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What the Net Did Next

During this slow and long lull of domain name policy and ICANN related news stories, I thought it would be a good time to bring an article by BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward to the attention of the CircleID community. In it, ICANN Chairman of the Board Vint Cerf reflects on the history of the Internet and his involvement as somewhat of a "midwife," rather than the "father" title he doesn't like. He also looks to the future and identifies two key, fundamental changes that will shape the next stage of the Internet. As he puts it, they are VoIP and ENUM.

"You are going to see a fairly dramatic increase in services riding on top of basic Internet infrastructure," he said, "You will see more and more layers of functionality showing up in the net."

The ENUM initiative, which has been discussed briefly and occasionally on ICANNWatch in the past, attempts to turn phone numbers into net addresses and give people a universal way of contacting someone. On ENUM, Cerf quips, "It allows you to take a domain name and map it into whatever ID space you want to," he said, "I think that's a sleeping giant because it allows you to escape the bonds of the DNS and move into new naming spaces that have very different characteristics."

It's a fascinating article on a variety of issues and gives you a great sense of where such an Internet visionary and icon stands. It's a bit on the lighter side, but hey, it's New Year's Day. And lastly, in classic Cerf style, he ends with a philosophical metaphor. "If you have the ivory tower view that the Internet is good only if everything on it is good you are mistaken. The Internet is a reflection of our society and that mirror is going to be reflecting what we see," he said. "If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society."

By Doug Mehus, Personal Banker
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Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Enum, ICANN, Telecom, VoIP
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Vinton Cerf, Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet

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