The internet of today is broken. We can use the internet, but we don’t own anything we do. Companies control our domain names, the content we host on web servers and our access to the internet. Now that so much of our information is on social media, this problem is even worse. Our social media IDs, our chat messages, our videos and anything else we publish online is controlled by giant companies. They can seize your assets, spy on you, ban you and sell your most intimate details to the highest bidder.
In the case of the domain name system (DNS), companies control domains, not users. Domains are frequently taken from users at the request of governments and other parties. from a man who had owned it since 1994 because the country of France believed it should be the owner. Owners of .com domains around the world are often surprised to discover that the U.S. government polices websites from all over the world by asking Verisign (owner of .com) to take away domains. The Libyan government seized vb.ly for violating Islamic law even though the website and its owner were not based in Libya. Anyone in the world with a .ly domain is subject to takedowns at the request of the Libyan government.
Hosting services suffer from a similar fate as DNS does. Companies and countries decide what can be published, not users. In Turkey, a law was passed from being mentioned on any website in the country. One of these words is “gay and another one is “naked.” Hosting services are being used to censor content that disagrees with the religious beliefs of the government in power. In China, the problem is even more extreme. Anyone who wants to publish online must first obtain a .
And hosting providers are central points of failure. Not long ago, , which effectively turned off large portions of the internet. These problems all come back to this issue of companies owning user data versus users owning their own data.