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O conceito de web descentralizada é talvez o mais recente a entrar na discussão, mas carregado com a autoridade dos founding fathers da internet - não que sejamos sensíveis à autoridade de especialistas mas pela importância de reconhecer quando aqueles que criaram algo reconhecem eles próprios que melhor é possível, e para melhor não ficou. Segue-se mashup de um emaranhado de notícias com títulos tão elucidativos como "Reweaving the web”, “How To Break Open The Web”, “Why everything will be gone in a century and how to save it”, “How we will keep the Decentralized Web decentralized”, “The Inventors of the Internet Are Trying to Build a Truly Permanent Web”, “The Fathers of the Internet Revolution Urge Today’s Software Engineers to Reinvent the Web”“The inventor of the Web thinks we need a new one”, “The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It”, “Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become 'world’s largest surveillance network’”, ou "The Web’s Creator Now Wants to Unfuck It".

Comecemos com algumas citações do Sir que inventou a rede:

"The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging."

"The temptation to grab control of the internet by the government or by a company is always going to be there. They will wait until we're sleeping, because if you're a government or a company and you can control something, you'll want it,"

"You want to control your citizens or exploit consumers. The temptation is huge. Yes, we can have things enshrined in law, but even then it won't necessarily stop people."

"We're on the edge of finding that a company can get to the point where actually it will control everything everybody sees,”
in "Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become 'world’s largest surveillance network' " 8 jun 2016

Da constatação:

Recent reports about government spying and the influence of companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have heightened concerns in the technology community over who controls our data.
in "The Web’s Creator Now Wants to Unfuck It" 8 jun 2016
This government-created, radically decentralized network of networks, which has spawned so much innovation at the edges, is rapidly being re-centralized.
in "How To Break Open The Web"

E da reação:

The web is a little fucked up right now. What if we could create a decentralized web, with more privacy, less government control, and less corporate influence?
in "The Web’s Creator Now Wants to Unfuck It" 8 jun 2016

The internet has created millions of new opportunities for people around the world and made the sum of human knowledge available to anyone with a connection [mas] we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web. (...) Governments across the globe keep an eye on what their citizens are accessing online and some censor content on the Web in an effort to control what they think (...) [Sir Tim Berners-Lee sobre] his creation works in the present day "it controls what people see, creates mechanisms for how people interact (...) it’s been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people’s content, taking you to the wrong websites — that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create.”
in "The inventor of the Web thinks we need a new one" 8 jun 2016

The revelations by Edward J. Snowden that the web has been used by governments for spying and the realization that companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have become gatekeepers to our digital lives have added to concerns.
in "The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It" 7 jun 2016

Fast forward, through the emergence of giant web-centric companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Salesforce. We find ourselves in the silo era. Data and service silos hold what we do—our work, our play, our very thoughts— hostage, even as they provide genuine convenience and value in other ways. Mobile devices exacerbate the problem. Many mobile apps are essentially browsers that work on a single website. Add government and telecom control-freakery to the mix, and it’s all too easy to worry that we may already have lost.
in "How To Break Open The Web" 29 jun 2016
I’m concerned about a coming digital dark ages

E da solução proposta:

Creating an internet (...) to distribute, process, and host data with no centralized control. Topics [include] new methods for distributing web pages without using a standard web server computer, adding encryption to various parts of the web, and archiving all versions of a web page (...) payments and blockchains.
in "The Web’s Creator Now Wants to Unfuck It" 8 jun 2016
Berners-Lee, Kahle and other pioneers of the modern Web are brainstorming ideas for a new kind of information network that can’t be controlled by governments or powered by megacorporations like Amazon and Google [ em torno de ] the use of increased encryption (...) more accountability, reduce content creators’ and publishers’ dependence on ad revenue by developing secure, direct cryptocurrency-based payment methods for subscribers .
in "The inventor of the Web thinks we need a new one" 8 jun 2016

Ou, um primeiro resumo: 

Mr Berners-Lee’s observation that the internet has become heavily centralised is not new, yet in recent months warnings such as his have grown louder. Pundits estimate that Google’s many sites attract an estimated 40% of all traffic on the web. Facebook’s apps are similarly dominant on smartphones. Together these two firms will soon rake in two-thirds of all online-advertising revenues.

