The road to the Internet, the blockchain is back

Source, compilation: 31QU

50 years ago, on October 29, 1969, the world's first message was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the Stanford Research Institute. Before the network crashed, the researchers only typed the first two digits of the word "login", so the message itself is just two letters "Lo".

This insignificant moment is considered to be the moment when the Internet was born.

Since then, the community and scientists have collaborated under the belief of “morality, openness, trust, freedom, and sharing” and the Internet has flourished.

But it gradually became qualitative. It was used as a machine to make money. Advertisers spam spam at low cost, Internet companies invade privacy, malicious participants launch cyber attacks, criminals use the Internet to launder money, and the government even uses advanced technology to strengthen Control and weaken democracy.

We are in a moment when we need to change the above issues.

At this time, the blockchain appeared – its decentralization, non-tampering, privacy protection and other features let us see hope.

(The author of this article is Leonard Kleinrock, who holds a Ph.D. in MIT and is currently a professor of computer science at the UCLA Samuel Institute of Engineering. He participated in the development of the Internet in the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects in the 1970s and witnessed the history of the Internet. Send a message.)

Image source: Rafe Swan / Getty Images/Cultura RF

Scientists have inadvertently created a perfect model that allows the "dark" side of the Internet to spread like a virus, and everyone can reach millions of people through cheap and anonymous ways.

As a scientist, I was young when I was working on an emerging invention (later called the "Internet"). The cultural spirit it created was often defined as: moral, open, trustworthy, free, shared. . No one knows where our research will go, but these words and principles are our beacons.

What we didn't expect was that the dark side of the Internet would develop so fiercely, and it was not expected that it would be so urgently needed to be repaired.

How does it change from good to bad?

In the early 1960s, when I was pursuing my Ph.D. at MIT (MIT), I realized that it was necessary to create a mathematical theory for the network to allow different computers to communicate with each other. Then in the 1970s, the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency – in response to the artificial satellite program of the former Soviet Union, a research funding department established by the US Department of Defense – decided to develop a network based on my research to allow their computer research. The center can collaborate remotely.

My UCLA computer lab was selected as the first node of the network. 50 years ago – October 29, 1969 – sent from UCLA to Stanford Research Institute, the short "Lo" became the first Internet news. Before the network crashed, we played the first two letters of "login".

In the communication network composed of two computers, this insignificant moment is considered to be the moment when the Internet was born.

In its first 25 years, the user community, like scientists, followed the same positive principle that the Internet grew rapidly and organically. As a scientist, we neither retain the patent rights of this network technology nor claim its private ownership. We are nerds in this circle, busy with the challenges of developing new technologies that benefit the world.

Around 1994, with the launch of many .com websites, the development of the Internet began to change with each passing day. The speed of the network channel was upgraded to Gigabit, and the World Wide Web entered thousands of households. In the same year, Amazon was founded, and the first commercial web browser, Netscape, was released.

On April 12, 1994, there was a significant “ordinary” moment on the day: the first large-scale circulation of spam messages was delivered on the Internet – a shameless advertisement. The general reaction in the academic world is: "How dare they do this?" Our great invention, a research network with infinite computing power, was hijacked to promote… detergent.

By 1995, there were 50 million users worldwide. There are some things in the business world that we didn't foresee: the Internet can be a powerful shopping machine, a gossip room, an entertainment channel and a social club. The Internet suddenly became a machine that made money.

As profit motives dominate the Internet, the nature of innovation has gradually changed. Avoiding risks dominates the direction of technological progress, and we no longer pursue “moon landing”. However, the speed of technological advancement is very slow – it comes from "designing a Bluetooth connection with a speed of 5%" instead of "making me an internet." A once joyful community has become full of competition, confrontation and extremism.

Next, with the end of the millennium, our revolution has seen a more disturbing turn, and we are still working hard to solve this problem today.

While letting everyone suddenly and inexpensively and anonymously reach millions of people, it inadvertently creates a perfect model that makes the "dark" face spread like a virus in the world. Today, more than 50% of emails are spam, and there are more serious problems – leading to rampant denial of service attacks by key financial institutions and malicious botnet attacks that disrupt critical infrastructure sectors.

Other dangerous players, such as nations and countries, began to appear on the stage around 2010, when the Stuxnet malware appeared. Criminal groups realize that the Internet can be used for international money laundering, and extremists have found the Internet to be a loudspeaker that facilitates their radical speech. In addition, the government uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, facial recognition, biometrics and other advanced technologies to weaken democratic institutions.

As firewalls emerge in national networks, the Balkanization of the Internet is likely to be achieved.

We are willing to work hard to bring the Internet back to its moral roots. However, this is a complex challenge that requires the joint efforts of the parties, almost everyone involved.

We should put pressure on government officials and entities to call for more active regulation of the Internet and to rule out Internet abuse as cyberattacks, data breaches and privacy violations. Governments also need to provide a forum to bring together the parties to solve the problem.

Citizen users want to make the site more accountable. When was the last time a website asked which privacy policy you wanted to adopt? I guess the answer is "There has never been such a thing." In fact, you should be able to clearly express your preferred privacy policy and reject sites that do not meet your criteria. This means that the site should provide you with a customized privacy policy that they should have done because they have customized the ads you see. The website should also be responsible for any infringement of privacy caused by its services.

Scientists want to create more advanced encryption methods that prevent perpetrators from using stolen databases to protect personal privacy. We are investigating technologies that hide the original and destination addresses when transferring data across the network, thereby reducing the value captured in network traffic. Technology that supports Bitcoin and other digital currencies—blockchain—it also provides an irrefutable, untamperable data book.

If we work together and work hard to change, it is still possible to return to the Internet age I know.