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The eyes of the Internet

Tags: English, technology, essays
Created on Tue, 14 Dec 2021

Note: I'm not going to talk about these eyes today. I need more pandemic to get there.

We don't know what the Internet really is. Not really. We don't have the intuition or senses to recognize it anymore. It's not like how we know what a human is.

And we don't have laws and rights at the Internet. Not really. We don't really know what is where and what can and shouldn't be done. We don't know it like we know not to poke a human in the eyes.

So when one day someone discoveres the Internet has something like an eye, a weak, soft spot - we take all the toothpicks and nails, we take all the pins and needles, all the sharp sticks and every tool around us and we try to poke it.

And then the people making the Internet scramble to "patch it", to make glasses or lenses or more accurately - to put duct tape on the eyes in the hope it protects them.

But the duct tape is also made of Internet - we don't really know it. Not really. Some duct tape is actually made of nails. So you put it on the Internet eyes and the eyes bleed.

We don't know where the Internet begins and ends anymore. It doesn't have these sharp boundaries a physical object might have. The Internet used to be at your desk. Now it's in your pocket. On your wrist. It's in your home and even if the devices themselves could work, when you get a cardiac arrest your hair may also stop growing for a minute.

You can't escape the Internet even if you try. And I'm not even talking about the crazy stuff - I'm talking about reality - which is crazier than the half-baked conspiracy theories that were insanely on the rise this year, at least in my bubble. Actually: I think if conspiracists really knew what's in their pockets, hands and in every corner of the "western" world, every second of their life - they would say that that is crazy and impossible.

And the Internet is fragile. It has millions of eyes and other soft spots hidden between the wires. Not a month goes by without a major outage now despite the insane effort of thousands of engineers and millions (if not billions) of servers in thousands of data centers all around the planet to provide redundancy and a feeling of "security". A single configuration change (as we call it in the bizz) is often enough to put out all of the biggest names - the Gs, the As, the Fs, the Ns, the Ms and a lot of the other latin letters - out for hours.

We don't know what the Internet really is. It used to be some Universities (and military) connected 50 years ago in a better way than a telegraph or a phone. The web used to be a single machine with a label "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!!" merely 30 years ago.

This weekend we became aware of a weak eye - a piece of software that most people will never care or know what is for is making every sysadmin sweat bullets and this will continue for a while.

Needles are coming from everywhere. Duct tapes are being rolled out. Everyone is holding their breaths and hopes it's over before the holidays. For some - it won't be. For the fortunate - it may be.

Until we see the next eye.