Will 2014 be the year that the Internet is reined in?
When Edward J. Snowden, the disaffected National Security Agency contract employee, purloined tens of thousands of classified documents from computers around the world, his actions — and their still-reverberating consequences — heightened international pressure to control the network that has increasingly become the world’s stage. At issue is the technical principle that is the basis for the Internet, its “any-to-any” connectivity. That capability has defined the technology ever since Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn sequestered themselves in the conference room of a Palo Alto, Calif., hotel in 1973, with the task of interconnecting computer networks for an elite group of scientists, engineers and military personnel.
The two men wound up developing a simple and universal set of rules for exchanging digital information — the conventions of the modern Internet. Despite many technological changes, their work prevails.
But while the Internet’s global capability to connect anyone with anything has affected every nook and cranny of modern life — with politics, education, espionage, war, civil liberties, entertainment, sex, science, finance and manufacturing all transformed — its growth increasingly presents paradoxes.
It was, for example, the Internet’s global reach that made classified documents available to Mr. Snowden — and made it so easy for him to distribute them to news organizations.
Yet the Internet also made possible widespread surveillance, a practice that alarmed Mr. Snowden and triggered his plan to steal and publicly release the information.
With the Snowden affair starkly highlighting the issues, the new year is likely to see renewed calls to change the way the Internet is governed. In particular, governments that do not favor the free flow of information, especially if it’s through a system designed by Americans, would like to see the Internet regulated in a way that would “Balkanize” it by preventing access to certain websites.
The debate right now involves two international organizations, usually known by their acronyms, with different views: Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the I.T.U., or International Telecommunication Union.
Icann, a nonprofit that oversees the Internet’s basic functions, like the assignment of names to websites, was established in 1998 by the United States government to create an international forum for “governing” the Internet. The United States continues to favor this group.
The I.T.U., created in 1865 as the International Telegraph Convention, is the United Nations telecommunications regulatory agency. Nations like Brazil, China and Russia have been pressing the United States to switch governance of the Internet to this organization.
Dr. Cerf, 70, and Dr. Kahn, 75, have taken slightly different positions on the matter. Dr. Cerf, who was chairman of Icann from 2000-7, has become known as an informal “Internet ambassador” and a strong proponent of an Internet that remains independent of state control. He has been one of the major supporters of the idea of “network neutrality” — the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of the source.
The Latest on: Internet
The Latest on: Biomechanics
via Google News
The Latest on: Internet
- Internet shut down in Iran in response to large-scale fuel protestson November 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm
Iran has shut down its internet. In a bid to quell growing protests across the country over a sudden hike in gasoline prices three days ago, the Iranian government has severely restricted the nation’s ...
- Iran downplays, demonizes protests amid internet shutdownon November 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm
The full scale of the protests, which began shortly after a 50% increase in gas prices took effect early Friday, was unknown after Tehran shut down the internet over the weekend, blocking Iranians ...
- Czechs to impose 7% tax on global internet giantson November 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech government has approved a plan to adopt a tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Joining France and some other countries, the measure would impose a 7% ...
- How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackouton November 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and ...
- SoftBank and Line Corp. Seek to Create a Japanese Internet Gianton November 18, 2019 at 11:22 am
On Monday, it said it was ready to roll the dice again. The company announced an agreement to merge its Yahoo Japan subsidiary with Line, a dominant messaging app company, to create a Japanese ...
- Iran's Information Minister Says Country's Internet Was Shut Down to Keep Nation Safeon November 18, 2019 at 9:58 am
Iran's minister of information and communication acknowledged Monday that the government has suspended internet service for days amid widespread protests in the country. Iranian Information and ...
- Iran Hiked Gas Prices, Then Turned Off the Interneton November 18, 2019 at 8:04 am
These are the most intense protests the country has seen since 2017, and many are expecting a similar official crackdown to what happened then. Already the government has largely shut off internet ...
- The Internet Of Things Is Key To Preserving World Historyon November 18, 2019 at 7:37 am
The Internet of Things is the future, but it's also key to the past. Yes, its main function may be to make environments and objects more reactive to our needs through the use of various connected ...
- Iran's 'largest internet shutdown ever' is happening now. Here's what you need to knowon November 18, 2019 at 7:09 am
Iran has shut down most of its internet in an apparent attempt to stem the spread of nationwide protests. Here's what you need to know.
- The Internet Wants Zack Snyder’s Version of Justice Leagueon November 18, 2019 at 4:17 am
Charlie’s Angels Isn’t Doing Very Well at the Box Office Finally, some disappointing news for Kristen Stewart fans. Charlie’s Angels made only $8.6 million at the box office domestically this weekend.
via Bing News