Kinkajou : Tell us about the General history of the Internet.
Erasmus :Networks that led to the Internet
- X.25 and public data networks (Unlike ARPANET, X.25 was commonly available for business use.)
- UUCP and Usenet,1980,
- Merging the networks and creating the Internet (1973–95)
TCP was first specified in 1974. TCP/IP emerged in late 1978.
This used addressing technology called IPv4.
Erasmus : On Flag Day, (first of January 1983), TCP/IP protocols became the only approved protocol on the ARPANET, replacing the earlier protocols.
Kinkajou : What are some of the first killer apps of the Internet?
Erasmus : Email and Usenet
Email was first used in 1965 as method for multiple users of mainframe computers to communicate. As such, it predates the Internet but it has been one of the key tools (killer apps) which has driven the development and success of the Internet. In 1971, Ray Tomlinson first used the Internet email format using the@to separate mailbox names from host names. SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) developed as the chief protocol for message delivery, allowing communication between a number of computer systems.
Following the development of email came:
- bulletin boards and bulletin board messages
- mailing lists
There were many technical difficulties with communication across the Internet in the early days of its creation. FTP email gateways allowed people living outside the US or Europe to download files using FTP commands residing inside email messages. The protocol broke down the files and sent them by email. After the development of the World Wide Web and HTTP, FTP was relegated to use outside of email systems, as a direct file transfer system between computers.
WWW when Founded
Kinkajou : When did the World Wide Web first evolve?
Erasmus : The evolution of the internet spans From Gopher to the WWW
In the early days of the Internet there were two main systems of organising information. One was represented by Gopher and Gopherspace. The other was known as the World Wide Web. Gopher became the first system to use the hypertext interface to the Internet.
The WorldWide Web won the system war. Early browsers accessing the World Wide Web were Mosaic and then Netscape Navigator. Microsoft destroyed the market share of Netscape Navigator by distributing its offering: Internet Explorer for free. The world has gone full circle with the development of a number of other browsers competing with the Internet Explorer browser. Common examples include: Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.
Over the ensuing decades, applications began to drive the development of the Internet. These include social media, e-commerce, online shopping such as in Amazon or eBay, online forums, bulletin boards, personal websites, and blogs.
Rapid technological development in the hardware capacities of computers as well as in chipsets for mobile phones significantly expanded the capacity of the Internet to provide text based information as well as pictures. Technology also affected the speed and volume of data transfer, expanding the use of the Internet to involve sound files and eventually the transfer of video files as well.
Also developed were social applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and global information collaborations such as Wikipedia. A British company called ARM gained dominance in the market for chipsets in mobile and embedded devices.
Packet Structure of IP V4
Structure of an IP packet Header
Kinkajou : When did search engines first arrive?
Erasmus : Search engines had appeared before the advent of the World Wide Web. The first was Archie in 1990, followed by WAIS and Gopher in 1991. Others followed: Lycos in 1993, WebCrawler in 1994, Yahoo 1994, AltaVista 1995 and Google 1998. Search engines developed new paradigms for getting people appropriate answers to their questions. Google particularly developed “relevancy ranking”. Search engines became the predominant method of searching Internet, bypassing directory file listings.
Packet Structure IP V6
Kinkajou : How did we transfer information in the early days of the Internet?
Erasmus : We transferred information by File sharing
File transfer protocol (FTP) was standardised in 1985 and is still in use today. Napster in 1999 became the first peer-to-peer file sharing program. Because this program used a central server for indexing and peer discovery, it eventually became targeted by legal opponents seeking to limit file sharing on the Internet.
A number of peer-to-peer file sharing programs followed with varying levels of decentralisation and peer anonymity. LimeWire, Bit Torrent and Mu Torrent are some of the programs developing. Some file sharing organisations developed such as Pirate Bay founded in Sweden in 2003. Other organisations followed such as Kickass Torrents, IsoHunt or Extra Torrent.
Legal challenges on abuse of intellectual property have persisted to the current day.
Kinkajou : I heard about the darknet. Tell us about that.
Erasmus : The term darknet was originally used to describe networks that were isolated from ARPANET and which evolved into the Internet. Darknet are able to receive data from ARPANET. However darknet addresses did not appear in network lists and would not answer pings or other communication protocol inquiries.
The darknet is a specific network which is overlaid over the World Wide Web. It can only be accessed via specific software, specific computer configurations or authorisations, generally using non-standard communication protocols and ports. Friend to friend networks are one type of darknet. They often used for file sharing, peer-to-peer connection.
