Privacy and technology expert Lauren Weinstein discussed the current state of the Internet, and possible ways it might be altered in the future. A kind of "network of networks," the Internet was originally developed as a research project rather than for commercial purposes, he explained. There'll be gradual increases in bandwidth and other changes over time, but we're unlikely to see a dramatic or sudden cutover of the public Internet to a new network like the "Internet2" research projects, he said.
One problem he cited is that most email and web browsing is unencrypted and this data is "open to all comers," such as a user's ISP. If the data was encrypted, then ISPs wouldn't be able to spy on consumers, he noted. One proposal, which could be established in an attempt to protect children, would require the identification of all Internet users in order to visit various sites-- this would greatly hamper privacy and anonymity, he warned.
More than a large company such as Google, ISPs need to be watched closely-- they are consumers' gateway to the Internet, and have access to all of our data, said Weinstein.Have we reached a state where the Internet should be considered a utility like water or power?, he pondered, noting that phone companies have protested when some communities have attempted to set up free bandwidth access.
Wild Horses Update
In the first hour, Jerry Reynoldson spoke about the plight of wild horses in the western U.S., and the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) round-up of them. The BLM, who is considering euthanizing large numbers of the animals, has mismanaged their program, and the horses have been unfairly blamed for destroying ranges, he commented. Additional Links:
Wild Horse Summit