Alternative Visions of Internet-like Connectivity
Largely, state surveillance relies on placing political pressure on centralized information systems — servers where information is unusually well-indexed or through which major conduits of information flow. Recently, a community of open source developers have attempted to re-engineer fundamental internet technologies to remove these central points of weakness. Motivated by a growing awareness of global surveillance practices, their projects expand traditional client-server models by distributing information broadly among the application's users. Collectively, they have implemented blogs, video sites, social networks and even a domain name system using distributed, peer-to-peer datastores. The present research surveys a few of these projects, discusses their motivation and points towards potential directions for future development.
Nick Merrill is a Ph.D. student in the School of Information