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My parents, who remain spry and sharp well into their 70s, are wise in the ways of the real world, but are like innocent lambs when it comes to the increasingly nasty practices one encounters in the online world. On a recent visit, my father complained that his computer was sluggish and that his browser was doing weird things, such as taking him to some pretty unsavory sites when he merely clicked on a link in an otherwise normal Web page.

The symptoms sounded all too familiar, and when I scanned his machine, I found what I suspected: it was infected with over 100 examples of various types of malware, the now common generic term for malicious software, such as viruses and Trojan horses. The worst offender in my father's case was spyware, a plague upon the earth that threatens to deprive a significant portion of the online world of its sanity.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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