back to article The open internet repels its most insidious attackers. They’ll return

China and Russia have been colluding to try to get a Chinese Internet protocol, New IP, adopted as a global standard. It's needed, they say, to improve quality of service guarantees. (Oh, and by the way, it also lets countries take complete control of their national networks, adding user registration requirements and shutting …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For a new, In the Beginning, from little acorns ..... etc etc

    Saving the open internet and giving most of the world a better life online would be shenanigans of the most splendid sort.

    I second that motion/imotion/emotion unreservedly, Rupert Goodwins.

    Gentlemen and ladies, start your virtual machine engines and let the shenanigans begin to rip up and replace the corrupt conventional and perverse traditional rule books ...... remote exclusive executive command and selfish self-servicing control manuals.

  2. ThatOne Silver badge

    They don't care...

    > People are smart.

    While I wholeheartedly agree with the gist of the article, on this you are wrong. Unfortunately people are not so much stupid as narrow-minded, egotistic and lazy. They only care for things as long as they have a strong personal motive to do so, and Internet is just a convenience: They'll say there are already people tasked to look after it, so why would they need to make an effort? They pay their ISP and get a service in return, that's all there is. Why would they care about problems they neither know anything about nor really understand? They pay their taxes, let the professionals care about that kind of stuff (and so on).

    I know because I've been there, and been looked at like I was warning them of lizard people silently taking over, and never anybody came anywhere close to understand what is actually at stake. The problem is so alien to the average normal person that they don't understand, and even if they do, they don't really care, and even if they do, they are stumped for an answer. Well, besides the usual and utterly pointless and ridiculous anti-Chinese posturing ("Lets rename 'General Tso's chicken' to 'Freedom chicken'! That will show them!").

    1. abetancort

      Re: They don't care...

      There are a few million people around the world that don’t belong to sheep category. Those are the ones furthering Internet and won’t take it that it becomes proprietary. They are the reason that Tor, personal VPN, free proxies, forums, code source repositories with hundreds of thousands of open source code projects and many other things exist on the Net and are free or nearly free.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: They don't care...

        Your few million non-sheep people is a very small proportion of the current 7.8 billion total population. So if this becomes a discussion then they are a minority - the total population keeps increasing, so more sheep soon?

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: They don't care...

          ... and they don't own the internet.

          It's owned by the big ISPs (in the USA) and Google (who get to control how 99% of people experience it).

          And the ISPs are overseen by the shadowy (and sometimes, not-so shadowy) chaps with the nice suits and the curly earpieces (or crisp uniforms, in other jurisdictions).

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: They don't care...

        > There are a few million people around the world that don’t belong to sheep category.

        There are some, although I'd rather say not more than a million worldwide. And as already stated, that's way too few, especially since money talks too, and it is quite loud and overbearing.

        So, unless you are satisfied with a small beleaguered enclave of nearly free geeks, it's an uphill battle and the hill is quite steep. You'd be trying to save people who don't want to be saved. Arguing about things which seem totally fictitious/preposterous to them. Don't believe me? Try explaining to an average teenager why (s)he shouldn't give his/her full curriculum to some shady company just to get some stupid phone game. (Note I said "average", so if your own teenagers are PhDs in several fields and hold conferences in Internet privacy, well, good for you. Your case is not a counter-argument, it's an outlier.)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They don't care...

        > They are the reason that Tor,

        Except that TOR was developed to protect US "Intelligence" traffic.

    2. Duke of Source

      Re: They don't care...

      Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live, at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!

    3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: They don't care...

      "I've been there, and been looked at like I was warning them of lizard people silently taking over"

      Yes, because that's roughly the level of credibility attached to the dubious theories the article pushes. I don't understand how anyone can be gullible enough to still be a Putin fan at this point, but here you are joining in.

      Don't you have something to tell us about how well your glorious leader's 'special operation' is going?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They don't care...

        DId you even read his post?

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: They don't care...

        > a Putin fan

        WTF? Are you high or something? Who is talking about Putin here besides you?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They don't care...

      What you described is also how many of us have had to deal with the current situation with the Tories.

      For the last 6 years, brexit and think tanks have pushed towards the low tax, reduced benefits, reduced employee and environmental protection if it affects business profits.

