Google and HTTP

Original author: Dave Winer
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I oppose Google’s efforts to discredit the HTTP protocol. Here is a summary of the reasons for which I hold this point of view.

Their position

Proponents of the rejection of HTTP in their beliefs are mainly based on the fact that:

  1. Something bad could happen on the way from the server to the user's browser with a web page.
  2. Switching to HTTPS is easy and inexpensive.
  3. Google warns people that the site is "unreliable." So, if I don’t want people to run away in fear, I just need to fulfill their demands.

Why is that bad

The Internet is an open platform, not a corporate one. It is determined by its stability for more than 25 years and is still full of energy. Google is a guest on the Internet, like all of us. Guests do not set the rules.

Why is it bad from a practical point of view

Much of the Internet is archives. Files just lie where nobody supports them. They just work. There is no one to do the work that Google requires from all sites. And someone has a lot of domains and subdomains hosted on all types of software that Google has never thought of. Where the required transformation is not justified by a possible benefit. The reason for such a wide variety is that the Internet has always been open and has not been owned by anyone.

The Internet is a miracle

Google has made great efforts to convince you that HTTP is bad. Let me tell you why HTTP is the best thing ever.

Its simplicity is what allowed the Internet to work. This led to the rapid growth of new applications. Now it’s hard to believe that once there was no Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, etc. This is due to the fact that network standards before the advent of the Internet were complex and poorly documented. Explosive growth has occurred, because the Internet is simple. Where the earlier protocols were complex, the web was simple.

I do not think that growth has stopped. I want to make it easier and easier for people to run their own web servers. Google does what clergymen always do from programming, increasing the entry barrier, making things more complex, defending their monopoly. This means that only the most seasoned geeks can create sites. And we will lose a lot of sites created on the knee for 25 years of the existence of the Network by people who did not quite understand what they were doing. After all, they are also part of the magnificence of the Internet. Wandering in the dark actually allows you to push for something. The worlds created by corporate programmers are often designed in such a way that it is impossible to find your own way in them.

The Internet is a social contract of non-destruction. He has served us for 25 years. I don’t want to give up on this because a bunch of geeks at Google think they know how best.

The Internet is like the Grand Canyon. This is a huge natural entity, potential, inspiration and, like the canyon, it deserves our protection. This is a place to experiment and learn. It is also suitable for large corporate sites like Google. All views on the Internet are important, especially those that large companies do not understand or respect. This is how technological progress works.

Maintaining a network that works simply is as important as network neutrality.

They believe they have the power

Google makes a popular browser and is a leader in technology. They can, in their opinion, surround the network and to begin to warn users about access to HTTP content. Most likely, they will not stop at this , demanding from the user consent to open such pages, and then simply blocking them.

It's not fair

Many of the sites they designate as “unreliable” do not request any information from the user. Of course, users will not understand this. Many will take the warning seriously and click the back button without having a clue why they are doing it. Of course, Google is up to date. This is such a dirty political tactic that we expect from corrupt political leaders, and not from leading tech companies.

Sleight of hand

They tell us to worry about the man-in-the-middle attack that can change the content, but they don’t mention that they themselves can do this in the browser, even if we use the “secure” protocol. They are the only structure you must trust first. No options.

They give incorrect statistics.

When they say that HTTPS accounts for a certain amount of traffic, this is not an indication of the scale of the problem. Many HTTP sites that have low attendance carry valuable ideas and deserve to be preserved.

This will destroy the history of the Internet.

If Google gets its way, it will make most of the web’s history inaccessible. People put things on the Internet with the expectation that they would be available over time. Therefore, it is important that no one has the power to decide what the Internet should be. This is similar to the massive burning of books in an unprecedented scale.

If HTTPS is so cool ...

Then why force people? This assumes that Google will be the main beneficiary , not content owners.

Internet is not secure

In the end, what is the value of security?

Twitter and Facebook resemble AOL in old pre-Internet times. They are managed by companies that are committed to a safe experience. They offer compromises for this. Restrictions for references. No styles. Restrictions on the use of symbols. Blocking, suppression, reporting, norms. And so on and so forth. Think of them as Disneyland.

Internet is not secure. It is right. We do not want everything to be safe. This allows people to be wild and experiment with new ideas. It is because of this that the Internet has been a testing ground for many amazing things throughout its history.

So much is unsafe. Crossing the street. Riding a bike in Manhattan. Love. But we still do it. You cannot be safe all the time. Life is generally unsafe.

If Google succeeds in creating a safe and bland Internet, we’ll have to rebuild it outside of the googlesphere. Let's save some time and just create a new Internet outside the Internet.

PS Of course, we want parts of the web to be secure. For example, the sites of banks. But the archive of my blog for 2001? Seriously, there is no need for special requirements.

Google Threat Letter

On June 20, 2018, I received a letter from Google as the owner of

Google email

According to the letter, I have to “switch to HTTPS to avoid alerts and help protect user data.”

This is a blog. I do not request any data from users.

The mark “unreliable” from Google means: “Google tried to take control of the open Internet, and this site said no.”

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