Few can say about themselves that they have reached the end of the Internet. Anyway, does the internet have an end? Today we can say that only when we run out of data transfer or fall out of network coverage.
Do you send funny memes to your friends? I do it regularly and I treat sending funny pictures as a form of keeping in touch with close and distant friends. This cannot be overestimated in times of a pandemic. It turns out, however, that my sense of humor evokes mixed emotions – eh, if I would get a tenner every time I hear “where did you get it from, did you get to the end of the internet?!”
The end of the internet – what is it? Where is it?
Is there such a thing as the end of the internet? We can look at such an issue in different ways, but as I mentioned in the introduction, we will end up closest to the truth when we talk about the impending exhaustion of the cellular data limit. If we do not have a gigabyte / cash register on the account or access to wi-fi, we will not use the Internet for obvious reasons. The situation will be similar when an excavator cuts the fiber going to your home…
An unfortunate accident at a construction site or a minor military coup (as is the case recently, for example in Burma) may deprive a smaller or larger community of access to the network. Sometimes for hours, maybe for days. This is probably still not bad compared to those who simply do not have access to the network. And there are many more than you think.
According to the data of the Central Statistical Office , almost 10% of the population in the EU does not have access to the Internet. These are, after all, numbers reaching millions! And we are a well developed region in this regard. There are countries (and large ones) in Asia or Africa where up to 20% of citizens have no access to the Internet at all. So if one way or another you run out of internet, or you are irritated by another stupid meme (probably taken from the deep web), remember – some people have not reached the end of the internet because they have not found its beginning yet.
It’s not the Matrix, it’s the darknet
If, like Neo from the Matrix, you sit at night browsing the web and looking for god knows what (memes?), you may end up finding corners that are basically off the internet. For starters, you will land on the deep web, which is (to put it simply) on sites that you won’t find on Google. They are not indexed at all (taken into account) by “ordinary” search engines.
A further step may be a visit to the darknet, which you can access only through a special browser. According to urban legends, it is a place full of dirt and despair, where pedophiles and contract killers reign. Not all of these revelations are true, because in the darknet quite a lot of “normal” communities, and a large number of alleged arms and drug dealers or ordinary petty scammers who want to pluck someone from a few bitcoins and disappear. However, if we were to name a place that could be described as the end of the Internet, darknet would be my # 1 candidate.
End of the Internet – definition. Could the internet end?
The Internet is considered by many to be one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. Although I would bet on a refrigerator here, there is no doubt that it has influenced our lives in an absolutely colossal way. You do not believe? Try to do without internet access for a year. Month? Week? Just a day! For people who are born online, even such a 24-hour disconnection from the Internet can be extremely difficult.
From the very beginning, humanity was enchanted by the possibilities offered by the WWW, but already at the dawn of this online revolution, skeptical voices were heard. There were also some laughs who encouraged you to leave your computer and go outside (if you are from Krakow – to the field). They also created the so-called the last pages – they informed that the user had reached the end of the internet. Today we can look at these relics of the ’90s of the last century as the first memes. They are, in my opinion, the symbolic end of the Internet – because this “real” end simply does not exist.
Where is your end of the internet
Most people use the internet medium quite passively. The latest information is sent by Uncle Google himself, or it appears on the Facebook wall. Here is an e-mail, and this is a photo on Insta and your favorite YT portal or channel. For the “common man” of the community on reddit, this is black magic, and 4chan is a hacker habitat. Someone like this, delighted with the meme of a unicorn ridden by a cat, may actually ask if it was taken from the end of the internet.
The web is not one big community, but a very complex system of more or less interconnected islands. Some move along them with lightning speed, others do not stick their nose beyond their own plot. But probably no one was at the very end.
I want my own internet!
We have recently been reminded of this division of the virtual world into islands cut off from each other. In my opinion, the pursuit of certain entities to gain “network independence” will become the seed to the end of the Internet – perhaps not per se, but as we know it today. You do not believe? Try to log in from Poland on the Disney website and watch Mandalorian.
While not being able to legally watch a new series is just a minor annoyance, the lack of access to independent information is a sad reality in some places. China took the lead here, effectively blocking access to many websites and depriving Chinese Internet users of any anonymity – even before it became fashionable. If the lack of access to the Google search engine is not the end of the internet, then I don’t know what is.
But perhaps we will find the answer in… Russia. Several years ago, the local authorities decided to make the country independent of foreign influences by redirecting all network traffic in the country to servers located in the Russian Federation. The first attempts were reportedly very successful. The whole action is, in theory, to increase the security of Russian Internet users, although it cannot be denied that for the ruling authorities it is an opportunity to enormously increase control over their own society. In extreme cases, it will be possible to completely cut off Russia from the network.
Please allow me to read this email
Although the situation in China and Russia may evoke unpleasant associations with the works of George Orwell, in countries traditionally associated with freedom and democracy, it is not sunshine and rainbows at all. The revelations of Edward Snowden showed that American officials are very fond of browsing private emails – not just their own citizens. Permanent surveillance is carried out by analyzing the network traffic of servers located in the US, as well as with the willing (apparently) cooperation of American corporations.
To be clear – Uncle Sam’s services also have fairly free access to data from, for example, Europe. Hence, Russian attempts to cut themselves off from this common swamp may find not only understanding but also followers. The leaders of European countries are also interested in making “our” Internet independent of America. So we can one day wake up in a completely new web reality. It will not be the end of the Internet, but such a heavily fragmented network will not be the same.
The internet itself is theoretically endless. There is neither the first nor the last page. We, the users, set these limits for ourselves. Therefore , for most of us, the starting point will be the Google search screen. The other side of the results is basically the darknet – especially if you are an SEO specialist and only the top 3 counts for you.