Anonymity networks such as Torvia form another type of darknet.
Another term for the encrypted darknet is a “clear net” or “surface web”.
Common current uses of darknets are:
- Privacy protection via reduced supervision by mass surveillance techniques.
- Whistleblowing, news leaks and as clandestine communications networks avoiding official supervision such as by a government.
- Criminal activities including accessing restricted goods e.g. drug accessories may be traded via darknet.
- Illegal file sharing (An interesting proposition since although many files are illegal to share, they can still be shared quite openly. There are however some specific types of files that have a greater requirement for secrecy in their promulgation).
All darknets require specific software (e.g. Tor) to be installed to allow access or require a customised browser (e.g.Vidalia browser aka the Tor browser bundle) or require the use of a proxy server configured to perform the same function.
Names of darknets include: Tor (hidden part), I2P (invisible Internet project), Freenet, GNUnet, Zeronet, Syndie, OneSwarm and Tribler.
.Onion is the recent new official domain name
Current developments in Australia include legislation to require ISPs to retain Meta data for several years. This means the government agencies can track the sites that your computer has been accessing. This legislation is formed by agreement of the big five (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK), to share computer based intelligence data.
A number of proposals have been proposed by Internet users to maintain their privacy. These include anonymous proxy servers or the creation of VPN tunnels bypassing ISPs. Worldwide, numerous governments have proposed filtering the Internet to protect children from accessing violent or pornographic websites.
Darket For Sale Contraband
Kinkajou : I’ve heard of Ipv4. But what is Ipv6 all about?
Erasmus : IPv4 and IPv6 are addressing systems. They aim to give every web site or web device an address.
Ipv6 protocol will eventually replace IPV4. The growth of the Internet presented a problem to communications planners in that it was obvious that existing addresses would soon run out. This is especially impacted by the development of network capable devices (many printers even have a device address).
Such devices significantly accelerate the trend to the requirement for expansion of the address system.
IPv6 is a much more complex system to the previous system of IPv4. Every “device” on the internet could conceivably have its own unique address.
Growth and adoption has been slow to date.
Kinkajou : I’ve heard Australia is getting a new super-fast broadband network. Tell us about that.
Erasmus :The Australian superfast broadband network is a government initiative subcontracted to private business for infrastructure construction. It is called the National Broadband Network (NBN)
The NBN Australia aims to provide one gigabit per second speeds for up to 90% of Australian households and businesses. The proposal is progressing slowly, limited somewhat by the size of the Australian subcontinent. Australians are however some of the most urbanised people on the planet.
So perhaps not all is doom and gloom for this proposal. Current proposals are for a fibre trunk to be built and to allow the final access point for homes to be via existing copper connections derived from traditional phone systems.
Kinkajou : When did the World Wide Web as we know it today start to appear?
The answer is the year 2002 with the appearance of the standard “web 2.0”
A series of events began in 2002, underpinned by developments in web-based markup language and the capabilities of webpages. Weblogs and RSS began to appear, as well as Wikipedia, PayPal, U-tube, and Facebook.
This combination of more user-created or edited content, and easy means of sharing content, such as via RSS widgets and video embedding, has led to many sites with a typical "Web 2.0" feel. They have articles with embedded video, user-submitted comments below the article, and RSS boxes to the side, listing some of the latest articles from other sites.
ILLUSTRATION Number of Internet hosts worldwide: 1969–2012
Internet Hosts Growth Graph
Kinkajou : HTML (Hypertext mark-up language) is the language of the Internet. Tell us where we are now.
Erasmus : HTML was born in the 1990s. The 1990s saw the birth of the web as we know it. This decade saw the construction of the first browser (called WorldWideWeb), the development of HTTP, the first HTML (Hypertext mark-up language) and the first web server. The browser was capable of accessing USENET newsgroups and FTP files. It ran only on the NeXT operating system.
Today's successor is HTML 5 markup language. It will be the new language of the web. The final version was completed and published in October 2014. HTML5 is intended to subsume not only HTML 4, but also XHTML 1 and DOM Level 2 HTML. Work has begun on its successor HTML 5.1, due end 2016.
New capabilities of HTML5 include consideration of being able to run on small screen, low-power devices such as smart phones or tablets. HTML 5 is designed to improve the display and processing of complex files such as video, audio, scalable vector graphics, and multimedia.
Flash type display capabilities are built into the language. HTML5 cannot provide animation within web pages.
The HTML5 has, however, been designed to be backward compatible with common parsing of older versions of HTML. It is designed so that old browsers can ignore new HTML 5 code (error handling), for backward compatibility.