      Obvious to most of us here - many of whom have been screaming, only for people to be totally uninterested, or just say "sovrintee innit?"

      All EU laws drafted into law after brexit are about to be cancelled. Say goodbye to your rights, but whatever, what's more important is who is on "celebrity love bake off get me out of here" this week.

      1. Rol

        Re: They don't care...

        I'd buy you a beer, but I live in the UK, so have no idea if my local pub will still be operating, whether I will be able to withdraw money from my bank unchecked, whether inflation would put the price of beer out of my reach or if I will survive another winter with only a layer of goose fat and some brown paper to fend off the cold chill of Thatcherism unlimited.

        1. Glen 1

          Re: They don't care...

          Even Thatcher saw the point of the single market.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Engineers of Souls

    Oh, China. Oh, Russia. Why not just say you can't trust your citizens and you need the tools to suppress information and dissent?

    To be truthful, the Western internet --- dominated now also by a small number of gatekeepers --- is different to what it was 15, or even 10 years ago, being far more bland and geared to a purpose of selling stuff, with far fewer wacky websites and dissenting voices. Almost as if people are being fed a dominant narrative on any of the past, and made to conform by engineering.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Engineers of Lost Souls

      To be truthful, the Western internet --- dominated now also by a small number of gatekeepers --- is different to what it was 15, or even 10 years ago, being far more bland and geared to a purpose of selling stuff, with far fewer wacky websites and dissenting voices. Almost as if people are being fed a dominant narrative on any of the past, and made to conform by engineering. .... Claverhouse

      It is thus indeed most fortunate, Claverhouse, although not at all for those Engineers of Souls justly disadvantaged and correctly opposed and confronted, that there be more than only a chosen few enabled and able to deal just worthy desserts to the many deserving of the clarion Wild Wacky Western Wilderness call ... To hell and beyond with all of that ... bite the hands that feed them IT .... and permit them to starve and wither on the bankrupt vine of gatekeeper misinformation

      The Main Stream Media with its musty moguls and dusty barons do vainly struggle and do battle amongst themselves, and dare not to even mention any tales of it and IT Troubles and Travails lest, as it is prone to do at an exorbitant and existentially overwhelmingly progressive and uncontrollable rate, it breaks free and runs riot right down to the core and through all of those interconnected and internetworking systems defaulted to sinisterly deceive rather than magnanimously server.

      And what is also worth realising and celebrating, is the status quo have only the faintest of notions that such things exist and threaten their survival if in desperate traditional type support of the future indefensible and subversive.

      1. trindflo Bronze badge

        I finally think I get it

        I finally think understand the amanfromMars 1 service, and I truly understand it to be a service. It seems to be triggered by histrionic twaddle then applies semantic rules to reword and repeat the thoughts.

        There are things that always give aman away, and I now understand that to be intentional. The bot seems incredibly sophisticated to me. I have no doubt the obvious flaws could be patched. You're supposed to notice it's a bot.

        When there is stuff that seems so trite that it could have been generated by a bot, our friendly bot pops out and does a sort of parody, complete with pratfalls, to wake us up and remind us there are bots out there attempting to yank our chains.

        Thanks mate! Cheers!

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: I finally think I get it

          > There are things that always give aman away,

          Indeed. I hadn't got through the first line before I looked at the attribution and confirmed it.

    2. fg_swe Bronze badge

      Not True

      Just because many people chose the "convenience" of Facebook, Instagram, etc does NOT mean the general idea of "many servers, lots of users" has died.

      With a tiny bit of IT expertise (your local Linux user group can help), you can now run a WWW server on your $30 RPI at a electricity cost of a few cents per day. Behind the DSL modem. Free DynDNS is readily there.

      You can do other nice things with this server, such as running your own chat server. No need for WhatsApp and their censorship. No need to suffer the arbitrary FB "algorithm" (which is in fact censorship under a new name).

      The WWW of Berners-Lee is alive and kicking. It is just some power mongers who want to control information in an effort to further their pet agenda.

      SMTP is also very much alive, with all the anti spam stuff bolted on. If you want to make it secure, the German government gives you GNUpg free of charge for the purpose.

      Hundreds of gaming systems run nicely on top of TCP/IP.

