Response from Lee McKnight, Wireless Grids, to Lee Rainie’s ‘What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet’
Lee McKnight spoke to the conference remotely, by audio. He noted that this week’s announcement about the U.S. government’s recent decision about how it relates to ICANN is extremely important. “It’s impressive to see some things moving at Internet speed,” he said. “I want to highlight that while this is a first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum-USA, it is a historic day both for that and because of the announcement from NTIA and ICANN in relation to internationalization of the oversight of ICANN. It is a particularly poignant time for us to be coming together.”
He asked the audience to think back a few decades to the days when the Internet was not yet an infrastructure used for commerce, politics and general social interaction. “There was at least a glimmer in Vint Cerf’s eye about where things and how things might evolve, and the Internet Society was created,” he recalled. “I have witnessed and have been fortunate to have played a small part in many new organizations that have come along over time.”
He noted that the Caribbean Internet Forum – a multistakeholder group – has been meeting since 2002. “You can learn from them how to grow the US Internet Governance Forum, which has been sort of a late-comer,” he said. “I want to highlight the value and centrality of the multistakeholder model for global governance in general, and how policy can be made in a flexible manner.”
He noted that there are now many advances being made in the development of personal wireless grids.
The future of the Internet is not the Internet as we think of it now. What I mean is that we are focusing now on the network infrastructure level, which is absolutely central and critical, but where people live is in a world of devices, digital machines around them that are on and off the Internet. They are on mobile devices, on TVs, computers, printers, everywhere around them, and this Internet of things – or all those things and the Internet are merging through mobile and wireless connectivity. This new capability of creating essentially a personal cyberstructure, a personal cloud of your machines, your devices, your content, associated with you through your known identity and trust, securely, is something I have been working on for seven or eight years, and it’s still in its mid- to early days. - Lee McKnight
McKnight shared briefly about his work with the testing and rollout of personal wireless grids. He noted that in the next few years the Wireless Grid Innovation Testbed, or WIDGIT, will release new technologies for trial, first through universities including Virginia Tech and Syracuse and later to end-users.
He said this could alter the horizon for concerns over privacy and other issues.
“This offers a new capability of creating a personal, trusted, community of your own machines, your own devices, your own friends, across mobile and wireless devices,” he said. “As this comes into the marketplace and enhances user experience, I expect some of these trust and identity issues that are so challenging at the scale of the whole Internet will be addressed. In this personal world, this future architecture is not about securing the entire Internet, it’s about trusting your friends and your friends’ machines.”
- Janna Anderson, http://www.imaginingtheinternet.org