I just left a panel discussion on the challenges of the future of the Internet and how the government might be able to address it.
The most promising data point from the talk came after it was over. Clay Shirky told me that the Navy Seals are using a mashup of Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook to track the status of operations.
Here are the notes from the panel.
Shirky – Internet Guru and author of Here Comes Everybody.
Fran Townsend – former Homeland Security chair
Paul Tumi – President of ICANN
What they mean by web 2.0 – new forms of social interaction. "future of a webbed community"
Tensions – preserve "open" internet as a conduit for global commerce and prevent identity theft, protection of intellectual property and internet. Sustain dominance, etc.
Previous revolution – industrial revolution – key outcome, ability to wage war on a global basis.
Information revolution – what are global "war type" issues emerging out of this.
Shirky – dissolution of cyberspace. Among the population of grad students. It is seeping into everything we do – partly mediated and partly not.
Augmenting of the "real world" by a smear of cyber and not.
Transition not from A to B, but instead from one to many.
Society is becoming less predictable. More like the physics of weather than the physics of gravity.
Obama has run into a pt where individuals would want more influence – we know it, just not when.
Paul – Internet is going Asia.
73 percent penetration here. 14 percent in Asia and it is growing at triple the rate.
Internet has developed a view that is global, but over next 5 to 10 years, how to you deal with Asia?
3 layers of the internet. 1 transit – telecoms and pipes, 2 – routing and addressing, 3 – applications and content. Level 3 is the most controversial.
Fran – token "non geek" on the panel. Responsible for cyber security policy as related to the government.
President signed a directive saying we will have a better understanding of intrusions, and investigative capabilities, but this is focused on govt getting its own house in order.$7.2 B budget here. Government knows this is important. So far hackers / enemies have not used it to infiltrate or attack. Instead using it for media / propaganda and pictures. Govt is focused on vulnerability of information systems. FBI agent got info and sold it. Govt has its own internal IS problems. Both before and after it is "connected" to the Internet.
Security must have redundancy, etc. Must manage risk.
Paul – who controls it. No one. It is a spider's web on steroids. ICANN regulates .com and IP systems. In terms of security, the Internet is always a dialogue between me and someone else. Key is supply chains.
Analogy to public health – it is an ecosystem.
Benefits outweigh the costs. Risk management is important here.
Private sector has to take care of this themselves.
People need to fundamentally change the way they look at risk.
Estonia last year – series of attacks that brought them to their knees.
Could this happen to the US?
Paul – yes.
Concentration in Estonia made it easier. This isn't unique.
Fran – not just a security issue. It is a redundancy and resiliency issue.
Government alone can't deal with this.
Must be more than this.
Shirky – horseless carriage? No. Most actors are not states.
Many groups are more powerful than many states.
War footing around Estonia?
Not really. Under attack is not necessarily about one state to another.
Many more groups can become powerful and act now.
How do you attribute attacks then?
"letters of mark and reprisal" – pirates were ok if we get a cut.
Licensing and supporting groups…as analogy.
When an attack happens. Do I know these people? Can I attribute them?
If I can't, this is a big issue.
Attribution is a challenge. Is it a "State"? If not, how for we respond?
Paul – Fire drill analogy.
Public people have more risk because they are public targets.
Issue – private actors don't get it.
Lots of people bring laptops into foreign countries and their data gets hacked.
Loss of IP is a big issue here.
Advantage – explosion of creativity. Site of Leggo figurine mod-ing community. They love what the do. Doing it worldwide at no cost. Multiplied by a billion. Is massive.
Household economics – parents feed their children for free. Household economics going global. People sharing because they like it.
Paul – Internet is the ultimate expression of American Values. Bottom up, free expression of democratic values. Impact around the world that people inside the beltway don't get.
China – internet has become the social dialogue of china. More users than the US. They are using it to find what the people want / need. Dialogue between the community and government.
One of the worst things that could happen would be to try to slow it down.
There is almost no risk of US trying to control it.
Have been (for 15 yrs) collaborating. Better approach is to understand and navigate it.
Q+A – our computers got stolen.
How much technology does the government really have?
Government laughs at 24. Govt suffers from Hollywood's interpretation.
Shirky – intelligence community opening up. Key issue – can't even retain people.
What the government needs is a "Manhattan-like project"
Need to have a big announcement and grow it.
Paul – whois? How much should we use this? But problem is that it is very expensive and hard to maintain this system. But also European Privacy commission…you can't track me!
That is just at the domain name level.
No "Secretary of Communications" in our country.
Maybe a privacy director.
Every group in govt has a privacy – bipartisan board.
Paul – you only have 4 to 8 years left. China is going to be massive soon.
Bidu over Google, etc.
If you are going to cement in these values – you only have a short period of time to have power here.
Shirky – people are now writing about "near future" fiction.
Things go from "gee whiz to go hum" fast.
Aggregating "collective intelligence" will be on fire.
Aggregations of data – same thing.
Mobility is the future. How do we do adapt to this?
8 mm handsets per month in India and 4 mm in Egypt.
Government using open source?
They are already. Will do it more. Invested $100's of mm of dollars on open source initiatives. Public discussion of this has taken place and will continue. Because it is more cost-effective.
Yes. This already exists. Question is how different this becomes?
Groups already create their own networks but they can't compete with main internet.
Problem is protocol and cross platform communication.
Eastern European – advertising excludes those who aren't advertised to?
Is it going to be forever closed?
No. Closed people will be losers.
Only group large enough to ensure openness is everybody.
Net Neutrality – need competition on local industry aggregation by service providers.
Adam greenfield – EveryWear.
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