The Internet is the primary cornerstone for business and communication today. In order to continue being a trusted, mission-critical platform, the Internet must be seen and proven to be secure, reliable and private. The INET Frankfurt conference offered a unique forum to meet, discuss and learn from the people driving the development of the Internet.
Around 200 to 250 Internet stakeholders attended to discuss the challenges, opportunities and threats facing the Internet. The main theme of the event was Securing the Future Growth of the Internet: Stability, Openness and Trust.
Main challenges for the future of the Internet
The Internet is about sharing. It is successful because it makes all Internet resources available to all users simultaneously. This resource sharing ability is central to the Internet’s utility and success. It enables the interconnection of diverse applications over heterogeneous networking media running at diverse speeds. It allows for growth without central control. Everybody shares in the control of the network. The Internet is continuously evolving. Some of the more profound recent changes have been caused by the impact of broadband access networks. In the last decade, the number of broadband subscribers worldwide has grown over one hundred times. Widespread broadband deployment has led to tremendous innovation in Internet applications and huge increases in the average amount of bandwidth consumed per user. The effects of these changes are now being felt around the globe.
In this context, the conference addressd the current and future technical, social and economic challenges for the global Internet, including some of the most critical issues on security. It also clarified the principles on which the Internet is based and which stakeholders (Policymakers, Businesses, Civil Society) should take into account while addressing the growth and the future of the Internet.
Network Confidence and Privacy Issues
Security technologies, well-publicized best practices for network operations, and close coordination among Internet stakeholders are all vital to the health and safety of the current Internet. However, if we want to continue to experience the benefits of a common and open Internet, we must also recognize the limits of focusing on security alone. The Internet must evolve in order to build user confidence: just as in the real world, confidence opens doors to new opportunities.
Privacy on the Internet is a complex and multi-faceted issue that includes technical and social dimensions. One way the Internet Society is currently addressing various aspects of online privacy and security related issues is through its Trust and Identity initiative in broader context of what we call “Network Confidence”.
“Network Confidence” is a term that captures the understanding that, in order to be trusted, the Internet must provide channels for secure, reliable, private, communication between entities, which can be clearly authenticated in a mutually understood manner. The mechanisms that provide this level of assurance must support both the end-to-end nature of Internet architecture and reasonable means for entities to manage and protect their own identity details.
Speakers addressed various aspects of Security and Privacy related issues with a view to introducing network confidence, as the future success of the Internet will depend on establishing and maintaining trusted relationships.