When the internet was created, all those eons ago, people did so with the intent of creating a common platform where one could log on and access knowledge from each other. Here they could share information of their location of origin, and also create a world that was without any boundaries. In the year 1990, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist, invented the World Wide Web. He was working on the principle of a network of networks. While the seeds of the same had been planted back in 1983, it took them all this while to officially create the internet. Later on in 1991, it was officially released to the public. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the internet has changed the way the world operates.
While at the time of its creation, one could not have conceived that it would be controlled by a handful of IT giants who use it and manipulate its data for their selfish means. Online privacy and freedom of speech has become a joke as far as the massive data breaches are concerned. So, what is its alternative? No one can go toe to toe against Google or Microsoft and claim that they are in the wrong. One can’t simply hold Facebook accountable for the blatant manipulation of our data to get a candidate elected in an election. What we need to do is stop this crazy train and get off it! But, the way our world now operates, is dependent heavily on the web. With acts being created that shall curb ‘Net Neutrality’ soon, how shall one then protect themselves from being manipulated and taken for a ride by these IT giants?
Alternative Web: A Pipeline Dream
Skeptics of the current state of the web claim to have found a solution. Those in the know murmur of an alternative web. A network that operates parallel to the current one. On it, the very basic architecture of the internet shall be different. One won’t be bound to certain search engines for information and certain social media platforms for connectivity.
While this may sound like a dream from a utopian sci-fi movie, it does have the potential to become a reality.
Currently, there are a few options that are available to us. The very first one is Blockchain Technology. This concept of decentralized internet has the potential to disrupt the current network and eventually create a free internet for all. Already there are many social media platforms that are operating on Blockchain technology.
The second is by creating a mesh network to access the internet. Many are actively using this method for accessing the internet after net neutrality was revoked. The key to creating a mesh network is by having multiple nodes spread across an area. These nodes communicate with each other and create a signal for one to use. A Wifi Pod works as a node here. This mesh (cluster) of nodes gives one a signal powerful enough to override the net one gets from local service providers the same IPs that are eagerly waiting to take over the internet according to their whims and fancy. A fact that such mesh networks have become so popular that there are now communities of people who are providing this service in a selected area is a testament of this becoming a reality.
A real applicable example of the same is the New York Mesh. In it, nodes are placed strategically across the city and helps people access net without relying on the vulture like internet providers. The users of this mess are charged only for the amount of data they have used.
Similar mesh network also exists in Spain. It is called Guifi and covers a large part of the country!
While such applications may not seem to be practical, steps are being taken to take back the internet from the power and data hungry corporates. Maybe now, we can say, ‘I’m one with the Force. The Force is with me.’ Afterall, we choose it!