Technology Review, which jumps on the Web 3.0 bandwagon in its current issue, reports that Stanford’s Clean Slate Design for the Internet program will be holding a coming out party this Wednesday. The interdisciplinary program seems to take the end of “net neutrality” as a given. Its thrust, in fact, is to make the Internet less Internety (at least as we’ve come to define the term) by redesigning it to be “inherently secure,” by making it possible to “determine the value of a packet … to better allocate the resources of the network, providing high-value traffic with higher bandwidth, more reliability, or lower latency paths,” and by “support[ing] anonymity where prudent, and accountability where necessary.”
Reports Technology Review:
The Internet may have revolutionized society, but [Stanford professor Nick]McKeown points out that there are still some basic things it doesn’t do well. There’s no reliable way of knowing whom data comes from, for example, because the Internet was designed in a way that makes it “ridiculously easy” to fake any information’s origin, McKeown says. It would be much easier to eliminate unsolicited e-mail messages if the sender could be verified because spammers could be quickly identified and prosecuted.
The intent of data can also be masked. Data packets that might look as though they were sent for a legitimate purpose could actually be intended to damage the network by spreading viruses or searching for secret information. When the Internet was first designed, “it was assumed that everyone would be well behaved, but we’re obviously in an era now where we can’t make that assumption,” McKeown says.
Commenting on the initiative, networking pioneer Bob Metcalfe goes even further, arguing that
there needs to be a way to ensure dedicated bandwidth. “The Internet was designed to get teletype characters echoed across the U.S. in under a half second,” Metcalfe wrote in an e-mail interview. “Soon we’ll have to handle [high-definition] video conversations around the world. The Internet must now allow bandwidth reservation, not just priority, to carry realtime, high-bandwidth communication – video in its many forms including video telephone.”
Maybe it will be the geeks rather than the suits who end up killing net neutrality.