A Legislative Path to an Interoperable Internet

It’s not enough to say that the Internet is built on interoperability. The Internet is interoperability. Billions of machines around the world use the same set of open protocols—like TCP/IP, HTTP,

I don’t have a ton of faith in any legislature’s ability to usefully carve out what delegation and APIs should be mandated, but portability could do a lot… if it were required that you be able to import data you’d exported/deleted, even if you’d modified it. Deleted comments wouldn’t have to show up to other people back where they were, modified data could be marked as such, and reasonable exceptions could be made… But then you could build, say, a third-party interface for operating on one’s own data with the modified data as a result. And I hear that the GDPR data exports change format pretty capriciously–if there were requirements about being able to import as well, that’d be fixed right quick.

This is definitely one of those “engineer thinks their ‘one clever trick’ will solve complex social problem” ideas, but I think it’d at least help.


Anything is a huge gain over what we have now! Interoperability, if mandated, would help dissolve the monopolies.

This type of change would be very difficult in the USA since a huge part of their legislation is making sure their companies keep making more money and having more power than other countries’ companies.


I mean, GDPR showed that this principle can be overridden if that’s what it takes to make money off of other countries’ consumers. I definitely agree that it’s unlikely we’d see this legislation from the USA, but I think USA tech companies would comply if it came from e.g. the E.U.

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