In July of 2014 I wrote a blog post on this site, reporting the growing controversy and debate within the Internet community about the rise of a balkanized Internet, typified by the Chinese “Great Firewall.” Bill Gates and Vin Cerf argued that the Internet was too expansive and pervasive for government restrictions on the Internet to succeed. On the other side, Eric Schmidt and John Chamber of Cisco railed against the NSA metadata snooping as a contributing factor in the development of the “Splinternet,” that would severely harm American technology leadership.
I want to return to France to give back my experience, skills, and technical knowledge to the country of my heritage. France’s industrial economy is in the doldrums, but new policies are stimulating innovation, the key to economic growth and productivity, and technology industry leaders in France with strong technology industry backgrounds are looking to contribute to this new economy in France. I want to join them and give back.
IEEE Talk: Integrated Big Data, The Cloud, & Smart Mobile: Actually One Big Thing by David Mayes This IEEE […]
With good intentions, and also a good dose of Facebook business strategy to expand its base of users, Mark Zuckerberg has struck out to promote Free Basics, a free limited Internet for the poor in less developed countries sponsored by Facebook and its local telecommunications partners. While on the face of it Free Basics would seem to have merit, Zuckerberg has run into a wall of opposition. On close inspection of the details, Facebook’s problem, despite all of its global corporate sophistication, appears to be naïveté about the foreign markets it is trying to enter. It is possible to argue that Zuckerberg and Facebook have the best of intentions and sound arguments. But the best of intentions and sound arguments mean nothing if the key element lacking is a clear understanding of the current foreign market, and the crucial need to adapt to it or fail. Zuckerberg could have looked no further back than 2013 for clues to why he has failed.
In an extraordinary turn of events, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission appears set to implement strong new rules, later this month to enforce Net Neutrality on the Internet. If the new rules are implemented, it will have major favorable implications for future global Internet policy with the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland. This means simply that all traffic on the Internet will be treated equally and fairly, which is one of the founding principles of the Internet, since its invention by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vin Cerf and others back in the 1980’s.
Over the last few months there has been a flood of reports from me and a host of other journalists, predicting the imminent fragmentation of the Internet we have all known” an unrestricted global network. Some, including Eric Schmidt of Google, and others have argued that it is a recent phenomenon precipitated largely by the NSA Prsim and Thinthread snooping of all Internet traffic, and perhaps also including Chinese military snooping. Bill Gates, Vin Cerf, and Mark Andreeson have all pooh poohed the end of the Internet as we know it, arguing that it is “too big to fail.” Where have we heard that before? The reality is that the fragmentation of the Internet has been evolving for years as numerous governments attempt to prevent the Internet from undermining their power and authority, long before the NSA, GCHQ and the Chinese military began messing with the Net. The old Internet we knew is dead, and we had better get accustomed to dealing with the NEW Internet
It appears to me that the original vision and promise of the Internet, referred to by many as Digital Utopianism, is at severe risk of deteriorating into a “balkanized” World Wide Web.
National and political Internet barriers, censorship and ubiquitous surveillance seem to be the emerging new reality. Notable digital luminaries the likes of Vin Cerf and Bill Gates have been questioned on this point, and both have expressed no major concern about deterioration of the freedom of the Internet or with the original Utopian vision. The argument is that the World Wide Web cannot be effectively blocked or censored. As a long time Silicon Valley high tech executive, I understand this optimistic view, but the facts on the ground are now providing serious evidence that the Internet is under attack, and may not survive unless there is a significant shift in these new trends.
It appears that Netflix move to enter into a peering agreement with Comcast, essentially paying Comcast for “preferred traffic capacity,” was strictly a tactical move, necessary to protect Netflix’ quality of service to their customers. As I predicted earlier, the recent Court decisions and Netflix’ fait accompli move, may well accelerate action by the FCC to insure Net Neutrality, and block a corporate takeover of the Net.
Yesterday, the United Stated Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling that was essentially a “technical” setback for the notion that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, better known as Net Neutrality. The ruling now permits giant corporations like Verizon, NBC/Comcast, and Time Warner to charge higher fees to content providers like Netflix, Amazon and even potentially, Google. If that sounds bad for consumers, you are right. This decision was essentially caused by an earlier decision of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to maintain a free and open “hands off” policy, and not regulate Internet traffic, considered evil by Internet purists. But the effect of this Court ruling may be greater evil, leading to the conclusion that “common carrier” regulation may be the lesser of two evils.
The good news today is Cisco’s new focus on the Internet of Things, which I have been reporting as the new Mega Global Market War. But frankly, the damage to U.S. companies like Cisco Systems by the NSA spying scandal has been catastrophic. Not only Cisco, but Google’s strategy to become a global Internet Service Provider, Yahoo, and Facebook are all affected.