Sunday, January 08, 2006

The down side of opening up innovation

John's been thinking about the down side of the Internet's end to end architecture in the new Berliner style Observer.

"The downside was that this freedom to innovate applied also to unsavoury geniuses. For every Tim Berners-Lee there were a thousand virus-writers or spammers enjoying the same intoxicating freedom to release their products on to the net. And because of the design principles built into the architecture, there was no way of stopping them.

There still isn't, which is why the problems will get worse. Security cannot be retro-fitted to the current design, so we need a new architecture. We can't go on patching the internet as if it were just a global version of Windows XP. The $64 trillion question is whether in reinventing the internet we can avoid throwing out the end-to-end baby with the virus-infested bathwater."

Jonathan Zittrain has some excellent ideas on how we should be tackling this and doing it now before it's too late. The essay is based on a book due to be published soon, The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It.

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