What would it mean to build into the architecture of the web server - the open software that runs the internet (let's just call this Apache for short) - a way of sustainably financing the cost of running the service? How would we design such a protocol? What would the software look like?
# Knowledge is not data
The internet is neutral for data, but not neutral for knowledge. Net Neutrality is about the freedom to move packets of data, not about packets of value. Like Adam Smith before us, we insincerely hold that a neutral science of market exchange needs to be above or at least prior to judgement.
The issue with both of these ideas is that the free movements of packets of data is not a neutral political concept, any less than the free market exchange is a neutral political concept - abstract maybe but by no means neutral.
If we take data for instance, and the free movement of data in particular, we can derive the following law:
"Free" (as in beer) + "data" (as in bits): + servers require hardware, software and energy + paying for data (advertising) is legal => market value of data = advertisers => Data with (emotive) market value proliferates => Dull data (facts) vanish
This "law" is to be tested for sure, but we can propose this law for sure - and the very fact that we can propose such a law demonstrates that our starting conditions "freedom" and "data" may lead directly to highly skewed provision of data to society at large.
How should such a server be architected? Are we talking protocols? That depends. Not if we are thinking simply about descriptive language paradigms. What we need instead is a performative language, that is a Legal Protocol.
# See also