The Internet is Flawed (Discuss)... Part 4

Mike Halsey MVP
May 31, 2011
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

In the final part of this article series I want to look at what the future might hold for the Internet and all of us who use it. So far I've discussed how secretive governments view the Internet in Part 1, Asked if the west wants to constrain it in Part 2 and then into how it is used by criminals, terrorists and even in war in Part 3.

Overall it's quite a scary picture as it's become clear that if you are an ordinary person, celebrity or public figure it's extremely difficult, if not impossible to maintain your anonymity online. However criminals, terrorists, pedophiles and even those responsible for state-sponsored cyber-warfare use the weaknesses of the Internet to maintain secrecy, both in their identities and, as in the case of the darknets, even the content of their discussions.

Different countries are also showing different approaches to the Internet, some of these are contradictory. It's reported that some people within the pentagon want much tighter controls on our net freedoms. Other countries such as France have already imposed new and unpopular laws governing how we use the web, and a discussion in the British government is currently trying to figure out how to accommodate the Internet into existing laws.

You would then have to find a way to make an Internet ID work. How would it accommodate Internet cafes or using a computer at work? Would it be tied to an IP address? If the latter was the case then it would be far too easy to create false-positive results when searching for an individual.

Another idea is to change email so that all emails are verifiable from the source. This has been talked about for years and is much more workable. The new system, if it were ever to be implemented, would digitally tag an email with the ID of the computer, user and IP address that sent it. Originally designed as a method to combat spam, this would certainly help trace people, some of the time anyway, but still has its flaws.

The biggest problem stems from what the Internet is. In its current form it's just impossible to regulate in the way some people might like it done. This means we would need a second generation Internet but this again has its problems. Any new style of Internet would either have to be backwardly compatible with the existing net, and thus susceptible to many of its flaws, or would consequently take years to get off the ground. The people of the world would essentially be rebuilding the Internet from scratch. It could even mean wholesale hardware and server upgrades too.

There are advantages to this idea though that stem from the fact that the current Internet was never designed to do the things we are now asking of it. Mankind still wants to push the boundaries and a new set of Internet protocols could be the best answer moving forward.

If there were to be any constraints on the Internet and how we use it though the biggest problem would be selling this to the public. On occasion we've given up some civil liberties on the grounds of fighting terrorism or crime, but the backlash from people unwilling to give up the complete freedoms they have online could end up being too much for world leaders to bear. It could simply make the whole project unworkable.

The fact remains though that we have a problem that isn't going away. While security and network researchers and experts occasionally suggest new mechanisms to help, it will take a critical mass to actually get anything off the ground. This might not happen until we outgrow the current Internet architecture and public damand makes a switch essential, such as the current changeover to IPv6.

That again, could be many years away, but experts and researchers need to be planning now for what would replace the Internet that we currently have, how it would work, how it would protect people and critically, how we can still maintain our freedoms.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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