[iDC] history of protocols

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Thu Nov 7 03:02:30 UTC 2013

On 11/05/2013 10:07 PM, Jim Piccarello wrote:
> the topology of the Internet reflects politics and economics as much as it reflects engineering and that topology is defined by protocols in the engineering, political and economic senses.

Engineering and technical choices are deeply tied to political and 
economic choices (even though sometimes we don't see what the 
relationships are between these different spheres until after the 
choices have been made).

I wrote an article in 2007 about how the protocols used in a secure web 
browsing session reflect and reinforce larger political and economic 
arrangements.  It's a narrow case study about why technical choices in 
protocols are important political choices that we need to pay attention to:

     "Technical Architecture shapes Social Structure"


It's aged a bit (browsers don't look quite the same way that they used 
to in the screenshots), but i think it actually holds up OK.  And the 
underlying arguments about the specific technical question examined are 
sadly still relevant today.


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