31 December 2003 — Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), will be made a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth. This was announced earlier today by Buckingham Palace as part of the 2004 New Year's Honours list.
The rank of Knight Commander is the second most senior rank of the Order of the British Empire, one of the Orders of Chivalry awarded. Berners-Lee, 48, a British citizen who lives in the United States, is being knighted in recognition of his "services to the global development of the Internet" through the invention of the World Wide Web.
"This is an honor which applies to the whole Web development community, and to the inventors and developers of the Internet, whose work made the Web possible," stated Berners-Lee. "I accept this as an endorsement of the spirit of the Web; of building it in a decentralized way; of making best efforts to keep it open and fair; and of ensuring its fundamental technologies are available to all for broad use and innovation, and without having to pay licensing fees."
"By recognizing the Web in such a significant way, it also makes clear the responsibility its creators and users share," he continued. "Information technology changes the world, and as a result, its practitioners cannot be disconnected from its technical and societal impacts. Rather, we share a responsibility to make this work for the common good, and to take into account the diverse populations it serves." For more information see:
SECSAC Publishes DNS Report
The Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SECSAC) has published a report entitled "DNS Infrastructure Recommendation." For details see:
Coordination, not Governance says ISOC re WSIS
The Internet Society (ISOC) published the following text at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS 2003) which was held in Geneva in early December, 2003:
ISOC is a global not-for-profit membership organisation founded in 1991 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, and policy issues. We are dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. Our education initiatives, for example, have helped bring Internet connectivity to virtually all developing countries over the last 12 years.
ISOC is the organisational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)—an open consensus-based group responsible for defining Internet protocols and standards. Through our participation in WSIS 2003 we aim to increase understanding and awareness of what is important in order to develop and maintain the Internet's stability, open nature and global reach.
The Internet has come of Age
In many countries, the Internet has become a mass medium. This has brought with it reflexive pressure on policy makers to regulate it as if it were radio, television, or other mass media. While Governments naturally seek to address their citizens' interests regarding online privacy, spam, Internet security, intellectual property protection, the price of Internet access, and the digital divide, our position is that better use of technology, and broad participation in today's Internet coordination processes, not Government regulation, are the most effective and appropriate ways to satisfy these concerns.
The biggest barrier to the Internet fulfilling its immense potential could turn out to be misinformed and inappropriate intervention in the way in which the Internet's technologies, resources and policies are developed, deployed and coordinated. The Internet Society can help provide guidance here.
What is the nature of the Internet?
The Internet is a modern distributed communications medium. No one is in charge of the Internet and yet everyone is in charge. Unlike the antiquated system of national telephone network monopolies, the global Internet consists of tens of thousands of interconnected networks run by Internet Service Providers, individual companies, universities, Governments, and other institutions. Some of these are global in scope, others regional or local. Hundreds of different organisations and thousands of different companies make decisions every year that contribute to how the Internet develops.
These varied entities, together with the users of the Internet and the developers of Internet technologies and applications, have specific needs for coordination. Collaborative processes that are critical for the future stability and evolution of the Internet, and which should not be modified arbitrarily or abruptly, satisfy these needs.
Coordination, not Governance
It is misleading to use the term "Internet Governance" when the Internet is clearly not a single entity to govern. It is more useful to refer to "Internet Coordination." The multiple facets of the Internet require different types of coordination, each calling for specific competencies and sensitivities to balance the needs of the Internet user community globally and locally. Specific Internet Coordination activities are taking place globally at three levels:
|Coordination of the definition of Internet standards|
|Coordination of the availability and assignment of Internet resources|
|Coordination of the policies preventing misuse of the Internet|
This coordination is best performed by the existing set of organisations using proven processes. Because of the diverse nature of these activities, it is unrealistic to expect a single body— Government or otherwise—to take on all these roles effectively.
Coordinating Internet standards
The IETF under the umbrella of the Internet Society, is one of the oldest and most successful Internet coordination processes. Other organisations are also involved in Internet-related standards, including the IEEE, the W3C and the ITU.
