Decentralization is not an automatic guarantee of internet freedom, but it may be a good first step:
Larry Sanger Weighs In
“Decentralization is a necessary but not sufficient condition of internet freedom,” Larry Sanger told Mind Matters News.
Larry Sanger is the co-founder – and now critic of – popular internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Since becoming disenchanted with the mainstream route Wikipedia took, Sanger has been pursuing greater internet freedom. He and a team of others are now working on a new online encyclopedia called the Encyclosphere as well as an open social media network currently called Minifeed.
There are reasons to be cautious, Sanger explained. There are two types of decentralized networks: federated and peer-to-peer. Federated networks are still fairly easy to control if you can organize the people who own the main on-ramps to the network. A peer-to-peer network is a freer sort of technology, in which you don’t have to connect to the network via a specific server. But both decentralized networks “can still be captured and controlled in various ways and rendered un-free.” Hence, decentralization is not an automatic guarantee of internet freedom.
So what has to accompany decentralization to secure internet freedom? That’s a problem Sanger and his teams are working on right now through the Encyclosphere and Minifeed.Caitlin Bassett, “Could decentralization fix Twitter’s censorship problems? Or Wikipedia’s?” at Mind Matters News (March 30, 2022)
Takehome: Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, interviewed at Mind Matters News, warns that decentralized networks can still be captured and controlled.