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The Logical Layer

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The most basic logical components - the basic protocols and standards for 
Internet connectivity - have from the beginning of the Internet been open,
unowned, and used in common by all Internet users and applications They 
were developed by computer scientists funded primarily with public money.
Benkler, 2006, p. 412

The Logical Layer concerns the means of translating human meaning into forms which can be transmitted, stored or computed by machines, and vice versa. It is also known as the 'code' layer, and is predominantly software-based.

This layer incorporates a broad range of widely differing functionalities, from the technical protocols like TCP/IP that enable virtually any kind of network to connect to and share data with other networks, to applications that run on the Internet, such as the World Wide Web.

The IETF, an organisation with a mission of 'making the Internet work better', developed most of the basic standards for online machine communications. They also display a commitment to making their documents and meeting minutes publicly available online, in order to keep the development of such processes open. These simple protocols that merely served to move data from one place to another and the permission-free culture that developed around them enabled such innovations as email, the Web, instant messaging and file transfer to be built on top. The Internet is therefore far freer and more open at the logical layer than at the physical layer.

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Openness at the Logical Layer

Following are ten recommendations for maintaining openness at the Logical Layer, including for computer manufacturers, ISPs and other technology companies, policymakers and legislators and individuals operating at an logical level:

  1. Develop toolkits for reporting the running code and vital signs of a PC to help other PCs on the network assess the risk level for running new code from that PC (Zittrain, 2008)
  2. Screen viruses through network gateways operated by ISPs rather than through constantly-updated PC software (Zittrain, 2008)
  3. Encourage ISPs to take further action over hijacked machines used remotely, via new best practices or rearranging liabilities (Zittrain, 2008)
  4. Ensure that changes by regulators are evaluated in terms of the neutrality of end-to-end (Lessig, 2001)
  5. Encourage governments to choose open operating systems (Lessig, 2001)
  6. Legislate against major players in the Internet space from architecting that space to benefit their own strategic needs and behaviours (Lessig, 2001)
  7. Use open source software and/or operating sytems (Hyde et al, 2011)
  8. Learn HTML (Hyde et al, 2011)
  9. Support Internet and Web standards (Hyde et al, 2011)
  10. Support the diffusion of technologies of cooperation and cooperative online platforms like Wikipedia Fuchs, 2008
  11. …?
  12. …?
  13. …?
  14. …?
  15. …?

What else could be done to keep the Logical Layer open?

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logical_layer.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/16 12:46 (external edit)