      Millions of people meet via a plethora of teleconference systems. Including open source systems you can run on your own server for privacy and security reasons.

      Millions of businesses run their own distributed IT systems, either at Amazon, Microsoft, Hetzner, HPE or in their own data centre. No need to connect them to Zuckerbergs empire.

      I use the qwant search engine, because I do not like Google. Works nicely for me. Others use yandex and Baidu. is a marvellous project from England, and apparently runs on a shoestring budget. No need for Google Maps and their data gathering.

      My private RPI server can also run an SSH file server, so that my ideas are not socialized.

      In other words, the internet does just fine.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Not True

        > you can now run a WWW server

        This became possible as soon as you had a permanent (ie. not dial-up) Internet connection, which means for some already some 20 years ago (or more). But even before, you still had the free website hosting services. No technical knowledge required, well, except to create your "content".

        Do you remember the craze of the personal websites? Geocities, Fortunecities, Crosswinds, whatever all those webpage hosting services were called back then? Some of the websites hosted there were actually quite interesting. Nowadays it's all gone, the fad has passed. Fact is most people don't have much to say besides showing off the latest pictures of their current interest, and for this Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Whatever are way better suited than a full-blown website with all it's technical requirements and constraints.

        You can run a web server, much like you can climb Mt Everest, but in both cases most people won't bother.

        1. fg_swe Bronze badge

          Yeah, Centrally Controlled Dystopia

          1.) Running you own WWW server is by no means as hard as climbing an 8000m mountain. More like "get your fat arse up the local 50m hill"

          2.) Posting something on Facebook means that your ideas can be killed any time, especially if you post something inconvenient to some oligarch. They can either do this in a hard or a stealthy way. On FB, you are not a free man, but a slave-product of an oligarch and the Giga-financiers who own his stock.

          3.) As I wrote, there are now lots of small WWW sites, internet radio stations, non YT video sites. There is absolutely no need to further the dystopian control of a few oligarchs. Rather, we should consciously use the little guy alternatives. The oligarchs displayed their rotten attitude when they pushed GATES' Covid agenda and business, all while censoring dissenters to nowhere.

          3.2) Klaus Schwabs "you will own nothing" should be a warning to all free men, of the coming merger of Big Business and Marxism.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mechanical systems are much harder to break

    than "conventions", which is how the alt-right have managed to capture the US and UK political machines.

    All China and Russia are learning is why systems based on arbitrary decisions can't be turned into machines.

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      Or Maybe

      ..some of the lefties are clearly insane. "you can be man, any time you declare it. No need for testicles, sperm and all that".

      In the U.S. these loons are in power at the moment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or Maybe

        So men that have had their testicles removed due to cancer are not men?

        Your insecurity is seeping through, matey.

        Why is it you and the other right wing loonies are so preoccupied with someone elses sex? It's either perverted, or maybe it actually betrays your hidden feelings.

        1. fg_swe Bronze badge

          Re: Or Maybe

          Fighting biology is one of the insane aspects of hard core Marxism. These folks killed 100 Million people in the 20th century and they now want to maim teenagers for the rest of their lives. Somebody needs to call out this.

          SPARTA have been dangerous nutters, already 2000 years ago. They hated the family and wanted to steal children from their father and mother, in order to turn them into superbrute soldiers. A wholly rotten idea.

          1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

            Re: Or Maybe

            Wow! I didn't know acknowledging the existence of gender diversity within the human species makes me a mass-murdering Communist. Someone should have told me sooner.

            I had better refuse to acknowledge something that exists, so that it will go away, and my latent temptation to murder millions and invade and oppress nearby countries because they disagree with me will just go away.

          2. abruptbanana

            Re: Or Maybe

            Equating Stalin's *interesting* agriculture policies, and general madness with people being trans is an interesting leap. I'm intrigued to hear more about what you have to say...

            Also, I think you're alluding to puberty blockers, fun fact there are no known harmful side effects (and there have been extensive studies) - and they are completely reversible (you just stop taking them). But yes, medicine for teenagers to moral minefield I do accept, but from my experience they do save lives (mine included).