Kinkajou : Everyone uses their mobile phone today. When did that first appear?
Erasmus : The first mobile phone with data Internet connection was the “Nokia 9000 Communicator”, launched in 1996 in Finland.
A phone company in Japan launched the next development of a mobile Internet service in 1999. This is considered the birth of the mobile phone Internet services.
Due to the small size of phones and their processors, software kernels have been designed to have small memory and processor footprints. The main force driving the initial uptake of mobile phones was their small size.
However increased data usage has led to an increasing phone size, approaching up to half tablet size. Phones have overtaken computers as the main device used to access information on the Internet.
Kinkajou : Everyone is worried about copyright and digital rights. What’s happening here?
Erasmus : Digital rights management
The New standard for Internet information transfer is HTML 5. Many organisations have lobbied the inclusion of digital rights management in this standard. EME (Encrypted Media Extensions) is the form of digital rights management proposed.
Standards such as HTML 5 are important because they allow some unusual features. For example voice browsers can read webpages aloud to people with visual impairments. Braille browsers can translate text into Braille. Teletext displays are enabled. It has been changes in web capabilities through standards that have facilitated the development of user generated dialogue in social media, social networking sites, graphics and video sharing sites, blogs, and wikis.
NASA has been developing new communication protocols tolerant of network delay. Long-term this technology will allow multi-vessel missions to undertake inter- vessel communication in precedence to space to ground communications.
DRM Digita Rights Management
Erasmus : Changes proposed in HTML5 include:
- New names for common uses of generic block (<div>) and inline (<span>) elements
- New names for<nav> (website navigation block),<footer> (usually referring to bottom of web page or to last lines of HTML code
- <audio> and <video> instead of <object>
- dropped <font> and <center>, superseded by CSS
- Canvas consists of a drawable region defined in HTML code with height and width attributes.
- Web Storage API with cookie like features
- New elements: article, aside, audio, bdi, canvas, command, data, datalist, details, embed, figcaption,
figure, footer, header, keygen, mark, meter, nav, output, progress, rp, rt, ruby, section, source,summary, time, track, video, wbr
- New types of form controls: dates and times, email, url, search, number, range, tel, color
- New attributes: charset (on meta), async (on script)
- Global attributes (that can be applied for every element): id, tabindex, hidden, data-* (custom data attributes)
- Deprecated elements will be dropped acronym, applet, basefont, big, center, dir, font, frame, frameset, isindex, noframes,
Ruby is a method of allowing browsers to cope with some Asian character sets, improving internationalisation.
Who Runs The Internet
Kinkajou : Who runs the Internet?
Erasmus: Internet governance is an ad hoc arrangement largely.
A number of organisations are responsible for the hardware standards underpinning the Internet most of these organisations represent volunteers. Organisations include:
- Internet engineering task Force (IETF)
- Internet architecture board (IAB)
- Internet engineering steering group (IESG)
- Internet research task force (IRTF)
Throughout its entire history, the Internet system has had an "Internet Assigned Numbers Authority" (IANA) for the allocation and assignment of various technical identifiers needed for the operation of the Internet. In 1998, this was replaced by ICANN, (Internet Corporation for assigned names and Numbers). ICANN supervises the domain name system, (inc. name spaces) and Internet Protocol address space on the Internet.
Kinkajou : Tell us about some of the legal issues facing the Internet today.
Erasmus :Internet Law Developments
Erasmus : Data hacks: These focus attention on the need to have security in Internet connected systems to protect the personal information of people who may deal with organisations working through the net. Sony was data hacked in 2014 with exposure of much internal information. The hack was blamed on North Korea which was opposing the showing of a film called “the interview”.
This was a satirical film aimed at the North Korean regime. Sony withdrew the film, at least for a while. An interesting exposure related to the role of MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and its opposition to Google.
The Identity Theft Resource Centre reported over 780 data breaches in 2014 which compromised over 85 million data records. Unquestionably, improved digital security infrastructure is essential.
- Loss of privacy. Will governments and corporations expand current tracking policies? Or will innovators create new ways for individuals to control personal information? Experts are divided on whether a secure and balanced privacy-rights infrastructure will be in place by 2025.
