Re: Internet 2020 Goals

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Mon, 19 May 2014 01:28 UTC

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Date: Sun, 18 May 2014 21:28:24 -0400
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Subject: Re: Internet 2020 Goals
From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
To: Ofer Inbar <>
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On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 10:59 PM, Ofer Inbar <> wrote:
> I'd propose a goal that I think is familiar to people on this list,
> and has probably been stated in various forms over the years.  Your
> goals touch on it a bit, but none of them quite exactly say it:
> The Internet isn't just for everyone to use, but also, the Internet is
> for all of its "users" to *develop*.  The Internet is for participants.
> Which means an Internet that welcomes, invites, and has as few
> barriers as possible, to people contributing.

I think that gets to the heart of the matter.

Security and Access are uncontroversial. Every government wants them.
They might want security with a hole in it that allows them to violate
users but they don't want anyone else having that power over their

Autonomy is the goal that gives authoritarians of every stripe
sleepless nights. They describe the Internet as a 'failed state'
because it gives users autonomy.

It is also a rather better description of the goals of IETF than

As of this weekend I have 8 light switches and three thermostats under
IP based control. They all interoperate but the protocols that they
talk are opaque and undocumented.

One consequence of this is that the Revolv hub I have is pretty
useless because the only programming model supported is via an iphone
app. And the user interface is tedious and just not up to the level of
abstraction required. There is no way to say 'turn off all the devices
when I go out'. I have to hand code every action for every event.

Now lets imagine if Google/Nest had started by making customer
autonomy a goal rather than trying the MBA strategy of 'make your
customers dependent on you'. If Nest had started with that in mind
they would have given me a documented API that I can use to control my
thermostats and to send events when people are detected in a
particular room.

Now maybe one person in 1000 would use that API. But one of the people
who did might develop the unexpected piece of code that takes the
whole home automation thing to the next level.

Autonomy seems to me to be at the heart of what the open source
movement is really about and the 'maker' scene that has established a
Technology and Crafts movement that has remarkable echoes of the
Victorian Arts and Crafts movement. I think Ruskin would be quite at
home reviewing steampunk art.