April 9, 2008

The Ends of the Internet?

How shall the Internet come to an end? Let us count the ways.

GigaOm.com, an online media service focusing on emerging technology, outlined 10 specific ways in which the Internet as we know it could conclude.

These include everything from hostile lawyers and the end of net neutrality, to technical problems, such as a hacker-assisted virus that disrupts the “self-healing” mechanism of Internet routers.

And what about all those spam emails?

The millions of “enslaved” computers linked together in “zombie networks” that crank out spam could be put to far more dire purposes, notes Gigaom blogger Alistair Croll.

The Internet society should also be nervous about “massive physical infrastructure failure,” Croll writes, in which intentional attacks on key network hardware terminates online access around the world.

And don’t discount the human capacity to make a bad situation worse.

Whether it’s mass extinction resulting from climate change or other disasters, or the emergence of “walled gardens” and “fragments” — in which ideological groups and censorious governments such as China stymie the natural propagation of information online — the future of the Internet may not be as rosy as we think.

Source:

“10 Ways the Internet (As We Know It) Will Die”
Gigaom, April 6, 2008

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