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The Future of the Internet Is Flow

About a week ago, I came across this very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about the Internet, and where the Web is going. The authors stated that The Web was a brilliant first shot at making the Internet usable, but it backed the wrong horse. It chose space over time. The conventional website is “space-organized,” like a patterned beach towel—pineapples upper left, mermaids lower right. Websites are divided the same among the web (hence it’s a web). Instead it might have been “time-organized,” like a parade—first this band, three minutes later this float, 40 seconds later that band, like a river flowing by.

So let’s skip the theory and see how this goes into practice. The authors argue that your future home page—the screen you go to first on your phone, laptop or TV— will be a bouquet of your favorite streams from all over. News streams are blended with shopping streams, blogs, your friends’ streams, each running at its own speed. This home stream includes your personal stream as part of the blend—emails, documents and so on. Your home stream is just one tiny part of the world stream. You can see your home stream in 3-D on your laptop or desktop, in constant motion on your phone or as a crawl on your big TV.

By watching one stream, you watch the whole world—all the public and private events you care about. To keep from being overwhelmed, you adjust each stream’s flow rate when you add it to your collection. The system slows a stream down by replacing many entries with one that lists short summaries—10, 100 or more.

An all-inclusive home stream creates new possibilities. You could build a smartwatch to display the stream as it flows past. It could tap you on the wrist when there’s something really important on-stream. You can set something aside or rewind if necessary. Just speak up to respond to messages or add comments. True in-car computing becomes easy. Because your home stream gathers everything into one line, your car can read it to you as you drive.

Does this sound familiar? Well it should a bit. The current Facebook wall/timeline, or Twitter is a great example of this theory put into practice. So let’s imagine this but fully integrated into our lives. No more checking e-mails, its right in that stream, no more browsing for news, but the news is delivered right to you. What are the implications for current information strategies?

My idea of this:
I think the near future will hold platforms such as Facebook or Google+ for the “stream”. People already more and more only use these pages to access the articles and updates they want. Fancy Follow it on Facebook and you’ll receive updates sending you to their website. Those are the suppliers: Websites for news, shopping and much more. The University MyEUR integrated into your stream, no need to get into the hassle of logging in on MyEUR but they will just post important things on your stream.

So there we are, with a platform, suppliers and users. What if we stop forwarding from Facebook to a certain website but display that News-item right onto your stream? Who makes the revenue? Probably, Facebook will provide the needed adverts onto the stream, giving a share of the profit to the suppliers of the stream. Another possibility is the Freemium model, want to pay for the stream? Pay 10 euros a month and no advertising. Just like Spotify, a similar pay-per-stream model might be suitable. With smart-watches and phones the need for more efficient display of information increases.

Do you guys have any thoughts on this? Where are we heading?

Author: Hidde van Heijst
#: 436800

“The Future of the Internet Is Flow”, the Wall Street Journal, 2nd of October 2015. David Galernter & Eric Freeman.


EU and VS will protect civilian-data more equally thanks to new agreement.

The European Commission and the US promise that personal data that is interchanged for enforcement purposes, will be better protected. 

Robust cooperation between the EU and the US to fight crime and terrorism is crucial to keep Europeans safe. But all exchanges of personal data, such as criminal records, names or addresses, needs to be governed by strong data protection rules. This is what the “Umbrella Agreement”, as named by the European Commission, will ensure.

Once in force, this agreement will guarantee a high level of protection of all personal data when transferred between law enforcement authorities across the Atlantic. It will in particular guarantee that all EU citizens have the right to enforce their data protection rights in US courts – as called for in the political guidelines of President Juncker last year.

Under certain conditions, civilians get the right to view their personal data that is exchanged, although it is unclear what these conditions exactly are. In addition, the EU and US promise to not use the exchanged data for other purposes than criminal enforcement and they will not store the data for longer than is needed. This retention period has to be announced publically by the authorities. The exchange of data to other 3rd parties is prohibited unless permission is granted by the country of origin where the data came from.

However, the agreement will only go in force when the US signs the Judicial Redress Bill. This bill is part of the negotiations initiated by Washington to regain the thrust of Europe in the US, after it got damaged by the revelations by Snowden of the NSA eavesdropping on Europeans and especially European politicians. But not only civilians, also businesses are getting spied on in order to gain their secrets.

–I think we already passed the stage where we should trust the European Commission -or other instances that fight this issue trough political ways-, to protect our freedom, rights and privacy. Even though they act out of good faith, it isn’t helping. It’s a lost cause, as long as government- and intelligence agencies like the NSA (and the Dutch AIVD) have the technical capabilities to infringe our privacy and limit our freedoms, they will continue to do so one way or another.

If you don’t want to be spied or monitored on by these agencies or other parties, there is only one solution: 100% encryption on everything you do. Every communication, website views, payments, contacts and so on, do everything with end-to-end encryption. You have to take measures on your own and don’t let your security and privacy dependent on the seemingly good will of other, third parties. Not only civilians but also businesses should take these measures to avoid industrial espionage. Of course, the other side of this discussion is public safety, for as spying could also reveal possible terrorists and other threats.. What would you prefer?

Author: Hidde van Heijst
S.I.D: 436800