It was never meant to be like this…

For some time there have been murmurings that the Internet’s days (in its current form) are numbered.  It can’t be left much longer in its current state with IT experts constantly patching up security code in order to keep one step ahead of problems like identity fraud (if it were a club, the “ID fraud club” would have over 1.8m members).  The poor old Internet is so ravaged by hacking and security flaws the evidence is building that it’s beyond repair.  This BBC News article by Professor Alan Woodward suggests that we may need to start over.

That’s a pretty drastic diagnosis for something that has become so integral to our lives, but perhaps not that surprising?  The internet was not designed to be secure.  Its original purpose was to enable a computerized information network survive a nuclear attack on the US.  My, what heady days those must have been at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)!

It’s clear that something will have to be done – and before too long.  Professor Woodward suggests a scenario where there are areas of the internet that are strictly regulated and therefore secure and other parts that lie outside regulation and are not controlled.

At this point I feel that a bit of history is appropriate.  It’s worth having a look at The Internet Society’s Brief History of the Internet, written by some of those involved in its creation.

Awareness is already high, with numerous conferences being held to discuss the options.  Europa (the European Commission’s official site) has a section on The Future of the Internet which gives a useful overview of the issues and the sorts of discussions taking place and it does declare on the Challenges page that “the Internet is standing at a crossroads”.  Well, that’s certainly one way of describing it.

Could this be disruptive?  I think we all know the answer to that question.

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