This is an old version of my manifesto. I've written a more comprehensive version here.

I believe in our right to express ourselves. I believe in our fundamental rights to free speech, and to privacy. We should be allowed to select who knows what information about us. Laws can be changed or broken at any time, so they are not enough to protect this right. We need the ability to prove mathematically that our communications and data are secure when we desire, not be forced to trust third parties to do that for us. Look at how many data breaches take place every year. It's unfortunate, but third parties can only be trusted on a case by case basis after careful review by the individual. To make matters worse, there are countless instances of these third parties handing off your data to be sold as a commodity, or to governments under the guise of protecting their citizens. When we are forced to tie our identities to our everyday online interactions, we are forced into positions where we may not be comfortable with or able to express ourselves with complete freedom.

Tools already exist that can help us maintain our privacy and take some of the control back. Out of the box, your ISP can see every single query you make. But by simply changing your DNS provider and encrypting your traffic with TOR (or a VPN provider you deem trustworthy). You can hide data in such a way that only the intended recipient will be able to see it. There are more facets to this, but I'll save that for a writeup I'll make at a later date.

I believe the internet has become too homogenous. How often do you see a link that doesn't point to some conglomerate like Google, Facebook, Reddit, etc? For me the answer is "rarely". Social media companies who gain ad revenue from polarizing their audiences. If we are enraged, we are engaged. This leads to a sense of division and alienation, because reasonable voices are rarely amplified. It's rare to see civil discussions,or to see people make an effort to really understand others' points of view. We're incentivized to farm magic internet points instead of sharing our real thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts might even get us banned if we choose to post them.

Under capitalism, we live in a hierarchal structure. Massive businesses buy their power from governments that are rarely there to help us. These same entities shape society through their collection of data and the advertising we are consequently fed. Advertising has become ubiquitous in daily life, though none of us ever gave explicit consent for this. It has gotten its roots into every facet of modern society. They've infected the internet. A place that was built to help us connect with one another as morphed into another arm of capitalism.

Thankfully, we all have voices. Don't let yourself be silenced. I share these things because they deeply interest me personally, and I don't want us to lose the ability to speak candidly in public settings like we can here. Exercising our right to privacy is a powerful statement, and we should not give that right up so easily. And we should make efforts to carve out our own little spots on the internet that are harder to control. Use your voice, take some of that power back. I feel like a lot of us here on Neocities are trying to do just that. This will be my own little weird corner of the internet. I look forward to watching it grow and evolve, and to meeting more of you.


March 22, 2024

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