A year ago <a href="http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2010/121310-bradner.html">I wrote</a> that 2011 would be a year in which the Internet would "be under a multi-pronged attack that threatens to change it irrevocably in ways that may destroy much of the Internet's potential." Well, 2011 has come and mostly gone, and it turned out that my pessimism may have been misplaced but not invalid.
Stories by Scott Bradner
The Supreme Court earlier this month heard arguments on a relatively common drug case, but there is a chance for this case to set the groundwork, for good or ill, on <a href="http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2011/100311-bradner.html">resolving most of the issues I discussed</a> recently regarding the murky state of privacy protections from the government in the United States.
In September representatives from India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) got together to talk about the Internet. <a href="http://www.culturalivre.org.br/artigos/IBSA_recommendations_Internet_Governance.pdf">Their conclusion</a>: The 'Net needed help from the United Nations in the areas of developing policies, technical standards, operation, dispute resolution and crises management.
Consumer advocates as well as many business groups have attempted to get federal laws adopted in the United States that would mandate disclosure of security breaches in which some types of private information about identifiable people are exposed. In spite of the obvious logic of having a national standard, these efforts so far have failed.
One feature of today's mostly electronic, mostly Internet world is that governments tend to assume that it is legally OK to do many things that they would never have considered to be OK in the pre-Internet world. Examples include wanting to monitor all communications for everyone when it would have been clear that opening all postal mail and recording its contents as well as following everyone everywhere all the time would not have been acceptable. But should governments be legally able to do things like this just because they have the technical ability to do them?
In November 2009 the European Parliament approved a directive on Internet privacy that, among other things, required user opt-in before websites could install cookies on the user's computer.
HP management has not been good to the company over the last few years. One would have to do a lot of searching to find a management team that has so thoroughly messed up in the court of public opinion.
Twenty-five years ago -- when Network World was born -- the Internet was only 3 years old itself. At that time, less than 2,500 hosts were connected to the Internet and maybe 10,000 people used it regularly. Now there are more than 800 million hosts and 1.8 billion regular users.
A press feeding frenzy followed the somewhat vague April Fools Day announcement by Epsilon Data Management that someone had hacked into its systems and stolen a bunch of email addresses. The addresses were of people who had "opted in" for email marketing by a bunch of major vendors such as Target and Red Roof Inns, and many of the vendors sent announcements of the breach to their customers (I got such an announcement from a vendor I had purchased a present from for my wife. The announcement did not say all that much, essentially it told me to "be careful".).
As I write this, the IETF has been around for 25 years and a few hours. The first meeting started at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, 1986, in San Diego with 21 people in attendance -- a far cry from the most recent meeting in Beijing, which attracted 1,207 attendees.
This end-of-year article is a looking forward one -- looking forward to a year in which the Internet will be under a multi-pronged attack that threatens to change it irrevocably in ways that may destroy much of the Internet's potential.
It is amazing what will catch the fancy of the news media. For example, Nov. 16 was “British day” in U.S. publications. The day started out with just about every newspaper and TV station covering an anticipated announcement that the Beatles were coming to Apple iTunes, and the day ended with saturation coverage of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Apple, actually Steve Jobs, put on another big show this week. The well attended and very well covered show was vintage Apple. Remarkable showmanship with a reasonable amount of actual content.
The Wall Street Journal just published the sixth article in its excellent series about Internet privacy, or the lack of it.
In spite of the fact that the net neutrality proposal that Google and Verizon published on Aug. 9 was not much like what the rumor mill predicted as late as the day before, the proposal sure has kicked off a lot of controversy.