War for the Web
02 03.11

When the Internet Nearly Fractured, and How It Could Happen Again – The Atlantic

This is a great article about the way that the DNS system, which directs traffic from the URL name that we civilians type in to the actual IP address of the content we are seeking.

In large part, this article makes the point, perhaps inadvertently, that the Internet is the wild west. Enforcement tools for taking down child pornographers, Pirates and other law-breakers are blunt and limited, and far too likely to have an adverse effect on the average user. For example, on Cyber Monday of 2010, the US department of Homeland Security tried to take down 80 websites, but actually took down 80,000 websites.

Seems a little like the days when the posse would round up, try and convict someone without any real sense of law and order. All you had was the sheriff’s deputies.

Another interesting point that this article makes concerns the transition that the Internet underwent during the Clinton administration. It seems that business interests were concerned about the Wild West nature of the web, and so at the behest of the US chamber of commerce, ICANN was formed as a private corporation to essentially regulate the network.

The net neutrality issues we are seeing today are a direct outgrowth of the problems in the 90’s. At the time, the Internet was being adopted for business interests. Now, the internet is such an important part of our economy that providers, which essentially have a monopoly on access, are using their clout to try to raise prices and change the way we access the web.

Reposted from The Atlantic.

Read the article: When the Internet Nearly Fractured, and How It Could Happen Again – The Atlantic

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