Elon University

Keynote – David Farber, Internet Hall of Famer Warns ‘Critical Resources Are Sitting On Top of Systems We Can’t Protect’

IGF USA LogoBrief session description:

Thursday, July 14, 2016 -David Farber, Internet Hall of Fame member and Adjunct Professor of Internet Studies and Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University shared his insights on Internet evolution. You can view highlights on this page or view a full archived video on the following page, beginning at 3:31 into the clip.

Details of the session:

Internet Hall of Famer David Farber spoke briefly about his thoughts on events of the day at IGF-USA and closed with a warning about the need to create viable solutions for current Internet issues, especially those involving trust and security.

Farber, adjunct professor of Internet studies, distinguished career professor of computer science and adjunct professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said the Internet must be secure, but it “was never built to be securable – it was just never designed to be that way.”

He said when you analyze the operations and practices of the many varied companies and services operating globally online, “you realize the security of our software is in pretty bad shape.”

“We’re sitting here with critical resources on top of systems we can’t protect,” he continued. “And I think it’s our duty as people who want a healthy Internet to start paying attention to that. We’re not going to survive by putting chewing gum on it—we’re past that point.”

David Farber Speaking at OGF 2016 PhotoKudos to sessions on trade transparency and broadband competition

Farber said two 2016 IGF-USA sessions in particular stood out to him. “They are going to have a profound effect on the future of the Internet,” he said. The first was titled “Trade Transparency – Opportunities for Input into the Trade Negotiation Process, with Specific Applicability to Internet Issues,” which, he pointed out, focused on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The disconnect between technology and trade policy seems to be especially high,” he said. “Hopefully that will be cured in the future, but that will depend on how fast TPP actually happens.”

Farber recommended people follow the TPP. He said it will have “long-term impacts on how the Internet operates, possibly negatively.”

The second session Farber referenced was “How Better Broadband Benefits Everyone: Competition As a Lever Towards Progress,” which touched on communications technologies’ impacts on economies.

Farber warns VR and AR may change the Internet world quickly, and soon

“I think the underlying assumption has been that what we have today will be essentially what we have in the future,” he said. He said that train of thought is dangerous, adding, “We have to understand that we are potentially at the edge of a very rapid change in parts of the Internet.”

Advances in the virtual reality world, he said, will have a “profound impact” on consumers and corporations, among other things.

He said the sessions offered new information tying into various controversies, including the ICANN/IANA transition and the controversy about proposed anti-encryption legislation. He added that the panels were “personally very profitable.”

“I’m not going to go near discussing ICANN today,” he smiled, leading to a smattering of audience laughter in reference to a heated afternoon session over ICANN and the IANA transition.

“I really enjoyed this and found it much better than the Global IGFs that I have attended in the past,” Farber said, pointing out that smaller groups can sometimes unearth different content than large ones.

– By Christina Elias

Click here to return to IGF-USA 2016 homepage.

The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at IGF-USA 2016 included the following Elon University School of Communications students, staff and faculty:

Bryan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Bryan Baker, Elizabeth Bilka, Ashley Bohle, Courtney Campbell, Colin Donohue, Melissa Douglas, Mackenzie Dunn, Maya Eaglin, Christina Elias, Rachel Ellis, Caroline Hartshorn, Paul LeBlanc, Emmanuel Morgan, Joey Nappa, Diego Pineda Davila, Alyssa Potter, Kailey Tracy, Andrew Steinitz, Anna Zwingelberg