Today, 1 October 2016, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, has officially expired. This historic moment marks the transition of the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers to the private-sector, a process that has been committed to and underway since 1998.
“This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global Internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” said ICANN Board Chair Stephen D. Crocker. “This community validated the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today.”
Internet users will see no change or difference in their experience online as a result of the stewardship transition.
In managing the coordination of the Internet’s unique identifiers,ICANN plays a small but significant role in the Internet’s ecosystem. For more than 15 years, ICANN has worked in concert with other technical bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Regional Internet Registries, top-level domain registries and registrars, and many others.
The final chapter of the privatization process began in 2014, whenNTIA asked ICANN to convene the global multistakeholder community, which is made up of private-sector representatives, technical experts, academics, civil society, governments and individual Internet end users, to come together and formulate proposals to both replace NTIA’s historic stewardship role and enhance ICANN’s accountability mechanisms.
The package of proposals developed by the global community met the strict criteria established by NTIA in its March 2014 announcement. Since their submission to NTIA, ICANN and its various stakeholder groups have worked tirelessly to ensure that all the necessary implementation tasks have been completed, so the IANA functions contract could expire on 30 September 2016.
The proposals reinforce ICANN’s existing multistakeholder model and are also aimed at enhancing ICANN’s accountability. The improvements include empowering the global Internet community to have direct recourse if they disagree with decisions made by ICANNthe organization or the Board.
The IANA stewardship transition is a testament to the tireless work of the global community, and a validation of the multistakeholder model that frames that community.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Good job, Congress! Once again, you have collectively demonstrated that you do not care one wit about Americans. You just allowed the moulinyan in the White House to give away something we developed and paid for.
You folks in Congress, collectively, suck.
Shame on you for what you’ve become, and shame on your parents for raising you to be such public garbage.
A lot of weird stuff has been happening to data inside the internet’s walled gardens. It has been getting shut down by the people who own the sites we all depend on. There’s a protest going on at Facebook over the issue right now. One Turkish journalist is saying that his account has been blocked inside the country, at his government’s request; Palestinian journalists have a similar problem. YouTubers believe that their videos have been getting unfairly de-monetized by mindless robots.
On a more macro level, publishers that had worked hard to build a Facebook driven traffic strategy saw their traffic plummet when the social media giant decided it preferred user generated content. These decisions cut more deeply because so many organizations depend entirely on the big social sites for relevance. Some of them don’t even have standalone websites.
Now This was feted at its founding in 2012 for building a news organization that assumed all of its content would be distributed on sprawling social networks, but it hasn’t caught on as a cultural force. Social network driven growth was a seductive way to reduce friction marshaling powerful network effects to build audience, which made it easier for content to go viral. That said, it seems like publishers forgot to consider the potential downside of depending on someone else’s IP to distribute content?
Blockstack browser, open on a desktop, still in private alpha. Courtesy of Blockstack
A Union Square Ventures and Y Combinator backed startup called Blockstack, just barely out of stealth mode, has been designing an alternative browser for what could be fairly described as another internet, one powered by the bitcoin blockchain. “They are in it for the long run,” Muneeb Ali, a CTO and Cofounder, said of his investors, during an interview with the Observer at his office. “They actually believe that this is the future.” In other words, even if a different kind of internet undermines past investments, investors still want to be positioned well for the next ones.
Blockstack’s browser, a fork of Chromium, is the first application for an internet that works muchas this Economist journalist described in a prior post by the Observer. In its first version, it will only have access to this new internet. Some day, it could be built to work for both.
Ali spoke on the TEDxNewYork 2016 stage, describing an internet that couldn’t be censored. In that talk, he said, “The new internet takes away power from these large companies and takes it to where it always belonged, with the people.” The architecture the team has built is completely open source.
We met up with Ali alongside his co-founder, Ryan Shea. In their view, users will generate data by using services, but that data will not be held in those services’ databases—users would store all their posts, messages, photos and engagements on their own cloud sites, like Dropbox. Sites on this revised internet would access the data people created only as long as those people let them have access.
“The only people you get to see it are the people you share it with,” Shea added. “There’s no company in the middle.” It’s invisible to most users, but there is a company in the middle of nearly all our interactions online now. Verisign registers all .com domains today. It’s the company you have to trust that you’re really looking at the site you navigated to. Blockstack would use the blockchain to log where data can be found and who’s authorized to view it, but not to store the data itself. That’s the users’ job.
For a deep technical read on how Blockstack works differently, check out their login paper.
It’s a step further along the road of decentralization than the founders of crypto-powered social network Steemit have gone, letting users earn a stake in the system by posting, but ultimately storing all their content in one place, the Steem blockchain, which is owned by all users of the Steem currency.
Naturally, there would be nothing to stop sites built for Blockstack from making plaintext copies of users’ data, but if the originals all got stored in people’s own digital chests of drawers that gives the rightful owners considerably more power. We recently reported on another decentralized web product that makes it easier for creators to track attribution of their work across the internet, Mediachain.
The Blockstack approach should make shutting down the internet or blocking a particular site considerably more challenging. Domain registration is turned over to a blockchain (right now, that’s the original bitcoin blockchain), and no private interest needs to be involved. There’s no single point to tell computers where to look to find a site. There’s lots of places, and the more people use it, the more places there will be. If one path to information is shut down, another can found.
Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea, Blockstack co-founders.
On this internet, no one would need to log in to websites, because your browser would use its built in public-private key pair to validate you on each site you visited. Online payments would not need a middleman like PayPal, either, because they would be made using the cryptocurrency wallet built into the browser. All of this, by the way, also makes building websites easier, according to Ali and Shea, because developers aren’t responsible for securing your data or your passwords.
“You could imagine an app that’s 200 lines of code,” Shea said.
Their first product was Onename, a decentralized identity service. When the system goes live, each person will have an identity, as will each browser and each application. That way every single part of the system can be permissioned. “It’s simple to sign up,” Shea said. “If you go to an app, it’s very similar to an app that logs into Facebook.” About 60,000 identities have been registered on Onename so far.
We recently reported that Microsoft has become convinced that identity will be the blockchain’s first true killer app. Blockstack is already in the giant software company’s ecosystem, though it is not the only company working to create a better, more secure digital identity. Additionally, the United Nations has set a goal of universal access to official identity by 2030.
Other companies are working on their own products for this distributed internet now. For example, the team told us to also look forward to something that works much like Medium around the time the team opens the browser to the public. After all, who would want an internet you couldn’t blog on?
The Lost Ways…a true story about our grandparents days!
At the time of the disaster, you’re ready? For this reason, you feel frustrated about your future? Do not get scared…Watch the video below.