“Bucket & spade” by Dale Gillard is licensed under CC BY 2.0 The other day, I was asked by a friend what it is I’m doing with this project. He’s very much into following technological trends, but not a deeply technical person himself. That drove home yet again how hard it is to provide an “elevator pitch” summary of our work. When I speak about a “human centric” internet, what I mean is a digital place where human rights are protected, and human needs are met.
A few days ago, I found myself attending a pitch by the Consumer Reports Digital Lab for their Data Rights Protocol. At first glance, it’s a great idea! Give organizations a standardized interface for exercising your data rights, which means you can use a simple app to request what data is collected about you, have it deleted, etc. What’s not to love? Turns out, there are some immediate concerns, and some longer-term, more vague issues that need addressing.
There is an ongoing discussion on human rights on the Internet on the IRTF HRPC mailing list that I want to express an opinion on. I would also like to stress that this is not an official position of the Interpeer Project. Although we are yet small, there exists already a variety of positions amongst contributors on all kinds of topics. No, this is a purely personal opinion. For context, the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) is a sibling to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that does not get a lot of publicity.
I was recently reminded of the fact that people use the term “peer-to-peer” to mean a variety of different things. That can make conversations on the topic difficult, as with any situation where you assume you have common ground, only to discover that is not the case. In this interlude, I want to – really quite quickly – disambiguate some things, as a kind of reference for future conversations. You don’t need to agree with me.