Erasmus : Security: many government agencies have become comfortable to using Internet data (Facebook) to collate facts on individuals. In spite of a large number of data hacks occurring annually, the government seeks to collect information on its citizens by demanding “backdoors” and “secure golden keys”. A hacker’s dream. Governments worldwide are attempting to introduce legislation to prevent computer fraud and abuse. Unfortunately legislation generally lags behind reality
Consider one possible future:
It’s a winter evening in 2040 and the world is a darker place. The internet is teeming with cybercrime and it’s become impossible to go online without making your bank account vulnerable or risking identity theft. The future:
- Abuses and abusers will "evolve and scale." Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography dirty tricks, crime, and the offenders will have new capacity to make life miserable for others.
- Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase
- Experts believe nations, rogue groups, and malicious individuals will step up their assaults on communications networks, targeting institutions, financial services agencies, utilities, and consumers over the next decade. Many also predict effective counter moves will generally contain the damage.
- Corporate responsibility: How far will tech firms go in helping repressive regimes?
Erasmus : Deleting data: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that people have a right to selectively delete unwanted search results for the name when the search results are “inadequate or no longer relevant”. It is expected that approximately 0.75Million URLs may need to be deleted from Google databases.
The issue for search engine uses is that data on a person’s name can be vetted and that information about that person can be excluded. While this seems fair from an equity issue, I’m sure there are some unscrupulous people who will take advantage of such a law.
Erasmus : Copyright: DRM or digital rights management will be incorporated in new version of HTML. Interestingly, there have been some fair use rulings protecting the inclusion of copyrighted works into large-scale databases.
The US court has invalidated a number of patents for “activities on a computer”, arguing that these types of inventions did not cover a unique process. (For example, playing cards on computer were thought to cover an abstract idea and not to be eligible for patent protection).
Erasmus : Internet lies: some Internet companies admitted they had given customers false feedback in attempts to assess how consumer response could be manipulated. Unusually, a company called OkCupid admitted it had lied to its members in telling them they were more compatible with other members than the numerical scores on the matching program indicated.
These types of activities reduce people’s trust in many Internet services and create concern about how others may be manipulated their emotions.
Erasmus :Internet porn: while email was a killer app of the early Internet, porn can be stated to be the killer app of the high bandwidth Internet era. People also are routinely generating self-pornography and disseminating this to others. Unfortunately, sometimes this is further disseminated for revenge or other reasons.
The general rule is that disseminating pornography without the consent of everyone depicted is not acceptable. However it is difficult to police these types of values. A number of my female friends who have taken up dating later in life following relationship breakdowns, routinely receive pictures of their prospective new partner’s penis. Sexting is becoming so pervasive in our society that the only choice may well be to ignore it.
Erasmus : Garcia v. Google. In this case an actress who appeared for a few seconds (not speaking) in a 14 minute video claimed copyright. The difficulties inherent in this case are that it allows anyone depicted in the video to proclaim copyright in the recording. That means you’ll be functionally impossible to publish videos without the consent of every person depicted.
This is an almost impossible standard to implement in an era of citizen journalism and widespread video documentation of public activities. On appeal, the copyright was denied.
Erasmus : Online marketplaces: in the early days of the Internet organisations sold things on the Internet. (Amazon books). However the current reincarnation is seeing new Internet businesses taking on established incumbents. For example, Uber/Lyft/Sidecar is changing how the world uses taxis or public transportation. The new enterprises don’t fit into the regulatory frameworks.
There is considerable opposition from entrenched incumbents who don’t want to compete with the new Internet competitors who are governed by less restrictive regulations. In Australia, a taxi license is worth up to $300,000. So losing your ability to earn money with your license is a considerable loss. Strangely as the government creates and sells taxi licenses, I would have thought the government would be in opposition to the likes of Uber/Lyft/Sidecar.
Common problems relate to online marketplace operators failing to act as insurers or guarantors for content on their websites. It’s not really ours, so why should we pay compensation for harm you have suffered.
Erasmus : International online companies: there has been substantial angst generated in Australia against Internet companies such as Google. These companies deliberately set up international structures to minimise tax payment in many countries of operation. Governments naturally all want their fair share in tax on money earned within their borders. An argument in progress.
An ancillary copyright law in Europe attempted to force Google to pay license fees to newspapers for indexing content snippets in Google News. In Germany, the major print publishers waive their right under law to access as payment, as they realise that losing Google News traffic would cost them more money than the license would generate. Spain made this right non-waivable.
Google responded by shutting down Google News in Spain altogether. The loss of traffic to the Spanish print publishers led them to request Google to re-enter the news market, attempting to reverse the effects of the law.
The international online companies and other international companies are the new big bad boys on the block. Their ability to pick and choose whether pay the taxes, and their ability to bypass national restrictions on the operations can at times make their actions unacceptable to many.
