Plan B for the Internet

I’ve been a wild advocate for the Internet since the beginning, and I still believe in it as a massively liberating technology… but not in the current, popular form. The Internet that we know has been recaptured by the power mongers with a massive assist from hucksters. It is, to be very honest about it, all but finished. And considering the massive inertia and mindless obedience of the dominant 9/11 culture, it won’t be saved.


I’ve been a wild advocate for the Internet since the beginning, and I still believe in it as a massively liberating technology… but not in the current, popular form. The Internet that we know has been recaptured by the power mongers with a massive assist from hucksters. It is, to be very honest about it, all but finished. And considering the massive inertia and mindless obedience of the dominant 9/11 culture, it won’t be saved.

So, we need a Plan B. Many people don’t want to think about such a thing, and while I understand their hesitation, I can’t endorse anyone taking the ‘ostrich position.’

That being the case, I’ll start right out with the naked truth:

Big Brother is now called “Internet.”

Using the existing Internet, as most people do, involves Big Brother reading your mind and sticking his fingers into your brain. And that’s not something that is ‘coming soon’; it is something that is here NOW… and it’s getting worse all the time.

I’ll pass up the details in this article; I’ve covered them repetitively in the past. Whoever doesn’t want to believe me is entitled to his or her choice.

Plan A2

Plan A2 is the one I’ve been talking about for a decade or more: protecting your Internet traffic. I should warn you, however, that this gets harder every day. And that means that fast, easy, and cheap is not possible. To be clear: If you’re using cut-rate protection, you’re not protected.

Yes, I have a dog in this fight – I manage the Cryptohippie Service – but what I’m writing is true all the same. Cheap privacy services are not going to protect you these days. You need professional systems (with their own private key infrastructure, multiple hops, DNS, etc.).

You can still protect yourself (see this guide) but it’s real work… as in spending hours of focused effort, and consistently.

Beyond these things, you MUST stop using free services, especially Google and Facebook. They are the tele-screens from 1984 and are in some ways worse. Like it or not, that’s the truth.

The problem with Plan A2 is that you have to pay for it. It does still work (which is why Big Brother’s operators would like to outlaw anonymity services), but it isn’t free.

Plan A2 flies in the face of the triumphant Internet hucksters who have conned nearly the entire planet into believing that there really is such a thing as a free lunch. And reason be damned, the planet has fallen for it.

Ah well.

Plan B

Plan B is far simpler and easier than you’d guess: It’s to build our own networks. Here are the two major pieces:

Mesh networks. Meshes are local networks built with standard Wi-Fi components. They are cheap and fairly easy to build, especially after the first one or two. And they can cover large areas. In fact, a rural mesh network in Spain connects some 30,000 users. Here’s a list of mesh networks around the world.

Connections. Connecting networks can be accomplished by any number of means: fibers, radio links, phone lines, and so on. The one method that I particularly like is packet radio.

All sorts of things can be added to this base. Here are two that I like:

Ferry nodes. These are individual nodes (computers) that connect to both a mesh and the big Internet, ferrying data between the two: emails, page updates, etc.

FidoNet. FidoNet is a system for sending and receiving messages. But unlike the standard Internet, it doesn’t require real-time transmission. In other words, it is perfect for a mesh network that synchs with remote email servers only four times per day, for example. (This breaks the Big Brother Internet’s ability to correlate traffic… to read your mind so easily.)

You could easily go far beyond my short list, but this is a strong start. The External Links section of the Wikipedia mesh page would be a great place to start looking for further information and ideas.

The leading edge and the oppressed are already getting busy with mesh networks. This is where intelligent and ethical energies need to be spent, because the existing Internet is all but gone for anyone who wants some distance from Big Brother.

If you’re looking to start doing something that matters, I can barely think of a better area in which to start. If you have any technical skill at all, you’ll find it accessible. Building mesh networks requires fairly little cash and it is of major importance.

So, I recommend that you jump in and start building and start communicating with other people who are doing the same thing.

Then, once you understand what you’re doing, start innovating.

This is a line of work that’s worthy of your time and energy.

Paul Rosenberg

Big Brother Is in High Gear

bigbroSocial media and smart phones don’t have to be evil – there’s nothing bad about talking to your friends, after all – but right now social media and “Big Brother in your pocket” phones are very clearly servicing evil. It wouldn’t be hard to build non-evil alternatives, but for the moment, the evil versions enjoy a monopoly. (At least with search engines, there are non-evil alternatives.)

However we choose to look at it, Big Brother is on the greatest roll in all of history. No Pharaoh, no Caesar, no commissar ever had anything approaching the surveillance and manipulation capacities of modern rulers. And in support of it all stand Jane and Joe Average, ever-compliant, who simply don’t want to know. Give them the slightest excuse to close their eyes, and they will.

This kind of thing doesn’t often end well.

Two Recent Outrages

Not that many people will actually be outraged, of course; there won’t be a great deal of that so long as ignorance remains possible. Joe and Jane have already forgotten about Snowden, after all. Still, I will continue to do my part.

One of the hundreds of US government offices, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently announced that they developed a system to predict the psychological status of smartphone users. They’re in the process of farming this out to businesses now.

This system tracks your location, tracks your psychological state, and when necessary, will “deliver an automated intervention.” In the NIH’s typical gov-speak, it sounds like this:

Continuously collected ambulatory psychological data are fused with data on location and responses to questions. The mobile data are combined with geospatial risk maps to quantify exposure to risk and predict a future psychological state. The future predictions are used to warn the user when he or she is at especially high risk of experiencing a negative event that might lead to an unwanted outcome…

This is all couched as “help for drug addicts,” of course. (Is “do it for the children” already out of the rotation?) No thinking person, of course, believes that this system will be used only “for good” and by beneficent angelic beings. And if not, then how shall it be used?

The second recent outrage was a long list of manipulations that were cataloged by The Washington Post. They make it very clear that the US government is actively manipulating its populace. Their list is only a small fraction of the whole, of course, but I was grateful to see it.

And from the Glorious United Nations…

Yes, the shining white knights at the UN are chiming in with their new plans to protect us from all evil.

As Mike Krieger reports, the UN (to protect women from harassment, of course),

proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only ‘license’ those who agree to do so.

So, if you wish to run any kind of “social” network (do comment boards count?), you’d have to be licensed. And if not, you’ll be a law-breaker. Granted, the UN pushes out destructive ideas all the time, and many are never implemented but some of them are. And this isn’t the first idea like this I’ve seen.

From Here, It Gets Ugly

A few months ago, I devoted an entire issue of my subscription newsletter (#59) to the subject of what’s coming next from the Big Brother crew, and it’s not comforting.

Do you remember old episodes of Star Trek where a civilization became controlled by computers and eventually no one moved without the system moving them? Well, that’s where Big Brother is headed, and their new Big Data systems are capable of reaching that kind of result.

Yes, I know it sounds farfetched. So did the lectures I was giving in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and even earlier. And then came Snowden, and it didn’t sound so farfetched anymore.

My job is to deliver information. What you do with it is up to you. Still, to provide some backup, here’s a reminder of the infamous Facebook experiment that came and went from the newsfeed in early 2012:

Facebook ran a troubling set of experiments on 689,000 of its users, to determine if they could tweak their news feeds and purposely change their users’ emotions. And it turned out that they could… and that those emotions spread to their friends.

What they’ve been doing along these lines since then, we don’t know. We learned about this experiment more or less by accident.


And so, I’ll close here. I feel I have discharged my duties. Make of it what you will.

Paul Rosenberg