In the movie “The Matrix” humanity has created intelligent machines, soon after a war brakes out and the machines win. One of the strategies in the war against the machines was to scorch the skies as the machines where mainly solar powered. In order to sustain themselves the machines used humans as batteries connected to a computer system where they lived out their lives in a virtual reality, oblivious to how they where used and later disposed of when they eventually die.
In this movie there are people who have realized how they are controlled by the system and has broken free. They liberate others and offer them a choice, either take the blue pill and continue to live out their lives in ignorance or take the red pill, live in the real world and help change it into a better place.
IPV4/V6: says who we are
Whenever you connect to the internet you connect trough a Internet Service Provider (ISP). As you do so you are assigned a unique IP address either randomly or static. If you have been assigned a IPV4 address it would look something like this: 126.96.36.199.
This is not very readable for humans and a IPV6 (2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334) is even worse!
We could bypass ISP by building a decentralized network of WIFI nodes where each node is connected to one or more node in the network and each node may have zero or more users connected to it by WIFI. All users connected to this network would be able to communicate with eachother and if any node in the network would be connected to the internet, every one would have access to it.
A node in this network could be a dekstop, laptop or whatever computer with WIFI enabled and the right software. You could build one using a £35 Bifferboard, just add a WIFI dongle and some software.
DNS: controls who we are
The solution is to map a IP address to something more readable, instead of printing 188.8.131.52 on your business cards you can print www.google.com
So it is basically the same idea that your social security number is a unique identifier for you as a individual but your name is how you are known to others.
How this mapping is done today is via the DNS system, if you register www.something.com and point it to 127.0.0.1 this is registered in the root DNS system managed by IANA and then replicated across other DNS nodes like the ones managed by your ISP.
This must mean that whoever is in a position to excerpt control over IANA basically has the power to census the internet on a fundamental level.
Last I checked IANA is managed by ICANN that is based in the USA which means that the operate beneath said nations set of laws (and whatever state). This in turn means that control over all domains in the world rests with one nation and relies on their good will.
There are already ideas on how to leave DNS and instead use a decentralized system where there are no ownership of domains, instead you are who the majority agrees upon you are.
Certificate Authority: provides basic security, for a price
A SSL certificate basically provides you with two things.
- Authentication: wheres the certificate certifies to your visitor that you are who you claim to be.
- Integrity: wheres the traffic between you and the client is encrypted
A Certificate Authority is whoever sells you the certificate, browser maintains a list of CA’s so whenever you navigate to a website with https it verifies the website certificate against said list. If you want to secure your website with a certificate be prepared that you may pay a hefty price. Why it is so expensive is because they can.
There is no way to just enable encrypted traffic without registering with a CA (or make it difficult to use your service) which in turn means that our integrity was never a priority when they laid the foundation of the the internet. I like to think about how we time and time again fail to measure something like time, eventually we just give up, make odd/even numbers of days for each month and throw in leap years just to keep everything from falling apart. I feel the same way about the fundamentals of the world wide web.
DNS and CA is the glue of the world wide web and also the whip & chain used to moderate it. In a decentralized name lookup system, certificates could be used to verify authenticity of the service if needed. A non profit CA could be established to ensure security and integrity for all.
In the movie “The Matrix” there are individuals that know all about how they are used by the machines but still they want to go back into the virtual world and forget. I believe this behavior is the same with internet users, why change something that works and why should we care as long as I can check Facebook every now and then?
What is the matrix you ask? you are looking at it right now.