what bit of the internet isn't wrapped in cheap shiny Chinese plastic, like?

(Well, except the bit of it I share with oonh. These vt320s were wrapped in damn expensive plastic and no mistake)
posted by bonaldi at 9:19 AM on July 5, 2010


They find the internet bewildering in its size and scope. That's why the loved the paternalistic banality of AOL, love Google's simplicity

Where is AOL now? Sure, it introduced a lot of people to the internet, but they moved on.

And I love Google's simplicity too, but that doesn't have anything to do with the bewildering complexity of the internet, per se - it's just because Google's simplicity is a great interface for searching a giant body of comparatively unstructured content.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:37 AM on July 5, 2010


People didn't stop using AOL because they got smarter about the net, they stopped using AOL because broadband became cheap and widely available and AOL never really figured out how to get people with broadband to pay them for a shitty Internet Explorer reskin.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:47 AM on July 5, 2010


Based on the title, I thought the content would just be: "Hey, moron, you're already on the internet, and always are, all the time, if you own a phone, fridge, car, watch, television, or hundreds of other devices...even an old-fashioned 'computer.'
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:02 AM on July 5, 2010


It is amazing what wrapping things in cheap, shiny, Chinese plastic can do...

All of my Apple products have far more metal on the case than plastic...
posted by Huck500 at 10:08 AM on July 5, 2010


Sounds kinda like an Apple Internet to me.

Ooh edgy. Did you think that up yourself?

It makes perfect sense, other than part about being able to go anywhere you want on the internet.
posted by fungible at 10:18 AM on July 5, 2010


The best part is in the future there doesn't appear to be a microsoft or facebook.
posted by birdherder at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not getting rid of my set of World Book Encyclopaedias and my CB radio just yet.


MY TIME WILL MUST COME!
posted by mazola at 11:09 AM on July 5, 2010


Weren't people making these same dystopian predictions about Internet 2010 back in 1995?

Yes. They happened. We now live in a world where the most appealing forms of participation require intensive personal profiles entrusted to entities that explicitly use them to sell things to us, where we are increasingly surrendering personal files to corporate systems, where our exact location can be logged via any GPS enabled phone on standby, and where information that does not help a corporation eventually sell something may not be censored, but is algorithmically consigned to a search page you will never visit, buttressed by spam the provider dutifully logs.

We just accepted it.

There are many ways in which the internet sucks when it didn't have to suck.
posted by mobunited at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh my God, I remember Blogoscoped. I remember how it varied gossip on Google sites with some of the worst godawful fiction. I loved it when I was fifteen.

I think a lot of people really overestimate the passions of our storybook villains here. All the rules and regulations they pass are intended to let them be lazy and work less. Every time I've worked for an "authority figure" the most restrictive rules exist pretty much explicitly to let us stop worrying about X or Y or Z. (When you're actually passionate about keeping people safe, you're a lot more open to nuance and sophistication and so fewer people complain.)

What that means is that so long as the people who don't want to lose certain freedoms keep caring, they'll be relatively safe. I think of it like that scene in The Wire where corrupt lawyer Maurice Levy flips out at the police for fetching him away from his dinner table. First time I saw The Wire that scene meant nothing to me. Second time I realized it was one of the only scenes where Levy doesn't get his way. And he's not cackling and perpetuating evil in that series; he's being evil because it's the laziest way to make a living. If he was bothered more often he'd rather find a new lazy path than keep along his wicked ways.

(Also are we REALLY complaining about iTunes advertising/recommending music? When I listen to music, I see no adverts. When I go to the store, THEN I see adverts and recommendations. That's normal, right?)
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:14 AM on July 5, 2010


BIG error in that piece of prognostication: making the split between "GoogleAppleAmazon Internet" and "DisneyWarnerBrosViacom internet". Considering Steve Jobs' being the single largest Disney stockholder via Pixar, Disney and Apple will inevitably be part of the same Internet while there is no freaking way Jobs will let those goddam Android people at Google in with him. Also, "WarnerBros"? Just "Warner", or "TimeWarner" if the dead tree publishing part hasn't disappeared completely (and even if People Mag is all that's left, they'll hold onto the Time name) . And no Facebook or Microsoft? Sadly, very unlikely. (I'll ignore MSNBC, first of the inevitable strange bedfellowings because it'll never survive some of the other forced partnerships) If there's a "major studio" based internet, it'll likely be under the Hulu brand where most of them are already strange bedfellowing. (I like that term) I can so imagine Jobs and whoever runs NewsCorp (another entity they missed) after Daddy Rupert dies working together building paywalls. So "AppleHulu", "MicrosoftFacebook" (with more likely FB buying MS than vice-versa) and "GoogleAmazonTwitter" maybe. If/when forced to choose, I'll pick "GoogleAmazonTwitter" as the LEAST evil and hope MetaFilter does too.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:22 AM on July 5, 2010


Yes. They happened. We now live in a world where the most appealing forms of participation require intensive personal profiles entrusted to entities that explicitly use them to sell things to us, where we are increasingly surrendering personal files to corporate systems, where our exact location can be logged via any GPS enabled phone on standby, and where information that does not help a corporation eventually sell something may not be censored, but is algorithmically consigned to a search page you will never visit, buttressed by spam the provider dutifully logs.

