These days are being discussed at various forums and meetings two fundamental issues for the future of our online life. At least two, say. On the one hand, the principles governing the so-called Internet Governance; rather say simply government, but governance was already installed. On the other hand, it is the neutrality of the network.
On both I’m talking to people who have something interesting to say and, especially, considering.
As a first approach, I will say that I believe that freedom of speech is not negotiable, because if that right is injured, all others are canceled cascade. What freedoms are we when we can not even speak without fear? Furthermore, if an excuse to curtail this right, then any excuse will be good. Freedom of expression can not be sectioned or fragmented. With no civil law you can do that, but much less with freedom of expression.
I also believe that the Internet should not be seen as a highway, simply because it is not a highway. In my opinion, the whole analogy with tolls, bus and expressways is nonsense that will lead to invalid arguments, wrong regulations, more government intervention, greater concentration and less innovation. In the worst-case scenario the network balkanization, breaking the backbone of the incipient global village that we had managed to get. Remember that one of “Divide and rule”? Well, same thing.
As I said, however, are not simple issues. It is from there the insistent analogy of the motorway. When you do get the equation, we were looking at the other and wondering then what is the Internet. The answer is not in itself complex: Internet is the Internet. The complexity lies in the fact that it is the first of its kind and, therefore, there is nothing to compare. The deeper intellectual challenge is that the Internet has created a state of things in civilization that never existed before.
One possible solution, impracticable unfortunately, is that each individual involved in the decision chain understands TCP / IP and can program. Yes, I know, have tired of telling me: that’s what the consultants. It is true, and respect for good advisers. But one thing they can not do: change the worldview of their heads, change the look. If an individual in a position to not understand how internet technology works, his worldview is late 30s.
Worse yet, they are 30 years of a historic moment that have occurred as technical advances are seen for 200 or 300. Might sound exaggerated, but I’m sure no one imagines it possible to bring one billion electric bulbs in his pocket. And yet that we do today with a smartphone. Inside is an electronic brain consists of about 1000 million transistors, a component that was 50 years ago-about-the size of a light bulb.
So it is rather the reverse. The changes brought digital technology and the Internet is so abysmal that we need to take refuge in the concept of non marearnos exaggeration.
In some debates know much about TCP / IP. Others know absolutely nothing. So, in a way, moreover, it is a dialogue of the deaf. If there is any relation between datagrams and remote shot, really, would use it with pleasure. But if so, it would not be Internet Internet. (Incidentally, “TCP / IP” and “Internet Technology” are synonymous.)
It is the drama that consistently jeopardized the decision-making power throughout human history. When a disruptive technology appears, the attempts to regulate legislate or otherwise controlled by instruments that worked with what existed at that time. Of course, that is not successful, and the answer is, incredible as it sounds, producing more regulations to the same effect.
A further difficulty is in addition a serious matter that, in my judgment, has compromised the future of the Internet in the medium term. I refer to the confidence crisis that caused mass surveillance of the National Security Agency United States (NSA, for its acronym in English), among others. As stated, with clarity, cryptographer Bruce Schneier, nothing in the world can function without some degree of confidence. We signed contracts and review the grocery bill, but we can not control everything.
Now, everything and everyone is under suspicion, and unusual events begin to occur. For example, according to a book published this month by Glenn Greenwald, Cisco had to ask Barack Obama to intervene, because the NSA had intercepted shipments of its routers to install them surveillance software. Routers are ubiquitous devices in the network that will decide the path packets and datagrams. (Did I mention that the analogy with highways is crazy?)
Of course, Cisco equipment sales outside the United States plummeted. In some cases-Brazil, Russia, the decline was 25 percent. Now those nations start buying routers from another source. The conflict is that those teams could also have spyware. There is no where to hide, thus it is called the book of Greenwald (www.amazon.com/ non-Place-Hide-Snowden-Surveillance/dp/162779073 X). The author is the journalist who met with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong to learn about the massive NSA surveillance.
Distrust is corrosive end to a network, although it is based on machinery, is at bottom a human society. If this pan flute begins to reverberate unchecked, Internet as we know it may become unfeasible.
In general, as you know, I am optimistic. In this case, however, I think we could be entering a long period of darkness in the history of the Internet, which is neither highway nor media or anything like it. Internet is the Internet, and although we have to compare it, there are many things in our daily lives today occur. The crisis of confidence, then, affects all of us and affects us in ways we can not even conceive of in the real world.
Not that the Internet has a design error, which was created as on the basis of good faith, lack of antibodies to the vices and miseries of the world. If the Internet had not been designed on the basis of good faith, if we had built entry locks, filters, controls, signals and tolls, then there would be Internet. And all the conflict is that the Internet is the Internet.
What is to happen, in my opinion, is that, again, as happened a few times in human history, a new technology faces the dilemma we insist our mistakes as a society or evolve. If you do not evolve, I fear that you will lose much more than net neutrality, the right of access to information and freedom of expression.