The internet is dead, long live the internet

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The internet is increasingly falling under the control and restrictions of governments and multinational corporations. Internet connections are filtered and censored, not only in China but blatantly so in 'western' countries such as Australia and Canada. The content industry is clamping down on infringement on intellectual property and calls for ever more far-fetching and over-reaching laws to be put into effect. Meanwhile, telco's are making deals with content providers to decide how gets premium access and who gets degraded access to their networks.

As such, the independence of cyberspace as declared in 1996 is a thing of the past. We urgently need to reclaim this independence, to ensure the free flow of information. One way out is the deployment of darknets and encrypted tunnels layered over the existing commercial internet. In this talk I will argue for a more radical option though; I will call to abandon the existing infrastructure and build our own.

This talk will highlight various already ongoing initiatives supporting this bold idea, and ideas that are currently bubbling up to build grass-roots internet. Wireless mesh networks that connect local areas, initiatives to connect rural areas to the larger networking community and the hackerspaces space program launching this year at the CCC camp in August, where we plan for an actual grass-roots telecommunications satellite network.

About the speaker

Koen Martens (gmc) is a programmer, political activist and hacker. He works for the Digital Methods Initiative, a research group at the University of Amsterdam, providing technical support and programming skills. As an entrepreneur he runs a hosting and consultancy company, with a focus on wiki-technology and database maintenance (DBA). As an organiser he has been responsible for several conferences and congresses, most notable Hacking At Random (HAR2009) and GUADEC2010. He founded the hackerspace Revelation Space in The Hague, and is closely involved with the hackerspaces in The Netherlands, Belgium and all over the world. He is treasurer of the Hxx foundation. Chief editor and producer of Signal, the hackerspaces radio station.