The urgence of improving the networks' governance

internet mapping
Infrastructures have always been the base of economical as much as cultural developments. Just let’s think of rivers, roads, railways, aviation or telephone. Today's information society is depending on internet. Not only we have to multiply these digital highways, but we have to adapt them to the needs of massive expanding communication exchanges and heavy files transit (complex software, 3D imaging, cinema, real time interactivity, etc.). We even dream of a 3D Web technology. Google is offering us 3D images of our cities, and even 3D modeling of the earth and oceans.
Numerous real time massive multiplayers 3D videogames, distribution of fiature films, scientific 3D imaging,
distant robotic surgeries, all of them on line multiplying simultaneously will need more and more bandwidth. We cannot keep such heavy digital trucks on instable earth paths. We will be obliged also to better manage these highways, and even charge tolls according to speed, weight and priorities of the circulating files. Underestimating the importance of extending and improving the new structures and the servers they need, could soon be a main obstacle to economical development, to trade, professional services, education, etc. Each country needs therefore also to train experts in networking architecture and managing. Maintenance and protection become basic strategic issues in a world of intense exchanges of all kind, industrial competition and spying, hacking, terrorism and cyber attacks. No country can afford to encounter sensible data burglaries, digital breakdowns, highways hold-ups and cybercriminality. Not to speak of invisible but powerful worms and virus, and of the catastrophic invasion of junk and spam messages. We should not forget that today’s firewalls are more vulnerable than the Great Wall in its time! Using a metaphor, we could say that the good maintenance of the digital fluxes gets as important for a country as the blood health and circulation for a human body. And it is the responsibility of the states and to build these highways, to manage them in the general interest and to secure them under the auspicies of an international governance.
We meet already a series of difficult challenges. The rapid worldwide success of digital communication puts our internet networks at risk. Experts underline that we are overloading the web, at such a point that we urge to invent and develop a new conception and architecture for it. Otherwise we may be soon confronted to a digital chaos. Telephonic communications will get more and more exclusively digital, and request real time voice exchanges. The rapid tempo of our lives has changed our habits and demands. Time is money. And we request our exchanges of textual messages and data files to be just in time. We cannot accept anymore that our computers and networks be slow. This accelerating social time of today requesting the speed of lighton internet seems to us a basic need. Just imagine if trains or planes should arrive to destination in the second they leave! Only teletransportation in science-fiction makes it possible. Nevertheless we demand it from the internet! Its fluidity and speed must surmount the inevitable traffic jam of digital rush hours.
We are confronted to the necessity not only of improving the digital roads, but also to lighten the circulating vehicles. It means that we have to limit the size of overloaded files by fragmenting them (streaming) and being able to readjust the fragments correctly then they arrive to destination. Compression of the files will not be enough. Dreaming of 3D Web, we have to improve the traditional 3D modeling with its numerous polygons and set up a light new 3D programming. Many developers reach the point of revolutionizing this technology. Lets think for instance to the 3D cyberactors of the Quebec small company named Darwin Dimension*.
A two hours feature film based on the traditional 24 frames per second will finally count with some 172 800 frames. It means a very long and heavy train of vehicles, resulting monstrous for any internet diffusion. A digital film transportation must therefore only take in account the reference frames and the series of little changes from one frame to the next.
Still we have to manage the circulation of the vehicles and direct them through each server of the network according to their addresses, which are tagged to each of one. This is a huge traffic control task! (Just think of the thousands of daily miss directed luggage in the airports.)
The complexity of these challenges looks very sensible, just considering the vital role of digital networks in today’s human activities. We cannot afford any big netcrash, those consequences in our security would be like an earthquake.
According to such basic considerable risks, we need an international institution like the International Telecommunication Union, the leading United Nations agency for information and communication Technologies headquartered in Geneva, being responsible for the international standardization, global maintenance, security, and technological fast improvement of the digital networks. The importance of its role looks equivalent to mandate of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) based in Montreal, for air transportation roads and security. We also need that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) be transferred from its American controlled NGO to a neutral institution with shared international responsability. It seems that the digital technologies development has stretched out faster than human governance. Is it not very dangerous? Time has come to urge an international political awareness of our responsibilities.

Hervé Fischer


*Darwin Dimension: http://newsblaze.com/story/2006072406003700011.mwir/topstory.html

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