Free and Open

In response to the nonsense reported here and here.

The Web Belongs to Everyone

Map of the Free and Open Internet The Web is a beautiful, incredible thing. It enables anyone with a connection to access an entire universe of human knowledge. The Web is like this because it is free and open. We the people built the Internet and it belongs to everyone. Each person may claim their own piece of the Internet, but no one person or group may claim ownership of its entirety.

If you feel the need to control or regulate something, do so with your own computers on your own network. Please do not try to restrict or hinder other people’s property, rights, activities, or access. They simply are not yours to control.

The Web is Built on Freedom

The Web is beautiful because it is free and open. It provides a platform from which people from all walks of life can pursue their interests, gather knowledge, find opportunity, and realize success. The freedom to learn and share on an open, unrestricted Web empowers people from all walks of life to achieve their goals.

But freedom also invites failure. Yes it is possible for people to fail on the Web. It happens all the time and is one of the great innovators and forces driving the Web’s astronomical growth. There are no guarantees of success and that is exactly how it should be. To succeed, you must work hard and compete with others. This innovation and competition is what makes the Web so incredibly successful and so vastly superior to all previous forms of communication. It’s a place where virtually anything is possible.

Even bad things. Like getting hacked. It sucks. It’s happened to me on numerous occasions. It’s happened to thousands and thousands of other people all around the world. The lessons and risks of getting hacked propels and motivates us to improve our sites, servers, scripts, and routines. Without risk, reward, and the freedom to succeed (or fail), the Web would look like a lot like cable television.

Security is Everyone’s Job

Since the rise of the Internet, many people, business, and corporations have been working to improve the security of their online systems. They do so with the understanding that strong security is an important and vital part of how the Web operates. So they continue to learn, develop, share, and improve their online security strategies.

When a site is hacked, the administrator must work quickly to remedy the situation. This work involves myriad tasks, including research, software updates, notifying others, system fortification, and so forth. What it doesn’t involve is deciding that a “hacked site” is reason to stop or otherwise regulate the open flow of progress and information on the Internet.

When my own site is hacked, I don’t say, “this is a game changer”. I mean wow, my site was hacked, so I guess it’s time for me to set the rules for every other human being on the planet and regulate all of their online activities. I mean, because obviously I know better than everyone else how to prevent this sort of thing from happening. And of course my own system’s vulnerability completely justifies such extreme action.

Such thinking is ludicrous. The Internet is free and open at its core. No one person or group of people have the right to tell everyone else how to go about their business. If you don’t like the idea of getting hacked, you have two options: beef up your security or get off the Internet. There isn’t a third option where you get to control or regulate what other free people are doing based on your own limited thinking. The Web belongs to everyone, and each of us gets to decide how best to operate within the online community.

“We need to fix this”

Of course, working to make the Web a better place is everyone’s responsibility. Secure your own sites. Learn how the technology works. Share your information with others. Be a part of how the Web flows and you shall reap the benefits. Be a part of the human collective and stop scheming and plotting behind closed doors. It’s just.. “not cool bro.”

Innovation is an intrinsic part of how the Web operates. The unlimited potential of the Web is fueled by interpersonal competition. If your organization is hacked, join the club and learn as much as possible from the ordeal. Use the experience as an opportunity to improve security. Study current strategies and ask the experts for help. No need to spend billions of dollars trying to force your limited ideas on everyone else. Surely, the cost of hiring a qualified security team is going to be infinitely less than trying to lock down the entire Internet.

“We need to fix this.” Please. The Web is doing just fine as it is. If there is anything that needs to be “fixed”, it’s the old-school mentality that everything can be bought and sold. What needs to be fixed is the arrogance of people who think that the proper response to “hacking” is to undermine the free and open Web in order to control it. To tax it. To regulate it. To own it. The only thing that needs to be fixed are people who seek to impose their own selfish motives over the rest of humanity.

Keep the Web free and open.