Clouds on the horizon

Stratton Sclavos is a dangerous man with a very dangerous misconception of life, the universe and everything. By association, VeriSign is a very dangerous entity. His conception and understanding of the Internet is disturbing, to say the least -- especially from a man who has run a wholly Internet-based business for 8 years. It's been said that the Internet can fend for itself, that no one person, or group of pe

Stratton Sclavos is a dangerous man with a very dangerous misconception of life, the universe and everything. By association, VeriSign is a very dangerous entity.

His conception and understanding of the Internet is disturbing, to say the least -- especially from a man who has run a wholly Internet-based business for 8 years. It's been said that the Internet can fend for itself, that no one person, or group of people can substantially damage or exert control over a large portion of the network. That seems to be changing.

  • Verisign's SiteFinder

  • Comcast's vast presence

  • The death of the small ISP

  • The corruption of ICANN

  • Increasing viability of high-throughput content filters

  • Increasing viability of high-throughput transparent proxies

    The list is long and growing. Just as businesses ignored the Internet during the early nineties, they seem bent on its' destruction in this decade. The destruction will be cloaked in a shroud of "improvements", "innovation", "reliability", and "security". The end result will doubtless be a debacle of grand scale, a greater misdeed than has ever been done: the defenestration of the greatest feat of mankind. Greed conquers all. I can see the tumblers falling into place; we may soon see by-the-bit pricing scales on residential and commercial circuits. The blending of service providers and content providers has already occurred to a large extent, but may soon become much more intrusive with transparent proxies and injected advertising. As capacity and deployments expand, services will decline and options will be increasingly limited.

    Until SiteFinder, these changes were largely disregarded by the folks that know the Internet and how it works. This is simply because they had viable alternatives. I can run my own mailserver, for instance. I can dictate nearly the entirety of my Internet experience. SiteFinder changed that, as it changed the fundamental principles of DNS structure. Once that cat is out of the bag for good, the situation will rapidly devolve into a morass of fees and constraints. Certain protocols may become undesirable, as SMTP has become to large ISPs. When that happens with SSH there will be precedent. The notion of the Internet as simply a reliable transportation mechanism is already fading, and will continue to do so unless the juggernaut of "Internet ownership" is stopped. I don't claim to have an answer to this problem, I'm only trying to make sense of what I see. It seems that every day another hill is taken by the ignorant pilots of corporate arrogance. We may joke about pointy-haired bosses, but their numbers and their influence seem to be growing.

    I very much miss Jon Postel.

    On the other hand, there might be another way.

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