Other “control points” have emerged, (...) smartphones, which now generate more than half of online traffic, are not as open a platform as the internet: access to the two dominant mobile operating systems, Android and iOS, is regulated by Google and Apple, respectively. Cloud computing, too, is a centralised affair, with Amazon leading the pack, followed by Microsoft and Google. These same companies, as well as Facebook, are in control of ever-growing piles of personal and other data. Such information may ultimately allow these online giants “to predict, shape and ‘nudge’ the behaviours of hundreds of millions of people

“Re-decentralise” the internet: this is not the first time that new technology has pushed against the centralising forces of the internet. In the early 2000s “peer-to-peer” services such as Napster and Kazaa, for instance, allowed users to share music files rather than download them from a central server. But lawsuits from record labels and, in some cases, a failure to find ways to profit from these services meant these technologies ended up being limited to a few services, such as Skype. (…) If decentralisation is now making a comeback, it is largely because of the rise of bitcoin, a crypto-currency, and its underlying technology, the blockchain. This is a globally distributed database, which is maintained not by a single actor, such as a bank, but collaboratively by many.
in "Reweaving the web" 18 jun 2016

E, se passou despercebido, da última vez, mesmo se não o enunciamos, falávamos de blockchain - mas todas as ressalvas se mantêm.

O debate faz-se em várias frentes, e, pessoalmente, achamos que é por aqui que perdemos os punx ’77 e temos que depositar a nossa confiança nas novas gerações para a sua aplicação prática. Onde os teens serão nativos às ferramentas, os old school boyx só nos acompanharão aqui nos conceitos. E são estes:

Basic design principles for a re-decentralized web:
  1. The web is immediate. This means safe instant access to content through a universal address without needing to install anything else in the browser.
  2. The web is open. Anyone can publish content without permission or barrier to its audience, and provide access as they see fit, without the interference of a third party.
  3. The web is universal. Content runs on any device or platform. We achieve this through standards.
  4. The web has agency. A "user agent," in developer lingo, can choose how to interpret content provided by a service to you. In other words, you control your browser
    in "How To Break Open The Web" 29 jun 2016

Nesta fase falamos ainda de uma proposta de rede por reacção à actual, o seu desenvolvimento dependerá da vontade e capacidade de o fazer acontecer. Os nossos ’77 já enterraram a cabeça na areia, da nossa parte incentivamos os teens onde nos é e lhes é possível fazer hoje: o diy e os conteúdos, seja parasitando plataformas ou servindo as suas próprias. Mas aos que quiserem ir além, a boa notícia é que não têm que reinventar também a roda porque as bases já estão feitas.

Many of the technologies and projects are complementary, not necessarily competitive. They seem almost modular: a web-like set of technologies building a more dynamic and resilient Internet on top of the existing networks [em que] new technologies will be able to be substituted in without breaking the larger systems
in "How To Break Open The Web" 29 jun 2016

Independentemente da tecnologia e fecharemos esta de seguida, há também aquilo de quem a determina, os tais dos humanos. Um dos entraves clássicos: copyright. Sobre open-source e criativos comuns abriremos uma entrada à parte posteriormente, fica a nota deste apanhado de artigos para cor e fecharemos com estes por hoje.

That’s the tech side. That’s easy. The not easy part (...) is the legal ramifications.
Why everything will be gone in a century and how to save it

Another complication is resistance from incumbent industries that fear disruption. Peer-to-peer computing is at the heart of decentralization, but Hollywood and its copyright-maximalist allies sued some of the most innovative startups in that field out of business.
in "How To Break Open The Web" 29 jun 2016

E onde este chocam com a rede re-distribuida? Dos founding principles para a sua génese:

What sort of principles should we agree to? First, when a computer receives conflicting instructions from its owner and from a remote party, the owner’s wishes should always take precedence. In other words, no DRM (that means you, W3C). Second, disclosing true facts about the security of systems that we rely upon should never ever be illegal. In other words, we need to work to abolish things like the DMCA, which create legal uncertainty for security researchers disclosing vulnerabilities in systems locked behind DRM. The crowd’s response to this passionate call to action? A standing ovation.
in "How we will keep the Decentralized Web decentralized: my talk from the Decentralized Web Summit" 9 jun 2016

Fechando a rede descentralizada (re)distribuída, um segundo resumo mais extenso, por um dos seus principais proponentes.

The way we code the web will determine the way we live online. So we need to bake our values into our code. Freedom of expression needs to be baked into our code. Privacy should be baked into our code. Universal access to all knowledge. But right now, those values are not embedded in the Web.
It turns out that the World Wide Web is quite fragile. But it is huge. At the Internet Archive we collect one billion pages a week. We now know that Web pages only last about 100 days on average before they change or disappear. They blink on and off in their servers.
In the library world, we know how important it is to protect reader privacy. Rounding people up for the things that they’ve read has a long and dreadful history.

