Each participating node will get an overall trust rating along with individual component ratings. For example, user trust ranking might be a five because three-factor authentication is used. Applications and executables are signed, trusted, and approved, giving the application level a ranking of five. However, the hardware isn't verified and the MAC address can be spoofed, giving the computer a hardware ranking of two. A relatively secure network path is used between source and destination, giving a network ranking of four. The various component rankings end up making an overall trust rating of four. The destination network node receives a copy of the originator's trust rating and transmits its own trust ranking to the originator. The destination node can decide to treat traffic differently based on its own trust rating schedule.
Let's suppose the destination host is an e-mail server. Any traffic it receives from an origination node in the highest trust ring is immediately forwarded onto the recipient with no inspection. E-mail arriving from lower rings of trust can be forwarded to other computers for higher levels of inspection (anti-spam and anti-malware, for example). This is similar to the concept used in SPF and SenderID frameworks to verify originating e-mail addresses, extended pervasively across the entire OSI model. Not surprisingly, end-user applications would have to undergo a whole new level of programming to participate in the highest trust rings.
In my vision, a consortium of the world's best security experts, with vendor participation, would develop the various security mechanisms and determine what mechanisms earn what layers of trust. Both the secure and the insecure Internet versions could coexist. Want faster service? Become more trustworthy. Want to stay on the unprotected Internet? Do continue, but don't expect the fast connection to nodes residing in the higher rings of trust.
Boy, am I brilliant.
No doubt my "unique" idea was thought of 40 years ago by hundreds of greater minds and is already the basis of dozens of other proposals and products. That I can accept. My questions are, Why we haven't done more with it. Why are we continuing to allow the malicious minds of the Internet to use our online world as their perpetual bank account? Why don't we care enough to demand more?