For many of us old enough to remember, the early days of life online had little to do with the internet. Before we browsed the open web, we dialed into Prodigy or CompuServe or AOL with a 1400-baud telephone modem. Once connected to a particular service, we used its proprietary software to play inside its members-only club, and we couldn’t visit any other service. We lacked a certain amount of freedom. One of my earliest cyber-memories: getting my mom’s AOL account suspended by the moderator of a chat room I was trolling. By today’s standards, such a tightly controlled experience seems quaint—and pretty silly. But that early-’90s scenario could very well repeat itself today, with the so-called Internet of Things. Yes, this vast array of smart devices will all be connected to the public internet, but they may already be evolving in a way where they can’t all talk to each other.