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The Internet's co-designer: "It's Every Man for Himself"

Thanks to the Guardian for an illuminating and not-to-be-missed interview with one of the two designers of the Internet, Google's Vint Cerf, who also  served as the first President of the Internet Society, and as a past Chairman of ICANN.

Mr. Cerf's take on the prospects for cleaning up the Internet: 

  • "It's every man for himself," he says, grinning. "In the end, it seems every machine has to defend itself. The internet was designed that way."  
  • "...every machine that can be compromised is a potential hazard. A machine that was OK yesterday is certainly not OK today: it may have ingested an infected memory stick...."
  • "My bias right now tends to be 'It's every man for himself' - you need to be suspicious whether you're inside the trusted cloud or not, and when it fails, the house of cards tends to collapse."

On the security/privacy flaw inherent in the Internet's design:

  • ..."The idea of a virtual private network was not part of the original design," says Cerf, with a grin. "It was actually an oversight. It didn't occur to me that it would be useful until afterwards."

A tremendous amount to ponder...