Many of the protocols at the heart of today's Internet (for example, TCP, IP, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, Telnet, PPP, POP3, the DNS protocol etc.) were developed through IETF standards activities. The results of the IETF are well engineered and practical open protocol standards that are trusted and open to global implementation with little or no licensing restrictions—they are freely available on the Internet, without cost, to everyone.
The strength of the IETF process lies in its unique culture and talented global community of network designers, network operators, service providers, equipment vendors, and researchers. They all openly contribute their individual technical experience and engineering wisdom in an environment that fosters innovation and the open exchange of ideas. This process, which is open to anyone, helps quickly identify and articulate problems of common interest. It also helps build the trust required to make the further investments necessary for a protocol to be usefully implemented and deployed. Ultimately, however, it is the Internet users themselves that determine whether or not a protocol is valuable and useful enough for widespread use. Here the IETF track record of producing useful, widely deployed protocols is unrivaled.
Coordinating Internet resources: The Internet Registry System
There has always been a need to manage the allocation of Internet resources such as the unique addresses that identify devices connected to the Internet (IP addresses), generic top-level domain names (for example, .org), country code top-level domain names (for example, .ch), domain names (such as www.isoc.org), and the systems that translate domain names into IP addresses (for example, the Domain Name System or DNS).
This coordination activity has been handled by long-standing, not-forprofit membership organisations such as the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and top-level domain (TLD) registries.
More recently, coordination at a global level has been supported by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Established in 1998, ICANN is also a not-for-profit organisation. Business, technical, non-commercial, academic, governmental and end-user communities participate in ICANN.
These organisations are a meeting point for bottom-up, consensual, industrial self-regulation by the groups and individuals that use their services and resources.
Coordinating policies preventing misuse of the Internet
As we have seen, organisations such as the RIRs, TLD registries, ICANN and the IETF all have very specific roles. It is neither within their charters, nor within their capabilities, to take on responsibility for all areas of Internet Coordination—particularly that of preventing inappropriate use of the Internet. For example, areas such as "cyber crime" (for example, fraud and child pornography) require coordinated global attention by lawmakers—and not by those responsible for the equitable coordination of the underlying Internet infrastructure. Security matters also need to be addressed by organisations providing Internet access (not only by standards developers), and intellectual property issues may best be handled by organisations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
In discussions about these broader Internet policy issues there is cooperation between all the organisations mentioned above. ICANN for example works with WIPO to implement its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). And the Internet Society, with technical advice from the IETF, works with Governments and policy makers to explain the effects and possibilities of new Internet technologies.
The way forward: Make your voice heard
Existing consensus-based processes have given us the Internet and have successfully coordinated its phenomenal growth: thousands of new networks, new policy procedures, new top-level domain names, new protocols etc. All of them constantly balance the needs and stability of today's Internet with future demands.
An open debate is now needed to move towards common, globally acceptable policies, processes and technologies to prevent misuse of the Internet. Governments have a vital role to play here as a concerted effort on the part of the Internet community, non-governmental organisations and Governments can help strengthen and extend today's successful coordination processes.
The successful continued development of the Internet for the benefit of everyone can be ensured by participation in these proven processes rather than by attempting to create new untested mechanisms that are inappropriate to the unique characteristics of the Internet.
The Internet Society remains dedicated to providing information and orientation about Internet structures and processes. We encourage broad participation in the activities of each of the organisations involved in Internet coordination. For more information on ISOC, visit: http://www.isoc.org
The Internet Protocol Journal
Ole J. Jacobsen , Editor and Publisher
Editorial Advisory Board
Dr. Vint Cerf , Sr. VP, Architecture and Technology
Dr. Jon Crowcroft , Marconi Professor of Communications Systems
University of Cambridge, England
The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems
University of Pennsylvania, USA
Peter Löthberg , Network Architect
Stupi AB, Sweden
Dr. Jun Murai , Professor, WIDE Project
Keio University, Japan
Dr. Deepinder Sidhu , Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Director, Maryland Center for Telecommunications Research, USA
Pindar Wong , Chairman and President
VeriFi Limited, Hong Kong
The Internet Protocol Journal is published quarterly by the Chief Technology Office, Cisco Systems, Inc.
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Copyright © 2003 Cisco Systems Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.