Friday, December 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Networking has costs

Alert: There are spoilers in this piece for two TV series, Battlestar Galactica and Homeland.

Battlestar Galactica takes place after the Cylons and the humans have been at war for some time. An earlier round of war involved computer viruses so as a result there is no net that connects the ships. When they have to turn the net on, in an emergency, they only have so much time before everything is destroyed by the viruses that are still in all their systems. Disconnect the network, no viruses. Re-connect: destruction.

I always thought this was brilliant of the writers of the series, because it's inevitable that we will do this too, if we avoid the total destruction that can come from interconnecting everything.

And that's a context for Sony's experience with The Interview. It'll get worse. We're going to globalize in ways we've never imagined. It won't just be our economic systems that merge (they pretty much already have), so will our legal and social systems. We can't, ultimately, have more freedom than the people of China, Iran or North Korea. Because our systems are networked, as we've seen, we exert control on each other.

Another example, what do you think Zuck is talking about when he meets with the leaders of the China? It has to be about how to impose limits on free speech. Facebook will have to have the same limits as locally-run networks, if the people who run China are to let it in. And once they've implemented those controls for one huge country, they are available to be deployed everywhere. I'm not saying Facebook is bad, it's just inevitable. If they won't do it someone else will.

And don't forget, the US is leading the way in state surveillance. We're already competing with China over who can control speech on the net more effectively.

That's why I laugh when I hear about The Internet of Things. No, if I ever get a pacemaker, I don't want it on the net. Another TV show, Homeland was very prescient in explaining this one. I probably don't want to ride in a car that can be hijacked by a North Korean hacker either.

One more thing, it's a problem that some countries are not fully on the net. That means they can attack without anyone having the ability to retaliate. As if we would even know who to retaliate against.

The big lesson here is that we probably should un-network in some meaningful ways. Before there's too much more havoc to deal with.

Last built: Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 5:50 PM

By Dave Winer, Friday, December 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM. Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.