The Internet Is Broken and We Need Something New

By Sam Gibbs on at

The internet is pretty integral to our everyday lives; without it I wouldn’t even have a job right now. But there are quite a few downers to the interconnected world we live in, and according to cybersecurity expert Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University, it’s broken beyond repair and we should start over.

Woodward doesn’t blame the internet as such; “the internet was never intended to be a secure network,” he says. But he reckons that our attempts to make it secure, to protect our purchases, our privacy and our online lives, are just plain ineffective.

“[E]vidence suggests that our efforts to secure the internet are becoming less and less effective, and so the idea of a radical alternative suddenly starts to look less laughable.”

The solution, it seems, is to adopt a more secure, more solid base for our interconnections. IPv6 could provide that, but it’s going to take quite a lot of effort to get the whole internet to switch over, even if we are running out of IPv4 addresses.

“I think that the current internet can only survive if adequate global governance is applied and that single, secure technology is mandated.”

Of course Woodward admits that’s a herculean task at best, and could call in violations of free speech and the very freedom of the internet as it stands now. We’ve all been worried by the recent SOPA and ACTA moves by governments, and they were only to do with intellectual property, not the internet protocol itself.

Still, I see his point. I don’t agree with it, but what the Professor is saying is that he feels that we need some sort of institution to steer the internet over technology, to make sure the best technology is adopted not the easiest. Right now the internet is almost going through its own type of evolution. It’s not always the best thing that develops, it’s the one that’s easiest, the one that propagates and survives.

I hope the internet as a whole jumps on the IPv6 bandwagon and switches us all over, and that it really does enable a more secure pathway for our private information. There’s not a hell of a lot us consumers can do about it though, other than lobby our ISPs and institutions. Time to get writing that email, letter or picket sign then. [BBC]

Image credit: Internet from Shutterstock