Conceitos base: acessível, privada, "divertida". Este divertida remete ao convite ao seu uso, e, incluido nesse, à contribuição para o mesmo uso. Como o autor citado recorda algumas vezes ao longo do texto, é a abertura (“openness”) da web que a torna tão participativa, e quanto mais fácil for, maior a participação dos seus utilizadores. Consideremos o Facebook: uma ferramenta de publicação online tão fácil que a) qualquer um lá publica as maiores banalidades do dia, b) entre os seus milhões de utilizadores encontram-se bem representados -e activos- os mais reticentes utilizadores de novas tecnologias: os idosos. Último conceito inicial, ser “reliable”, da dupla conotação de confiança como segurança da qual se pode depender o uso - funcionamento - e confiança no tipo de uso que se faz.

Breve comparação à internet por oposição.

Contrast the current Web to the Internet—the network of pipes on top of which the World Wide Web sits. The Internet was designed so that if any one piece goes out, it will still function. If some of the routers that sort and transmit packets are knocked out, then the system is designed to automatically reroute the packets through the working parts of the system. While it is possible to knock out so much that you create a chokepoint in the Internet fabric, for most circumstances it is designed to survive hardware faults and slowdowns. Therefore, the Internet can be described as a “distributed system” because it routes around problems and automatically rebalances loads.

The Web is not distributed in this way. While different websites are located all over the world, in most cases, any particular website has only one physical location. Therefore, if the hardware in that particular location is down then no one can see that website. In this way, the Web is centralized: if someone controls the hardware of a website or the communication line to a website, then they control all the uses of that website.
In this way, the Internet is a truly distributed system, while the Web is not.
in "Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web" 25 ago 2015

E tal como exemplificamos a facilidade de uso na positiva com o seu pior exemplo - o Facebook -, também o autor não é imune à ironia de comparações. Segue-se o seu exemplo de rede distribuída por comparação à Amazon :)

The Amazon Cloud is made up of computers in Amazon.com datacenters all over the world. The data stored in this cloud can be copied from computer to computer in these different places, avoiding machines that are not working, as well as getting the data closer to users and replicating it as it is increasingly used. This has turned out to be a great idea.
in "Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web" 25 ago 2015

Ironias: se seguirem a relação de cada um dos intervenientes aos grandes conglomerados da industria vão encontrar outras tantas…

This time the Web should have a memory. We would like to build in a form of versioning, so the Web is archived through time. The Web would no longer exist in a land of the perpetual present.
“We are depending right now on a medium whose longevity is uncertain, and there are consequences to that.

Ironias à parte, a comparação é efectivamente o resultado acabado do que uma rede distribuída deveria ser. No seu artigo prossegue por enumerar os diferentes “módulos” tecnológicos já existentes que poderiam ser combinadas num propósito conducente a tal evolução. Na sua base a tecnologia peer-to-peer, um sistema sem dependências centralizadas ou sobre controlo de qualquer entidade, sobre a qual se reforça a importância da privacidade e da segurança - o terceiro tipo de segurança: acesso autenticado, encriptação - e acresce-se uma nova ideia: o versionamento dos conteúdos. Actualmente, estes desaparecem pela caducidade do seu valor, mas o valor é relativo e a importância que lhe damos hoje não será a mesma que gerações futuras verão nesses, justificando assim a insistência de uma web com memória pelo seu potencial histórico e social, e como prevenção da censura: numa web com memória nunca se poderá verdadeiramente eliminar informação, e será sempre possível comparar as diferentes informações apresentadas.

Breve parentesis sobre a memória da web, de outro artigo. Mashup para corte rápido:

If the web doesn’t feel like a fragile thing, try and access a website from 10 years ago, or even five. Not only do things like links stop working as servers get upgraded and moved, but whole domains change hands. The other side of the fluidity and speed of moving information on the web is that it doesn’t last. (…) It’s not just that our CDs fall apart with age and our hard drives stop spinning. Information is tied, in many ways to the software you use to open it.
in "Why everything will be gone in a century and how to save it" 9 jun 2016
As fragile as paper is, written documents and records have long provided historians with a wealth of insight about that past that often helps shape the present. And they don’t need any special technology to read them (...) digital communications quickly become unreadable. (…) Today, much of the responsibility for preserving the web’s history rests on The Internet Archive. The non-profit’s Wayback Machine crawls the web perpetually, taking snapshots (...) Based on the Internet Archive’s own findings, the average webpage only lasts about 100 days. In order to preserve a site, the Wayback Machine has to spot it in that brief window before it disappears. (...) What’s more, the Wayback Machine is a centralized silo of information—an irony that’s not lost on the inventors of the Internet. If it runs out of money, it could go dark.
in "The Inventors of the Internet Are Trying to Build a Truly Permanent Web" 20 jun 2016

Do seu enunciado para a web distribuída, + dois pontos a reter. A eterna questão: como se paga, e o reforço do divertido, do já referido convite ao uso, mas com uma camada adicional por cima: ao uso, por cima deste à produção, e, por cima desta, à capacidade de reinventar a própria tecnologia no decorrer desse uso. Citando:

