The anonymous Internet and WWW, not just necessary but urgent.

What is the Internet and WWW and how do I interpret these terms?

The Internet is the great web of communication services that enable the WWW, banking payment systems, email, social media, Bitcoin and all the other electronic services we have come to rely upon. You wouldn’t always get that message when you hear it discussed. Put simply, It’s a road and vehicles, but its not the content of the vehicles or their destination.
The World Wide Web is/was a method of sharing and citing documents online or via the internet. It was built in 1991 for academics, primarily in nuclear research to begin with and gradually spread to be used for other things eventually becoming what it is today, something hard to define and even harder to control.
It still is however, the Internet with all these documents connected to each other plus a few new pieces of infrastructure such as search engines and social Media platforms.
The first publicly aimed search engine as I recall was Gopher a tool that spent some time researching before sending you the results and then we had Web crawler that indexed the entire internet until that quickly became impossible and it gave way to others before eventually Google built a Monopoly. After Web crawler the web always had a n agenda and serendipity was an old-fashioned word. My personal feeling was that Web crawler gave me what I asked for, the others what they thought I really wanted. I has a wife like that once.
The first social media was Usenet, a paid forum platform that for most of us, “was the internet”, a lot like reddit today in appearance.
The WWW was a slow and not very promising thing to begin with as Netscape gave us a free browser and JavaScript give us gifs that could spin around on a page and mesmerise people notwithstanding a 9800 baud modem that waited a very long time to download a small picture.

The dark web is a free-of-interference version of the Internet and WWW that is used primarily by those who have something to hide either from a repressive state, or from law enforcement. A sort of offshore for the children with a safeish bridge for journalists and the like and a playground for goofy spooks. It looks and behaves curiously like the WWW of 1992.

The core of what happens online today is not that different from the original idea in a technical sense, it’s the people involved and their intentions that has changed.
The web is still a great archive of documents, if desperately duplicated and not very searchable. Primarily it’s web pages and PDF documents but also images and videos and even the complex apps are really what we used to call “dynamic pages” i.e. the web pages is created to suit your needs instantly and dynamically based on some information you passed in via the URL.

First attempt at root cause analysis

This is a first draft and I’m sure there is more to be added and no doubt the structure and presentation can be made more helpful. Before I invest that sort of time I want to see what kind of people come to read it. Many today would rather be told its OK go back to sleep and trying to help that segment is a losing battle. If you are interested and you are concerned for your family or for society on the other hand, please do raise your hand and let me know.

A. Theft of private information

I’m immediately struck that numbers 2 to 7 above rely heavily on number 1 and numbers 8 and 9 also show dependence, but maybe slightly less so.

B. Lack of shared and policed cross-border laws and regulation.

Lack of shared and policed cross-border laws and regulation is the obvious root cause of a number of other issues we touched on, namely: 10,11,12,13,14 and 15.
14, global and offshore tax-evasion and avoidance is a crippling problem for all bar the handful of nations benefiting from it that include: UK, USA, Netherlands, France and a few more. This is an area that has begun to receive a lot of attention. Some useful agreements are already in place and the work of the ICIJ in producing Panama Papers and other revelations is extremely powerful as a tool to progress the work. In the meantime, however the world’s richest people and especially those running the worlds enormous internet gateways, (*)opolies are paying little or no tax anywhere as well as driving down wages and causing especially severe hardship in developed countries where fixed living and business operating costs are high and they simply can’t compete.
In UK for example an economy with very high cost of living in terms of housing, fuel, transport and personal taxation, the taxpayer ends up forced to subsidise the low wages of these businesses just so that employees can survive until the nest crisis.

C. Weakening of the nation state number 16 is a hugely important topic to address.

Around the world we have very different cultures from Tibet to Jamaica and from London to the Steppes. These people have lived happily and comfortably for centuries unless invaded and this despite very different outlooks, belief systems, education levels, ways of making a living and so on. Only when they use the internet do people begin comparing and making very poor comparisons between things that are not comparable and leading them to feel discontent about something that many would love to have.
An example I personally experienced was a young couple from Barbados, he a decorator who arrived in London about 25 years back. He worked on my house for months and we became friends. He left Barbados and came to UK because he could earn £70 per day as a decorator. Back home that was more than a month’s pay. His stories of life in Barbados made me want to rush over there and take up where he had left off. He’d taken over a two bedroomed house (shack they called it) from his grandad. Plenty of these could be had for nothing at that point and renting cost pennies. He needed no heat, his TV all came free form USA, he just needed to buy an ariel or make one.
He picked fresh fruit daily in the forest, grew veg out back and fished every night. He was fed up of snapper because that was Caribbean food and he longed for Cod. He wanted a two-bed house in London with a mortgage then of £700 a month. He was, at that point, paying £700 for a bedsit with shared bathroom. I started adding the figures for him, but I could see he didn’t want to know the truth and had to chase this dream. I knew it was a nightmare and I had no idea then, just how bad it was going to get. This man’s income rose from around $50 a month to £1400 a month. He lost all his quality food, fishing, beaches, cheap rum, good friends and relaxed lifestyle and in return he got a British version of schizophrenia. Another friend Winston from Jamaica worked and saved until he was almost 50 so that he could afford to go to back to what he had lost, but his British born children were now addicted to Britain and wouldn’t even consider going with him. Another life messed up. He’ll be happy, but he’ll miss his children every day.

D. This related example is not about being happy, it was about economics.

If your costs are £100 a month and your income £200, you live in bliss, but if your income is £20,000 and your outgoings £25,000 you are headed for misery. Oscar Wilde knew this centuries ago.
Economics doesn’t delve into what you get for that money as indeed it should, but you don’t need to do that to see that running high ongoing costs is a road to misery and ultimately, to disaster.

Back to the Internet/WWW and root cause.

We have a number of serious and debilitating problems, the root cause of which, on a scale ranging from 100% down to perhaps a debatable 30% are issues created and prolonged or at best facilitated and enabled by the Internet as it is now in its unregulated and manipulated form.

The diagram is easy once the thinking has been done.

These diagrams are always a focus of thinking as opposed to an output of analysis. Ultimately I will use them to direct us towards the actions likely to deliver the most important outcomes. Sometimes the more important is the largest, and other times it’s the most urgent and all things in between. We are still a long way from a decision on how to proceed, but a lot further ahead on understanding the issues and how they work together or can be resolved efficiently.

So is this radical change going to happen?

If you answer yes to this question, Ill know for sure that you haven’t been listening. I didn’t highlight it immediately in my diagram because you’d probably go all googly eyed and lose patience when n fact it’s very important that you understand where the problem lies.

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Ed has enjoyed a dual career moving backwards and forwards between leadership roles in software engineering and transforming marketing functions.