Er, no. I don't have to give "intensive personal" information to MeFi or email, which is where "appealing forms" of communication occur (Facebook is basically the White Pages, and besides you don't have to give them accurate info). GPS phones don't constantly log your location unless you let them. And search engines have sponsored links, but that doesn't affect organic search results (I know some people don't believe that, but it's true).

So basically some of the stuff you said exists, but it's all opt-in. Just say no. There's no dystopian internet, just some crappy websites that want too much info -- don't give it to them, or fake it, or whatever.
posted by wildcrdj at 11:31 AM on July 5, 2010


You know what sucks about getting older? Satire stops being funny because stuff you thought would never happen, haha, already did.

25 years ago, had I read a novel about people like Bush, Rove, and Cheney, or a network like Fox, I would have laughed.

Now I refuse to see movies like Idiocracy because I no longer assume there's any such thing as too ridiculous/awful/over the top for humanity.

/bitter
posted by emjaybee at 11:34 AM on July 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Anonymous will save the internet."

This is exactly the kind of liberal elite complacency that our government used to swindle us into 2 unauthorized permanent wars. (disclosure: I am a self-described liberal elite, this includes me)

Big content/network megacorps are making sure anonymous cannot save the internet by buying up all the content sources as well as the networks carrying the content - networks that we have previously relied on to carry that content in an unbiased way. We can no longer assume that's how things will work.

If you find this scary at all then I think you're in your right mind. Paranoia is a good thing in this case, because without it we have no safety net. Maybe you should start looking at how to help build guerrilla wifi networks in your area. If compu-hyper-global-mega-net shuts down the real internet, we might just have to build the whole thing again from the ground up. But we did it before, right? Who remembers dialing into a BBS?
posted by cbecker333 at 11:46 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a reason why Apple is so popular that goes beyond its design values and coolness factor - the simplicity of a system that trades choice and control for usability.

My Apple told me to tell you you're absolutely right. I'm sure other people's Apples will chime in soon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So basically some of the stuff you said exists, but it's all opt-in. Just say no. There's no dystopian internet, just some crappy websites that want too much info -- don't give it to them, or fake it, or whatever.

Yep, that's why none of those guys ever make any money. People opt out all over the place and don't leave usable information. Yep. Definitely. Whatever.

But here's the thing: It may amaze you now that we have all pretty much surrendered to the idea that our services are governed by hideously unequal agreements, but you should not in fact have to put up with this shit just because you signed up for something, and sneering that all you have to do is lie/avoid/use a foil container to fashion a Faraday Cage doesn't make that fact go away.

There's so much complicity between people who bilk the marks and their supposed foes who say "I remember Usenet before the plebes came in from AOL! Anyone without early 90s attention to detail doesn't know anything and deserves to be over a barrel!" that it makes me want to puke. It's basically the go-to excuse for every fucked up thing Google does that doesn't involve China.
posted by mobunited at 12:16 PM on July 5, 2010


This article exaggerates a portion of the Internet into a trend. Llet's look at some of these supposed problems that will lead to an Orwellian Internet.

1) Corporate websites exist; would anyone really claim that they shouldn't? But in fact, few corporate or corporate-front sites are used to get unbiased information or communicate. They're usually ignored. People aren't interested in official channels; they naturally want open communication. Considering the cost of bandwidth, it's surprising that so many large websites are not-for-profit or community-run (like MeFi). Point: open Web.

2) A few popular video websites do have DRM: Hulu, Fancast, and ESPN. However, someone looking at the current Web from the year 1999 would be flabbergasted to see that any TV shows are being streamed. This isn't a trend towards evil, but a corporate response to the continued strength of the Internet community, as Hulu is just a shadow in the face of the YouTube monster. Point: open Web.

3) Apple has a popular App Store, yes. But it also has full access to the uncensored Web, complete with video, which renders Steve Jobs' mission of "freedom from porn" utterly futile. Already, every denied app is an Internet-wide scandal in the making. If the iPhone revoked its Web access, there would be rioting in the street of San Francisco. Point: open Web.

4)chan still exists. Point: possible future anti-anonymous movement.

The count stands 3-1 in my mind.
posted by shii at 12:23 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, no, no. Shadowrun had this nailed. What you do, see, is you take your laptop to your nearest phone booth or ATM, and then run a cable from your laptop to your head, and another from your laptop to the terminal. The Internet looks something like a shopping mall filled with extras from TRON.

Also, you will be wearing a trench coat and sporting a mohawk.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:02 PM on July 5, 2010


Nah, sometime around 2065 somebody finally invented wireless. So futuristic!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:43 PM on July 5, 2010


« Older One Man Swiss Army Knife Army.   |   Saving a life can be totally hot! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post