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This is Our Internet: Open Standards and Why They Matter

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With its ever-present role in commerce
education

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entertainment science

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and even government

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it's hard to imagine a life not affected
by the Internet

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but what is it?

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the Internet is open

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no one is in charge yet anyone can
contribute

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everyone can benefit

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It's ever-changing

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and in the process

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it's changing the way the world
communicates, works, and comes together.


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it is fundamentally about communication

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The internet makes it possible for us to
share ideas foster creativity and make


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connections.

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In simple terms

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it's a network of computers connected to
each other

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a network of networks actually

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it's a system of hardware and software
that spans the globe connecting

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computers

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devices and people.

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This is all possible

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because of open standards that allow
computers and networks to speak to each

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other the world over

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to work together

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and to securely share information.

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In the end

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it's this sharing that holds the promise
of the Internet

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one of future collaboration

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and boundless imagination

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the Internet

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is worldwide

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it empowers us

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it liberates us

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it is a us

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and this is our Internet

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not only is the Internet ours to use it
has been a collective effort to

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establish the open standards that make
the Internet work

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and evolve.

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One organization dedicated to creating
and maintaining the open standards that

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make the Internet work

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is the Internet Engineering Task Force

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or I_E_T_F

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The The I_E_T_ F

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is a loosely self organized group of
people from around the world

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who voluntarily contribute to the
engineering

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and evolution

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of the Internet

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Throughout the history of the I_E_T_F

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there have been more than four thousand
engineers

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scientists and researchers

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contributing in the development of an
open Internet infrastructure

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they could even include you

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or someone you know.

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you can participate simply by
subscribing to one or more of the I_E_T_ F

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mailing lists

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at w_w_w_ dot i_e_t_f dot o_r_g

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Don't worry

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there are no fees no strict membership
requirements

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there's no secret handshake although
that would be pretty cool.

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What you will find is a strong
commitment to mutual curiosity about the

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Internet's possibilities and potential

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where to take us tomorrow or ten years
from now

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the I_E_T_ F_ mission includes

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proposing solutions to pressing
operational and technical issues with

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the Internet

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and specifying standards that keep the
Internet open viable

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secure, useful,

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and convenient

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in other words, the I_E_T_F_

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helps make the net work.

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I_E_T_F participants do this by joining
working groups of which there are more

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than one hundred.

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most of the work is conducted by a
mailing lists and by drafting

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suggestions and ideas

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Then three times a year I_E_T_ F participants
gather for face-to-face meetings to

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discuss these drafts

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in these meetings

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engineers, developers, and researchers
collaborate to develop specifications

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that maybe come open internet standards.

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Protocols that have led us to secure
email, chat,

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online shopping,

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learning,

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gaming

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downloading and everything else we all
use the Internet for in our everyday

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lives

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Through the development of open
standards

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these engineers empower us with the
tools to unleash creativity and

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innovation

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which make the Internet more than just a
collection of computers

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the I_E_T_F_ reviews and establishes open
Internet standards by using documents

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called

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request for comments or R_F_Cs

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when an individual or group introduces
an idea or identifies an issue the

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discussion and eventual solution is
published as an R_F_C

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Anyone can submit a proposal for an R_F_C

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The list of R_F_C_ submitted over the
years tells the history and the

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evolution of the Internet

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for example

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R_F_C_ one was written in nineteen
sixty-nine a momentous milestone in the

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path that leads to the Internet as we
know it today

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since then there have been more than six
thousand request for comments, many that

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lead to the Internet standards that
enable and facilitate everyday activity

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such as

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today more than three million emails are
sent every second

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chat and videoconferencing

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it is estimated that by twenty thirteen
seventy five percent of all

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organizations will use teleconferencing
to do everyday business

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downloads

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mobile devices alone download millions
of apps a day,

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and of course

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all of this has to be done securely

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and that takes even more open Internet
standards

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what's the next big Internet thing?

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The answer may depend on the next big
idea

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and all the R_F_Cs that describe it.

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Let's take a look at why open standards
for the Internet are so important

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by exploring something we all do
everyday, email.

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Today, your mailing your grandmother to
congratulate her on her

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latest skydive.

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Your words seemingly fly from your
laptop to her's in mere milliseconds.

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What really happens

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is your email gets minced into packets
of information

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takes one of several routes to your
email server

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then to your grandmother's email server
and almost magically gets reassembled on

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your grandmother's computer

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but it's not magic

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it's open standards.

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The simple act of emailing requires many
open standards to recognize parse,

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transport, route,

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connect, deliver

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and display your message

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There has to be some protocol that lets
computers, devices, and networks talk to

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each other

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and work together.

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For example you're on a pc

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your grandmother's on a mac

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different devices

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different platforms, different networks

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Thanks to R_F_Cs and open standards
however,

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they all speak Internet.

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Between nineteen seventy one and twenty
eleven, there've been more than four

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hundred R_F_Cs outlining the
task of email

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pages and pages of documents at
standards and Internet expertise

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that make it possible to do something we
all take for granted

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two hundred eighty four

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billion times a day.

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Now consider that the bulk of this work
was accomplished by volunteers

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people who had the technical expertise
and dedication

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to donate their time and energy to
improve the Internet for all of us

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to use,

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share,

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play,

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and learn

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on our

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Internet.

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To learn more

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please go to the internet society at
w_w_w_ dot internet society dot o_r_g