Monday, June 15, 2015 at 10:02 AM

The People's Browser

I wrote a tweet yesterday, from the airplane home from Seattle, just to see what would happen. I also posted it on Facebook. It was a conclusion I reached after reading Brent Simmons' latest post, which included a section about HTTP deprecation.

Here's what Brent said

"What upsets me about this issue in general is that it’s anti-democratic: it can make writing for the web more expensive and difficult for individuals. As a writer, reader, and open web partisan I dislike everything that shifts power away from people and toward entities with greater resources. What you end up with is corporate speech rather than the voices we know and love and need to hear."

I've written about this issue, here and here.

It's about our speech

In the tweet, people thought I was writing about protecting whistleblowers, or circumventing the control of the entertainment industry, both worthy causes. But what I am protecting is much more fundamental -- the right of the people to use the web as a space to speak their mind without interference from government and corporations. It's as fundamental as the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I've created dozens of websites over the 20-plus years I've been writing on the web that don't support HTTPS and never will. It would be too much work, and too expensive, and would cede control of the content to yet another administrative body. I refuse. You should too.

Let's study Wikipedia

I would love to see a study of links emanating from Wikipedia that are HTTP vs HTTPS. The equivalent of an environmental impact study that companies are required to create when they want to alter the environment for commercial purposes.

Let's see if we can even find the owners of those sites to ask them when they're going to invest the time to support HTTPS. If they don't understand what's involved, offer to teach them, see if they are willing to listen, or can even comprehend what's required of them. How much more will it cost, and do they feel the cost is justified, and will they actually pay? And who will they be paying the money to, that is, who stands to profit from this change?

I suspect you'll never find a person responsible for most of the content, much less find a plan to migrate to HTTPS. Under the planned deprecation, all those sites will become inaccessible. Why? What's their crime? And what would be at risk at allowing continued access? (Answer, none and none.)

This has gone too far

Tech companies are totally out of control, and people are too naive about the use of the Internet, too trusting, too believing of the commercials and PR. Yes we love tech products, but please don't turn that into trust of the people running the companies. They totally do not deserve it.

Mozilla? Don't make me laugh

Some have suggested that Mozilla could be the People's Browser. Hah! Mozilla is one of the leaders in the effort to throw away open access to the web. They are the worst of the worst. Don't fall for the PR. They are driving the change, as much as Google is. They should be on the other side, speaking up for and protecting the people.

Two webs

The People's Browser very simply, will never require HTTPS. It will work with HTTPS, but it will never not work with HTTP. It would be very simple for Chrome or Firefox to be this browser, by simply making this pledge. Then we won't have to go to all the effort required to route around them.

Why are they doing this?

I don't know. I'm shaking my head. I don't want to even think what's kind of obvious, much less say it out loud.

Last built: Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:05 AM

By Dave Winer, Monday, June 15, 2015 at 10:02 AM. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.