Call me a conspiracy theorist but…

It seems to me that the internet is getting slower, more buggy and more downright frustrating. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost unusable. In my daily life, I use various computers, at home and at work. They’re all slow and the internet connection on all of them (each one supposedly “high-speed”) reminds me of the dial-up connections of yore.
It goes without saying that, as more and more of the Earth’s teeming billions get online, there will be more traffic, more demands on already strained systems, more malicious software, more spam and more mistakes at all levels. This is to be expected.
But let’s face it. There are powerful forces that view the internet as a rival, as a dangerous force and as something that needs to be contained – or even controlled. The leftist media, though it uses the internet itself, does not like the freedom of speech that comes with it. It does not like the proliferation of unorthodox, unapproved, opinions. It fears the challenge to its own monopoly on “news” and entertainment.
Government uses the internet, but there can be little doubt that some government entities view it with suspicion and loathing – at least when others (who view those same government entities with suspicion and loathing) have equal access to it.
Conservatives and religious groups also use the internet, but they’ll do anything in their power to prevent others from viewing material they consider “offensive”. For some of them, the internet is a tool of Satan to infiltrate the minds of our young with pornography and all sorts of deviance and decadence.
Lots of powerful people have secrets and sometimes those secrets get leaked – usually through the internet. Witness Wikileaks.
Until recently there has been (we think) a balance of power between the various foes of the internet. The rest of us benefit from this balance, because the result is our own freedom of speech. But would I be particularly paranoid if I wrote that there might be some willful sabotage involved with the recent slowness? I don’t think it’s very far-fetched at all. Perhaps the balance of power is giving way to some sort of unholy alliance. Maybe religious conservatives are working together with government officials and leftist ideologues in order to curb the power of the internet – or at least make it gradually less attractive for the average joe.
I apologize for the lack of links in this post; I’m away from home and working on my very small travel laptop.

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11 Responses to Call me a conspiracy theorist but…

  1. Matt Parrott says:

    You’re probably just thinking faster.
    I read 90% of what I read on the Internet on a Linux terminal RSS reader, so I would be the last to know if there were a slowdown.
    Personally, I believe it has more to do with “the herd” moving away from cable and traditional programming to NetFlix and other similar on-demand Internet services for their gluttonous consumption of Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs. The protocols and frameworks aren’t really designed for that kind of content and it’s taking a while for the backbone to adjust to the new reality.
    I believe that the profound extent to which multinational corporations now rely on the Internet for core business processes and the bullheaded quasi-Marxist ideological orientation of the standards organizations like W3C serve as a powerful check against conspirators conspiring against the Internet even if they had the audacity and resources to mount such a campaign.

  2. DD says:

    don’t use their ‘scare terminology’ to refer to your astute observations. Your smart and good and they are dumb and bad. End of story.

  3. countenance says:

    You just might be right, but streaming video eats up a lot of our bandwidth.
    Not only that, “ordinary” webpages load themseves up with complicated style sheets and auto-start videos. I saw this coming when broadband became a household stable: Instead of all our old static Web 1.0 era pages loading fast, most webmasters would load up their pages with goodies simply becuase they knew more bandwidth was available to more people.
    Say’s Law.

  4. Georgia Resident says:

    So I’m not the only one who’s noticed this.

  5. Half Sigma says:

    It may just be JavaScript bloat. Every page is loading up a huge amount of JavaScript code in order to run.
    Also, pages tend to reference stuff from many different domains, which requires multiple DNS lookups.
    While I don’t mean to use your blog a forum to promote my own websites, if you visit you will notice that all of the pages load practically instantaneously. My website has a minimal amount of JavaScript and other stuff going on. There would be no Javascript at all except for the Google ads and Google Analytics tracking code.

  6. Nyk says:

    Akamai seems to agree with your observations: Global average connection speed dropped 14% in Q4 2011 . They are not sure why.
    ( )
    I don’t live in North America, but I’ve also noticed lately that I’m having trouble streaming youtube HD videos at 1080p. I haven’t had these kinds of problems in a few years.
    @HS, I actually like the minimalist layout of your blog (not to mention the content), but that dating review site is plain awful with all those ads and marketing stuff. To top it off, there a link to Double Your Dating by deAngelo, probably the most marketed internet product in recent history.
    And I don’t think JavaScript is a big factor slowing down the net (unless you still use more than 5 year-old computers to browse the web, of course, as JS is executed by the client). JS code is just text, usually minimized, compressed to a reasonable size. I believe that youtube and streaming video are the big bandwidth eaters. Also, torrents.
    Speaking of which, I believe ThePirateBay are doing an fine job in undermining the progressive entertainment industry. At least with TPB the indoctrinees don’t also have to pay the propaganda organs for the privilege of being brainwashed, which is one small step towards freedom. And free information means that you’re that much more likely to get to the truth. In my case, it started with the illicit download of a book by Ray Kurzweil several years ago (I have since purchased it). This book led me to other transhumanist sites, which led me to another book about libertarianism (thankfully free), which led me to finding out about Milton Friedman; this in turn led to his grandson Patri’s blog and finally Mencius Moldbug and the “far-right” HBDsphere. Without TPB, I would probably have different beliefs about racial differences and politics than the ones I have today.

    • SFG says:

      The Pirate Party in Germany has been going ‘off the reservation’, though not in a way Jay’s likely to appreciate. Punch Der Spiegel into Google Translate (don’t rely on the english translations Spiegel gives you, you’ll miss the funniest stuff about how they’re using ‘shit’ too much) and have a laugh.

    • Half Sigma says:

      The dating site has no purpose except to make money by people clicking on the ads. However, revenue is down 60% from 2010 to 2011.
      I don’t like the D’Angelo ad either, but I’m too lazy to figure out how to remove it. I no longer do any sort of programming, so I hope I never have to reprogram the C# code.

  7. Ian says:

    Great post, as always, JAY. A slight edit:
    “The leftist media-government-accademia-corporate monster, though it uses the internet itself, does not like the freedom of speech and thought that comes with it. It does not like the proliferation of unorthodox, unapproved, opinions. It fears the challenge to its own monopoly on information”.

  8. DD says:


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