Erasmus : Online contracts: there have been some test cases were companies unilaterally altered the contractual conditions of use. Current law does not allow the unilateral wavering conditions of contracts. Agreement is required between parties.
Erasmus : Data and Online privacy: there have been some rulings that police are unable to access information held in a cell phone without a warrant. Obvious. However, there are some questions with regards to the right of government to access information stored on a cloud.
I think the greater issue is how individuals secure information on a cloud, to minimise the risk of losing data with a hack and to protect their confidential information from other people or governments. The security must encompass many levels. This includes security from the employees of the cloud platform owners. There is no point having security only focused outwards, leaving your cloud soft and munchy on the inside.
Erasmus : Net neutrality:
Net neutrality is an umbrella term that covers many concepts. Among those is the idea that everyone should be able to access everything on the Internet equally, no matter what service they use.
An interesting concept allowing for free expression of users. However again government is tinkering around the edges attempting to reclassify parts of the Internet as encompassing telecommunications.
This changes the laws that apply to activities on the Internet and changes the government’s ability to limit or prosecute them. In the US, much of the Internet traffic is classified as an information service, with very different rules to telecommunications services. Another problem on the horizon is a commercial incentive to charge for different levels of service, in effect volume charging for Internet traffic, or for quality of service. Currently in Australia, it is your choice of ISP that determines your fees and bandwidth. Your choice.
ISPs Link Internet
Some Internet service providers (ISPs) oppose this philosophy. It gives them less control over their own services. If an ISP could strike deals with content providers, it could give preferential treatment to its partners. Let's look at an example.
You've subscribed to ISP A. This ISP has struck a deal with Web site X. Under this agreement, ISP A's customers can visit Web site X using the fastest connections in ISP A's network. Web site Y is a competitor to Web site X. As part of the deal, ISP A slows down -- or perhaps even prevents -- traffic to Web site Y. Customers will tend to visit X over Y because they can get there faster. As a result, Web site Y suffers due to low user traffic.
If we extend the example, it gets even worse. Imagine an Internet in which the sites you can visit depend entirely upon which ISP you have. In some markets, you might not even have a choice of ISP -- one company may dominate the local market. That means you're stuck with whatever access the ISP decides to grant you. That's antithetical to the spirit of net neutrality.
Proprietary platforms may also be a threat to the Internet. Devices like video game consoles, smartphones and entertainment systems are attracting developers to create Internet applications. But while these applications give devices additional functionality, they also are creating divisions on the Internet. As each platform becomes more locked down, developers have to choose which platforms to support.
Ultimately, that means that the owners of these devices will each have a different experience when accessing the Internet. If this trend continues, it may become difficult to have a meaningful conversation about the Internet -- each person's perspective will be shaped by the devices he or she uses.
It may turn out that open platforms get the most support and outlast their proprietary counterparts. But that could be a long-term outcome. For the next several years, we'll likely see more locked-down systems accessing the Internet.
One way of keeping the web democratised and egalitarian is by safeguarding net neutrality, which means a web that is open, decentralised and universally accessible – rather than one which is segmented, better featured for some rather than others and so on.
DSM consolidates initiatives on security and data protection, which are essential for the adoption of this technology. Most importantly, it announces an initiative on the Data economy (free flow of data, allocation of liability, ownership, interoperability, usability and access) and promises to tackle interoperability and standardisation
Erasmus : Community Power: Internet gives people incredible power to act as whistle-blowers, to expose corruption and to create public awareness of the actions of government. It gives people a method of networking. It is believed to have led to the spring uprising in North Africa. But in the western world, it has brought public attention on many issues, sought to be concealed.
Politicians have learned to harness community Power through the use of public media such as Facebook or Twitter to communicate with constituents. Political protests, canvassing the community, seeking votes, activism or civil rights protests, recruitment of like-minded people for good or for ill (good: save the environment protests, evil: encouraging people to join Isis).
Who owns the data? There are two issues here. Ownership and right of access. These then lead to other issues such as the ability to earn money from data. This issue will continue to be played out throughout the world for years. In the absence of regulation, contracts will determine who can do what with the data
Erasmus : Empowerment: many people using Internet can seek information on many things that were essentially once held in data warehouses by professionals. For example, people can search the Internet for medical information about the conditions. It gives people with low social power or poverty the capacity to enrich themselves with information.
And if government interference wasn’t enough, there is also the threat of increased security problems posed by criminals. Already, networked devices in people’s homes have inspired nightmarish scenarios in which personal appliances can be compromised from afar. Even.