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Natural properties (axioms) of the Web

© Vitali Kaufman



The Web has entered the life of almost every civilized person, but its fundamental properties remain insufficiently conscious. Unfortunately, including those who are entrusted with the right to exert a significant influence on the behavior on the Web.
Their incompetence generates laws such as “Right to be forgotten” – a complete analogue of the right to catch a ray of light that has flown into space.
Such legislators not only waste resources (attention, time, money …) – their own and, especially regrettably, ours. In fact, they deceive themselves and others, because such laws are contrary to the nature of the Web and can not be effective in principle.
I will try to formulate several properties of the Web, which I consider fundamental.
These properties, which I call the Web axioms, are fundamental in the same sense in which the Newton’s laws are fundamental for classical mechanics.
It should be understood that the Web described by the axioms is an ideal object that does not exist in real nature. Similarly to the fact that there is no vacuum in nature or rectilinear uniform motion, referred to in the laws of Newton.
However, the modern Web has properties very close to the fundamental ones, and, fundamentally important (my main hypothesis), that its real properties will transform to the ideal properties.
In other words, if the properties and mechanisms supporting the appearance of the success of initiatives like “Right to be forgotten” or the prohibition of specific means of communication still exist in the modern Web, then over time illiteracy (thereby harm) of such initiatives will become obvious.

Natural properties (axioms) of the Web

  1. Publicity is irreversible
    • Content, once made to be public, will remain so, regardless of attempts to protect it from public access (to close)
      • A word is not a sparrow
      • Streisand effect – I thank Vladimir Chukharev for this link
  2. Bans from the outside of the Web are ineffective
    • Any such ban can be bypassed
  3. Authentication is problematic
    • Some identification evidences can be faked
    • Some identification evidences can be stolen
      • For example, account name and password
      • Stolen evidences can not be distinguished from genuine
  4. The protection of correctly authorized content is effective
    • Wisely protected content can not be read without permission
      • At a minimum, it is very difficult and impractical
        • Protection methods allow to encode each message in a own way
  5. Intellectual values in public space are not property
    • the access to them is public in practice
    • access restrictions are counter-productive
      • it provokes unauthorized use
      • provoke the creation of analogs instead of direct application
  6. Web is Priority Consultant
    • Оpportunities grow
      • To find the answer to the question of interest
      • To check the reputation of the data source
      • To use an automated network consultant
        • Increasingly more competent than a human
          • Including, thanks to the processing of “large network data” by neural networks (artificial intelligence)

Why they are needed

  • To discuss and solve the problems of the Network, based on a clear understanding of its nature.
  • To see the path to a comfortable Web.
  • To minimize discomfort on the Web, including direct damage from the interference of profanes into its behavior.
    • And also huge indirect material and cultural damage from counter-productive activities with obviously unattainable goals
      • A vivid example is the attempt to ban Telegram in Russia

Examples of consequences

  • “Right to be forgotten” is not feasible
  • Open access to intellectual values is a reasonable alternative to “intellectual property”
  • Ban on anonymizers is ineffective
  • Punishment for reposts provokes withdrawal of users to a dark network
  • The requirement to open access to correspondence just forces customers to seek (and find) other providers
  • The rule “consult first and foremost with the Web” becomes a sign of a modern culture of communication
    • In combination with the culture of checking the reputation of sources


Additions and clarifications

  • Internet, including mobile, in all its embodiments and options

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