            Medicines that are given to teenagers, that do have harmful side effects include antidepressants (have you seen the warnings and side effects of those things) - they're actually given out like candy sometimes and they can be truly harmful (but they still have their uses - and for the love of God listen to your doctor!)

      2. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Or Maybe

        It's simple, my friend. Trans men are men and Trans women are women.

        It's not a case of becoming a man or woman, we always were that gender.

        Not that this has *anything at all* to do with the comment you replied to, it's just you inserting your transphobia into an unrelated topic.

  5. DS999 Silver badge

    We're looking at the wrong problem

    New IP isn't the problem. Given that it merely standardizes what China is doing with the internet in their country already, it is mostly a fig leaf for them when they are rightly accused of denying freedom to their citizens. Even if New IP was made a standard, it isn't going to require everyone in the world will have to provide a retinal scan to surf the web, even if China and Russia made that choice which New IP would allow them to make. It isn't going to require the US build a kill switch into its internet, even if China chooses to do so (they probably already have this anyway)

    The real problem is that apparently some people (or at least some people at The Register) think that the whole internet standards process can be undone through the election of a single person - the secretary general of the ITU. If one person holds that much power THAT is what needs to be fixed.

    I would have assumed that this position is not dictatorial, that there are checks and balances inherent in the ITU. Surely that's the case, and the Reg is worrying unnecessarily? Right? Right??

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: We're looking at the wrong problem

      It's not really about one person, but about the string of one-person decisions that could follow. Take a similar example at a smaller level. This paper has described over the past few years the history of the UK's domain registry, Nominet. They completely changed from an organization acting for the public benefit to one designed to line the pockets of their directors. Similarly, we also had the fight over the future of the .org registry. That one didn't get that far, but it was close until a government started investigating it.

      In each case, the number of people required to start the process of corruption in these institutions was small. Pointing to a single villain who single-handedly did the deed isn't possible, but the list of people responsible for keeping it that way was at most in the double digits. A few people saw an opportunity, found some others to do the work for them, and took advantage of the fact that people don't pay that much attention to the inner workings of something that seems small and technical until it's too late. It took thousands of people shouting for months or years to move the needle on either of those things, and that was against two relatively small corporations without government backing.

      The ITU couldn't become corrupted with the election of one director, but it probably could with the election of about twenty. A lot of governments don't pay that much attention to what such a minor bureaucratic agency does, but they do accept their regulations. Unlike Nominet, there is no process for calling an emergency meeting and kicking out ITU members when the extent of their goals becomes concerning, nor can a single government threaten them into paying attention to public desires. Right now, this isn't concerning because the ITU doesn't have a lot of power over the structure of the internet, but that's due to custom, not law. Do you trust your politicians to understand why that's a good thing?

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilence

    Data fetishists have got a lot of access and control.

    This is a small step in the right direction.

  7. captain veg Silver badge


    "They know that there are behaviors online they should expect"

    I might be slow on the uptake, but this is the second example I've noticed recently of El Reg spelling things wrong. When did this become a thing?

    Kindly desist forthwith. I'm perfectly capable of visiting American web sites myself, thanks.


    1. R Soul Silver badge

      Re: behaviours

      "behaviours" is a non-word used by stupid people to try to impress even stupider people.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar !

    free as in freedom

    The only appropriate path for the Internet is LESS governance, not MORE. The Internet works best when it is the Wild West. Governance leads to choke points and censorship. There are already too many of "those people" trying to turn the West into another China. They'll ruin the Internet given even a slight opportunity. We must not let them.

    1. khjohansen

      Re: free as in freedom

      The "Wild West" of J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockefeller?? Lack of regulation leads to monopolies like FB, Ama***, and the beasts of Redmond and San Jose!

  9. martinusher Silver badge

    What's New IP got to do with the ITU

    The ITU is in the business of getting bytes from A to B. They might have an interest in what's in those bytes but generally anything to do with IP is the province of that most anarchic of non-organization, the IETF. If China wants to introduce a new protocol there's nothing to stop them, it will just have its own protocol number. Everything else will just operate as before. Its the beauty of the Internet.

    So this politicized discussion of 'freedom' just belies the general lack of understand of what Internet protocols do and how they work.

