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Internet Meltdown?

Is the internet on the verge of a meltdown? A non-profit organization, People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR), is concerned that there is the risk of “imminent disruption, degradation, unfair manipulation, and other negative impacts on critical Internet services…” PFIR believes that the “red flag” warning signs of a potential meltdown include “attempts to manipulate key network infrastructures such as the domain name system; lawsuits over Internet regulatory issues… ever-increasing spam, virus, and related problems…”

According to PFIR, the threat to the internet results, directly or indirectly from a “lack of responsible and fair planning related to Internet operations and oversight.” A general “hands off” attitude with respect to internet governance “has now resulted not only in commercial abuses, and the specter of lawsuits and courts dictating key technical issues relating to the Net, but has also invited unilateral actions by organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that could profoundly affect the Internet and its users in unpredictable ways.”

PFIR is holding a conference in Los Angeles in late July for the purpose of establishing “a set of specific actions and contingency plans for the Internet-related problems that could lead to the meltdown.” Issues expected to be discussed at the conference include “technical, governance, regulatory, political, and legal actions and plans.” Technical issues that the conference debates may include “approaches such as ‘alternate root’ domain systems, technologies to bypass unreasonable ISP restrictions, and a wide range of other practical possibilities.”

At this point in time, it is not clear whether PFIR’s concerns are realistic or exaggerated. However, PFIR’s leadership is composed of long-time internet stakeholders including the Chairman of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Committee on Computers and Public Policy, the creator and moderator of the PRIVACY Forum, and a Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science.

What is clear at this time is that deep concerns with the current state and direction of internet governance and regulation go far beyond commercial and political interests. The PFIR conference will provide an important public forum for ventilating an array of issues of interest to all internet stakeholders.

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dataware  –  Jun 27, 2004 1:27 PM


Your article is perfect.

Although I do not think the internet is facing a meltdown, it will be forced to implement some very very serious changes in the years to come.

Both individuals and corporations are taking advantage of privacy issues.

PFIR seems like a strong lobby group, however, It will take much much more support from icann, who has lost much of it’s funding since .com registrations have dropped in price over the last 3 years, and it will absolutly need the support of Government and Law Enforcement, from g7 Countries.

Touchy Point:

Without the endorsement of Government, no changes will occur!

In my opinion… in order to instill stability, leading Countries should first agree on an equal taxation system over the internet that would begin by funding the lobby groups to fund and push the changes that are needed.

The money required to make the changes over the internet is simply not available.

If a lobby group were to show the governments how much they are really losing or how much more they may profit from the internet… we would perhaps and only then see some of the changes.

Thanks for reading.


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