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[Slashdot] - Does the Internet Need a New Architecture that Puts Users First?

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Two VoIP pioneers argue in a Wired opinion piece that "Treating the internet like a public utility only bolsters the platform giants," adding "A more secure model starts with control by the people." As we rely on the internet more and more for work, social connections, and basic needs, it is time to talk about the future of meaningful online experiences, and the need for a new internet architecture. We need a user-focused, localized internet. This competitive architecture would deliver an experience that values real-time connectivity over one-way advertising and puts control with the user, not with big tech platforms. This paradigm would flip the model on its head, letting people start with complete privacy and security, and from there allow them to open their channels depending on trust level. It inverts the terms of service, where instead of any platform imposing them on users, users impose theirs terms on the platform. A new architecture that competes with the "public" internet is completely possible, and it begins with a policy approach that fosters the necessary innovation and investment, while allowing for flexibility and experimentation. Fixing the internet is not rooted in treating it like a public utility; it is not to be found in micromanagement by government. In fact, those very backward-looking policies only fuel more harm by protecting the status quo, which is likely why big tech platforms have been so fervently pushing for them... As we argued in challenges to the 2015 Federal Communications Commission's public-utility-based Net Neutrality rules, this also kills investment, startups, and new innovation... [T]he public internet we experience today created the trillion-dollar tech platforms, but it allows for a few entities in Silicon Valley to colonize the entire planet and kill consumer choice. Six companies control 43 percent of all internet traffic. Of those six, three — Google, Facebook, and Amazon — receive 70 percent of all digital ad revenue in the U.S... Exposing everyone to the equivalent of homelessness online for the purposes of selling advertising already exceeds the tolerance of most of us. There exist more valuable uses of connectivity in support of human productivity than conjuring ever expanding modes of performance and creepy surveillance to drive advertising revenues.

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