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Class Notes #3

A student in each session of The Web Difference will blog the class, so I’m not going to live blog the course, which I could only do when John Palfrey is leading it, as he is today. So, what follows are some some notes and comments. (The class notes will be up on the site tomorrow, probably.)

JP explains the “layer” view: Infrastructure, Logic, Apps, Content. He indicates that the layers are messy and that this is over-simplified. But I’m struck by the layer-cake look of this, with each tier slightly narrower than the one beneath it. Presumably, this is so the structure will look sturdy. But if it were drawn to scale, the content layer would be like a frisbee balanced on a pin.

The main topic today is whether you can see the same Internet from anywhere in the world. Answer: No, you can’t. JP points to Internet Services Unit where you can report sites to the Saudi government as deserving to be blocked. The Saudis block by having a single big pipe out to the Internet. Everything has to flow through the Saudi proxy. The Chinese filter similarly but also at every layer of the stack.

JP points to a site that compares the results of Google searches run here and in China. In poking around during the class, we discover that Chinese language searches seem to get the same results whether you’re searching from or, as if is assuming that if you are looking for search terms in Chinese, you want to see the censored results. Odd.

John takes the class through the many, many ways countries can filter the Net. Then he leads a discussion of which elements of a society might be interested in either filtering the Net or keeping it open.

John is going to Turkey tonight for talks with various interested parties there about the virtues and vices of maintaining an open Internet. [Tags: ]

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