Globally, the US is loosing it’s standing as a world leader in technology, due to the NSA weakening the internet by trying to make people feel secure when they are not. This is not idle rhetoric, like China’s sabre rattling over the debt ceiling. This is a big change.
A little history to start out: Nobody can compete with America technologically. We invented the lightbulb, the power grid, the assembly line, the phone system and the internet. The only thing we do better than inventing useful technologies is rock ‘n roll. It only makes sense that the groups that regulate the internet would be based in America, because the inventors of the internet were in America when they built it. When they formed these regulation committees they gave the US government certain oversight privileges that aren’t given to other countries, because not only were the people involved in the US at the time, much of the invention was funded by the US government.
That free ride, where the US gets oversight privileges without a fight, is now over for the US Government. The IETF, ICANN, the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Society and the W3 Consortium held a huge meeting in Uruguay last week, where they came out with a statement saying that they are abandoning their reliance on the US government. This is a massive, historical change. It’s happening because of the NSA and other big spying operations overreaching to the point where they have weakened the entire internet.
I know that sounds hyperbolic, so don’t take my word for it. Here is an ‘interview’ with Mark McCahill, where he explains the situation:
“The NSA and GCHQ have been intentionally gimping the crypto standards for the Internet, strong arming IT vendors into releasing products with security-defeating backdoors, and running man-in-the middle attacks. This sort of thing destroys the foundations of trust and commerce on the Internet. It is so bad that Bruce Schneier – one of the gods of cryptography – sent out the bat signal last week. Bruce is calling for the November IETF internet standards meeting to hold an emergency session to figure out how to fix what the NSA has broken. It’s time to take the Internet back.”
For those of you who don’t know this, Mark McCahill is Pixeleen Mistrial (in SecondLife people have fun with personas). Mark invented gopher, hyperlinks and the email interface we all know and love. He knows what he’s talking about.
The world is moving to turn their back on us both technologically and economically, and it’s really all our fault. We keep electing incompetent, malicious corporate raiders who set up agencies like the NSA. We need to find a way to hold our politicians accountable for this kind of reckless endangerment of the world’s information.