    The biggest danger to the open Internet isn't Russia or China or whatever. Its our legal system that's increasingly asking for content to be policed and nodes to be blocked because they might be pirating media. (...and if you make it really easy for a random media corporation to shut down bits of the net, excise content and persecute people it thinks are criminals then the government's going to have not problem. But as we all know, "It can't happen here".)

    BTW -- I think that China's been aggressively implementing IPv6 for decades now. Having that really big address space allows you to .reliably identify individual nodes

  10. Adair Silver badge

    Is 'the Internet'

    substantially different to having a fresh water supply?

    Water is even more basic to life - having access to potable water in sufficient quantity.

    That fundamental human need doesn't stop people shitting in it, leaving corpses in it, depriving others of rightful access, and generally behaving like self-serving morons.

    In the end there has to be effective rules and effective enforcement of those rules, because otherwise the self-serving morons take over (that includes you and I).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late I think

    I knew the open internet was doomed when it was pointed out to me that wikifeet was shuttered in the EU.

    No, I'm not a user but of all the harmless things to go after...

    1. Il'Geller

      Re: Too late I think

      The Open Internet shall very soon be replaced by a number of private and national databases. For example Microsoft and Apple, Chinese and Russian, French and German, etc databases? At the same time, there is a reason to assume that these should very tightly controlled databases. Indeed, why monitor users when you can control the content? The time of relative freedom is relatively over: the Open will stay as Dark internet, the place for drugs, prostitution, etc. But the time of absolute privacy has almost come...

  12. Il'Geller

    The Internet is completely outdated and in very few years will end.

    The idea of the Internet is that there is a set of documents, websites, images in which the user is looking for what he needs. AI has fundamentally changed this concept! From now on those will search themselves for the end user, who is completely passive, who gets his long desired and complete privacy. That is, espionage a la Google and FB loses all meaning, along with their business model, because all their profiles are replaced by personal AIs.

    How? Everything is now annotated by texts, on the basis of which individual profiles (lexical clones, AIs) can easily be made. Therefore, fortunes are to be made by those who provide programs for creating AIs and the same on electronic items, and the final match. The real fortunes, since we are talking about hundreds of billions and trillions; while the process of destroying the Internet and replacing it by Gellernet won't take long.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      For New More Orderly World Orders to View ....

      Have an upvote for that alien revelation, Il’Geller, with Pre-Ignition Sequential Start NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Explosive Launch Utilities/Facilities/Sensitivities.

      And not so much a common popular work in stealthy progress as a simply complex fait accompli crushing and crashing wasted and defunct and exhausting systems of failed and failing operations/crazed future unsupportable clearly inequitable narratives.

      Who said/says Early Stage Human Extinction via the Rise and TakeOver and MakeOver by Virtual AIMachines is a Fiction not based upon any Supporting Facts .... or if you prefer the cold comfort of confusion with a choice, is not a Fact with Supporting Fictions, when it be both and an Almighty Overwhelmingly Supportive Fact too ‽ .

      They never had a chance to divert and subvert it, did they, for they never could or would have imagined it possible to see it coming, even as they were being alerted and informed of its coming with inevitable inescapable negative consequences being afforded to the many destined to be discovered worthy of such a terminable fate because of their earlier failed efforts to crush and crash all competition and opposition to a self-serving specious absolute command and control ...... Special Access Programs for New Millenia Centurions ....... Imperial Guardians of Heavenly Perly GateKeepers.

      A novel "All is not Fair Fare in LOVE and AWEsome War" situation presented for publication and ACTive Live Peer Review, El Reg ..... further forensic investigation and dogged inquiry.

    2. Il'Geller

      All is about the accuracy of the cognitive AI search. For example, why were giant models like BERT type created? For those reasons that even without being able to really understand every word and expression, missing 99% of information, it will still be possible to find something. Even if 99% of the relevant information is skipped!

      In that new AI database, or rather many private and not so databases that are intended to replace Internet, the accuracy is absolute. That is, there is no question of losing a grain of information! The key to this miracle lies in understanding every word, every phrase in its context, and in as many annotations as humanly possible. And also in the taking into account subtexts, such as what is not explicitly mentioned in the text and context: here I mean dictionary and encyclopedia definitions, etc., for example. Only if and when such the clarity is achieved the Internet becomes turned into databases.

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