What is not different about the Internet?

I enjoyed Government 2010 on Thursday despite the tunnel vision of enthusiasts who believe the Internet changes everything but will nonetheless be much the same in 2015 as it is today. That may, unfortunately, be true in the UK where the Digital Britain vision is still only for one-way video-streaming rather than the “competing inter-active, broadcast quality video networks to the home” that was the vision of the last Government for 2002.

Meanwhile the favourite applications around the Pacific Rim,

  • house-wives in tower blocks video-gossiping with friends and relatives
  • teenagers playing 22 player on-line football  
  • massively, multiple role playing games to all tastes and ages 
  • on-line karoake/jam/mash-up sessios

all need 8 – 10 megs symetric 

In every senses they are on far side of the planet from the Ofcom “vision” of policing the cybercrud, as our teenagers down load material from around the world because they cannot themselves upload anything bigger than a Youtube clip, before they die of boredom waiting.

I think the chair of the session got the alternative “vision”. My co-panelist from Google was certainly delighted that it was me, not him, who was challenging the audience to raise their sights.

As the only person in the room with a bus pass, I also enjoyed pointing out that I was using electronic messaging over forty years ago – albeit most radio hams, whose ranks I was encouraged to join for practice, still used morse.

I began my challenge to the Government 2010 audience with some “alternative” definitions of the Internet:

1) A marvel of engineering simplicity, with governance routines designed by Californian Hippies (class of ’67, still stoned), overlaid with layers of lawyer-driven liability-avoidance contracts and land grabs for rights over innovation and content

2) A cartel masquerading as anarchy, with everything that makes money controlled by a handful of global corporations: Cisco on routers, Microsoft on Browsers, Google on search engines and so on    

3) The current state of the world’s largest machine: the world telecommunications network, evolving over time from telegraph, telephone and telex onwards – with thought leadership for the drive into IPV6 based, visual multi-media passed to China – while the UK and EU are stuck on the sidelines, arguing among ourselves over regulations that will be obsolete before they are agreed.

My message was that unless we escape from Fantasy Island, the Chinese and Indian players, from Huaewei to the myriad suppliers of language independent multi-media systems and search engines, will dominate the on-line world, including our domestic market, just as the Japanese car makers did until overtaken in turn by their neighbours.   

On that note I remind you that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills consultation on implemting the proposed duties for Ofcom to report on UK’s communication infrastructure http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page52743.html. closes on 30th October.

I have just been contacted by one of the team offering the opportunity to raise any particular issues of concern covered. I will raise this offer when the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) communications group meets on Monday to review at its forward programme for 2010. 

It is one thing to enjoy venting one’s spleen as an individual – it is another to work as part of team to make a difference. 

Do join the team, either via your employer (although EURIM does now have individual as well as Corpoate membership) or their trade association (e.g. Intellect) or via your professional body (e.g. BCS, IET, IMIS, ISACA, ISC2, ISSA etc) – especially if you disagree with what I have said above.

Part of my role is that of the small boy in the tale of the Emperor’s new clothes. But the other part is bringing together those who will provide him with new clothes that are fit for purpose – including maintaining his credibility as a ruler.

In that context who do you trust to rule the Internet?

Global corporations whose objective is to make money, including to pay the pension funds who are their biggest investors?

Governments whose objective is … (I leave you to complete this sentance as you wish)? 


Organised Crime (currently exploiting the vacuum)?  

Remember that if you want it be run by a partnership of the good guys, it is up to you to support the Internet Governance Forum, including via ICANN and Nominet. The next meeting of the EURIM E-Crime group will be a report back from Sharm El Sheik and a review of current plans to help the launch of the Tripartite E-Crime Reduction Partnership – as announced in the Digital Britain report.  


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So glad you were there! I don't think any of them get IT. Well a few might be seeing IT a bit better now, but as other countries romp away with their infrastructure build we are still capped and throttled by the copper cabal.

Keep the faith. We will get there eventually, just hope we aren't too late. Until government understand that this first gen infrastructure is inhibiting growth and innovation we just have to keep fighting the good fight to convince them.

keep rockin