This new Web could be an inviting system that welcomes people to share their stories and ideas, as well as be a technology platform that one can add to and change without having to ask permission– allowing technological change just for the fun of it.
in "Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web" 25 ago 2015

Sobre o $$$, a nossa nota à sugestão proposta. Sabem-nos anti-$$$, e mantemos a posição porque qualquer dos modelos financeiros que alguma vez aqui nos ocupou são modelos que sugam o capital, não o distribui. A proposta de uma rede distribuída, passe a facilidade de analogia, conduz igualmente a um modelo económico mais distributivo ao eliminar o middleman. A facilidade de pagamento à escala sugerida está efectivamente dentro da nossa framework total. Ou, pelas palavras do próprio:

A feature that has long been missing from the Web: easy mechanisms for readers to pay writers. With the support of easy payments, the Distributed Web could evolve richer business models than the current advertising and large-scale ecommerce systems.
in "Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web" 25 ago 2015

Claro, que, se seguiram a odisseia da Bitcoin, sabem que qualquer solução nesses termos vai-se deparar com a resistência mais que assertiva e determinada de todos os interessados do actual modelo vigente. Não prevemos que alguma moeda digital descentralizada alguma vez se institua e muito menos se legalize sem no mínimo uma revolução no plano real à moda antiga.

The Blockchain is a form of distributed database that is used to store the ledger under Bitcoin and similar systems. It is very clever in how it maintains consistency even when none of the participants trust each other.

Tecnicamente, há obstáculos, mas estes são menos do que se possa imaginar: boa parte da tecnologia base existe e os constrangimentos de há duas décadas -novamente, “tecnicamente” - não são mais os mesmos. Há computadores, mais poderosos, mais rápidos, mais baratos, linguagens de programação mais avançadas, mais pessoas que as dominam, a encriptação é hoje legal. E o sugerido é terrivelmente próximo de algo que já conhecemos hoje. Passamos a palavra novamente:

What about WordPress, but distributed?

We would like to allow anyone to build a WordPress website–that has themes and different people with different roles, fun to go to and add to, free to create—which is also distributed in a way that is private and reliable. We would want it to work in all browsers with no add-on’s or modifications. We would want to refer to a distributed website with a simple name (...) and it needs to be fast. We would need users to be able to log in without having to have many websites know their usernames and passwords, or have a central site, like Facebook or Google, control their online credentials. In other words, we need a distributed identity system. Additionally, we would like to have payments work in the Distributed Web. We would like to enable anyone to pay anyone else, akin to leaving a tip, or paying a suggested amount for reading an article or watching a movie. Thus people could get paid for publishing on this Distributed Web. In addition, we would want to have saved versions of websites, and dependable archives to make this distributed websites reliable.
in "Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web" 25 ago 2015

Tecnicamente, haverá pequenas-grandes nuances por resolver. A restante descrição de uma rede distribuída debruça-se sobre algumas dessas situações, normalmente relacionadas ao dinamismo de conteúdos: o modelo aqui apresentado é mais do que adequado para sítios estáticos, mas não tão imediato para sítio dinâmicos que requerem pesquisas avançadas ou outros dinamismo normalmente associados a bases de dados ou interacções avançadas. Mesmo acreditando num poder crescente de linguagens de programação que vivem no browser como o javascript, soluções em AJAX, CMS estáticos que começaram a surgir nos últimos anos, etc, esta descrição não está perto de resolver cenários como o homebanking por exemplo. Excepto claro, se a totalidade da sociedade adoptar uma outra framework total, na qual o banco brick & mortar é mesmo substituído pela currency digital. No que respeita aos nossos propósitos e aos punx que nos leem, o principal cobre: diy e distribuição de fanzines digitais -que, por essa altura, podemos deixar cair o “fanzine” do nome e assumir com igual orgulho pelas nossas preferências retro do underdog o termo “sítio” que entretanto soará tão nostálgico como a k7 áudio.

leituras adicionais

  • blockchain
  • bitcoin
  • mr trump

"No single target, no hack. "

Where these networks differ substantially from legacy systems is in the methods employed to keep those records secure.

The old strategy for cybersecurity is called perimeter security. Have something to protect? Have external threats? Build a perimeter—dare I call it a wall?—and don’t let the baddies in. Turns out this approach doesn’t work very well, because perimeters are inevitably breached.

An open blockchain network can resist Dyn-style hacks because it has no central point of failure. Every participant has a copy of the record.

in "Dear Mr. Trump: To ‘Cyber’ Better, Try the Blockchain" 20 dez 2016

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