The Internet is broken and there is no solution – Chapter 2

by Frank 30. November 2011 13:36

In the last Blog on this topic I finished by saying that in the next Blog on this topic I will talk about what I think the replacements (plural) should be for the current Internet.

Let’s start by calling the Internet replacement IR01 (Internet replacement version 01) so we don’t confuse it with Web 2.0, Web 3.0, etc.

The first point is we definitely need both a public and a private IRV01, so let’s call them IR01PUB and IR01PRIV just for the purpose of this article. I am sure someone else will come up with much better names for the real things if and when they eventuate.

Whether or not we end up using TCP/IP and IPv6 as the protocol is a moot point. I would like something better but I suspect the cost to convert from TCP/IP would be prohibitive. However, I would like something newer, better and smarter so if anyone can propose a new protocol (e.g., Open Systems Interconnect – OSI) that could be utilized and implemented cost effectively and transitioned to smoothly then I would probably vote for it.

For the record, we have converted from older protocols previously (e.g., X.25 to TCP/IP) and generally used gateways to do this. I assume that if we did have a better protocol than TCP/IP we would also build gateways to convert from TCP/IP to the new protocol.

To summarize, I would prefer a more modern protocol with greater functionality and flexibility (i.e., more layers) but do not see it happening in the next few years because of the potentially massive cost. I therefore believe that we are ‘stuck’ with TCP/IP and IPv6 for the foreseeable future.

Let’s deal with IR01PUB first and my first change would be to push a lot of responsibilities away from the end users and back to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). If you want to run a business based on IR01PUB then you have to accept responsibility for legality, quality and authenticity. The ISP will be responsible for blocking Spam, denial of service attacks, phishing, etc. There will be a new standard for Internet transaction verification that any ISP will have to meet. This standard will also include mandatory reporting of all attempted infractions of the code to a new world regulatory authority that will have the power, resources and funds to isolate, fine and punish those guilty parties.

There will also be new common standards for browsers that all vendors will have to meet; no ‘local’ variations permitted (there goes the marketing department). You either stick 100% to the standard or your browser isn’t supported and will not work. All traffic will be encrypted; there won’t be a choice not to encrypt traffic. A reasonable time period and say 2 releases will give vendors time to implement the latest standard. An independent testing authority under the new world regulatory authority will certify all new releases of browsers before they are released to business and the general public.

So, are you Internet traditionalist already depressed with the amount of regulation and control I have proposed? Bad luck because a laissez faire system cannot produce the security of use we all require and demand. We have tried for 20 years to address the symptoms and have spent billions of dollars on anti-virus software and firewalls and the like to no avail. Someone famous once said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing exactly the same thing but to expect the results to change; it won’t, the Internet is broken.

We need a new international governing body with muscle and resources, we need stricter standards and we need the power and the means to enforce our new standards. The long suffering end user has paid and paid and paid and suffered and suffered and suffered and enough is enough. It is time for change and significant change at that.

Oh you say, who will pay for this new regulatory system? The simple answer is that users will pay a small monthly fee for the right to use IR01PUB. That fee will be a small fraction of the cost to business and personal users of the broken system we now all suffer under. The fee will be collected by ISPs and forwarded to the new governing body.

For our IR01PRIV version I propose a much stricter set of standards and a closed system similar to what we had with mainframe networks when I was a boy (well young man actually working on IBM, CDC, GE, Sperry Univac and Burroughs mainframes as a programmer and project manager).

Government agencies and private corporations like utility companies will be licensed as IR01PRIV ISPs. There will be a scaled system such that different levels of certification are required depending upon whether you are hosting a closed system just for your organization or for a group of related organizations, e.g., related government departments in a ‘shared services’ arrangement or a group of say electricity providers. There will be no connection allowed between IR01PUB and IR01PRIV networks, the IR01PRIV system needs to be a closed loop, sand-boxed to an extreme level. There may be connections between IR01PRIV networks but only via approved and heavily regulated IR01PRIV gateways also run only by certified providers

Central governments will be required to sign a new treat with our central governing body agreeing to abide by the new standards and regulations before anyone in that country can participate in the new regime. Government representatives will not sit on the new governing body because if they did politics and lobbying and bureaucracy and bribery and attempts at censorship would ensure that the new system would also end up as unmanageable Swiss cheese, something akin to the United Nations.

The above is just a very brief and broad overview of what I believe is required. There are at least a thousand issues I haven’t covered and thousands of your questions I haven’t answered like how would I handle Wi-Fi devices, USB devices, Bluetooth, national emergencies, etc.  Given the time, the money and the right team I am sure I could answer all of your questions but it isn’t possible within the boundaries of this Blog.

However, obviously in my new system employees will not be sending and receiving personal emails and nor will they be checking on their social network sites or doing their banking during working hours. This fundamental change alone should see either a massive increase in productivity around the world or a lot more people sleeping at work.

We do need radical change and we need it urgently before there is a massive outage with consequences equal to or worse than the 2008 GFC.



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