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Initiative for the Future of the Global Internet

When reading some of the nonsense constituting this initiative occurring in Washington, one wonders what planet the proponents live on. It is like peering through some perverse wormhole back to a 1990s Washington view of the world that saw “the internet” as some salvation for all the problems of humankind. For a world now focused on rolling out 5G virtualization infrastructure and content-based services and meshed devices, the challenges of cybersecurity and network-based harm to society, the initiative makes the U.S. Administration seem utterly out of touch with reality. Simply goofy.

First, there is no such thing as “the global internet,” much less a future for it. It was essentially a Washington-based political-economic construct of the 1990s to leverage a profoundly broken connectionless messaging technology from a quarter-century earlier across some network infrastructures that was perceived to advance U.S. interests at the time. While some U.S. political-economic interests were arguably advanced in the short term, they pale in comparison to the price paid in terms of significant, exponentially expanding cybersecurity vulnerabilities, cybercrime, massive propagation of disinformation, and societal dysfunction enabled among society’s marginal despicables and by foreign adversaries.

Second, the global internet construct is based on the bizarro notion that the nations of the world are willing to abrogate and discard 170 years of public international law along with the sovereignty over their communication networks and the traffic and services on them. No rational nation is ever going to do that. Indeed, the U.S. government itself, over the past several years, has been exercising its sovereignty in malignant ways - busily banning equipment and service providers on its own domestic networks from countries that fall out of favor. Legally, the existence of a “global internet” construct is a non-starter even among friendly nations.

Washington should instead be following and substantively collaborating in the considerable existing global dialogue in the worldwide ecosystem of venues developing the virtualized 5G global communication network infrastructures, services, and provisioning requirements of the future. It has been largely absent and becoming increasingly insular. Living in a failed fantasy internet world from decades ago serves no one except a legacy Washington lobbying community. It misdirects needed focus and resources from activities that provide sustainable future benefits. The behavior also continues the dismaying international ineptitude of the previous U.S. Administration.

By Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

The author is a leader in many international cybersecurity bodies developing global standards and legal norms over many years.

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One World, One Internet? John Poole  –  Dec 10, 2021 11:39 AM

Thanks for your enlightening article which I imagine many at ICANN, ISOC, and elsewhere, might find rather dismaying, particularly your statement, “Living in a failed fantasy internet world from decades ago serves no one except a legacy Washington lobbying community.”

Some of the nonsense Ardan Michael Blum  –  Dec 16, 2021 3:06 PM

I respond to your first sentence “When reading some of the nonsense constituting this initiative occurring in Washington, one wonders what planet the proponents live on.” On the words “some of the nonsense” you link to a brilliant article on an essential project’s site.

Your link goes to https://www.project-disco.org/21st-century-trade/112421-upcoming-biden-administration-initiative-for-the-future-of-the-global-internet/ and mine takes all readers of your post BACK to this article - hopefully to be read not as you wish it to be seen, but for the value and logic it contains.

The New Internet Needs to Balance Risk and Distribute Value Michael Elling  –  Jan 27, 2022 12:47 PM

As a settlement free, 4 layer model, the internet created an enormous imbalance of risk and increase in divides (informational, network and wealth).  In a settlement free model all the of the risk is borne by the receiver.  Settlements provide 2 fundamental purposes: a) system of incentives and disincentives, and b) a means of conveyance to balancing, distributing, or equilibrating vast difference between value at the core and top and costs at the bottom and edge.  A 4 layer model abstracts difference and neuters heterogeneity of both supply and demand.  Layers are merely economic tradeoffs for clearing supply and demand more efficiently; especially if the settlement models run north-south AND east-west.

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