Distributed Blogging

One of the problems with blogging is censorship.

Blogging on a web platform like Blogger, Wordpress.com, Tumblr, and so on, you live under the threat that the authorities who run the platform might at any time take a dislike to you or what you write, and censor it.

But the problem here is the gatekeeper, which derives from the larger problem of choke points.

Wherever a choke point exists on the web, there is the danger that somebody might put the squeeze on it. And choke you off.

This is related to the problem Dave Winer and Richard Stallman talk about concerning ‘walled gardens’ and ‘silos’ but it goes beyond that to something the Internet was created to solve, but which has been lost in the way we use the WWW.

I can save my data, what I write, on various hard drives in various places. If my house burns down, I can have backups elsewhere.

But there is only one line between me and the WWW. There is only one line between any of my readers and the WWW. So the ISPs involved could always block communication at one end (mine) or the other (the reader’s). And where does my text live on the WWW? Even here in Fargo, my text exists at Dropbox online. I have a copy here on my local machine, and I can dupe that copy on any number of hard drives in many locations – but Small Picture can only ask Fargo to find this text from the online Dropbox files.

We need something like the Freedom Box. But we also need distributed networks, many Freedom Boxes working in a system or network, using peer to peer sharing software, encrypting and sending each person’s blog posts on lots of other people’s boxes. Not only copying and backing up the posts, but making them available. That is: if you go to read my blog, normally you would find the posts on my own box. But if my box goes offline, the software would just route around the problem, in the original vision of the Darpa geeks who made the internet, and load up the posts from some other Freedom Box, probably the nearest box to where you are.

This gets us to the ideal of the WWW from the glorious days of 1993 and goes beyond them. In short, every computer connecting to the internet should be both host and client, and we should all be sharing one another’s content so none of it is vulnerable.

This is really really really important for users who live under and oppose oppressive regimes.

  • (And as Edward Snowden has shown the world, it is looking more and more like every regime is an oppressive regime. Or if it is not oppressive now, it soon will be.)

Last built: Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 3:58 PM

By SWP Pond, Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 12:12 PM. So, it has come to this.