ILaw 2003
July 08, 2003
ILAW 2003 - Day 1 - June 30, 2003 - AM 1 of 2 - Jonathan Zittrain - Internet Technologies And Why They Matter

This first half of the Monday morning's session is the only session of the conference that I wasn't able to capture on video.

(I hadn't asked if it was OK yet and I felt kind of funny just showing up with a camera.)

Below are my notes...

Notes from the ILaw Conference - June 30, 2003

So I've brought my camera, but I'm sort of waiting for the right time to bust it out.

(Note: since I first wrote this, Larry has given me the OK to tape. So the rest of the sessions will be recorded.)

Until then, you probably want to read Donna's notes, but I'm also going to offer some of my own.

Jonathan Zittrain

Internet Technologies and Why They Matter

I'm prefacing Zittrain's slide language or quotes from his mouth with a "-" to separate them from my notes.

-Code is a powerful form of regulation
-it's subtle
-can't tell when it's regulating you

The cops were actually directing traffic at the new Crispy Creams opening in Mass.
(Shows where their priorities are.)

-brooks little resistance from the herd


-Some current questions:
-Why is it hard to trace people on the Net?
-Why is video streaming such a pain?
-Why are we so vulnerable to viruses and hacks?

-IETF "Hourglass" Architecture (CTSB, NRC, "The Internet's Coming of Age" (2001)

-"any task" - "email WWW phone...", SMTP HTTP RTP, TCP, UDP
-IP (in the middle)
-"any medium" -ethernet PPP, CSMA async sonet..., copper fiber radio

Kept the physical infrastructure out of the loop on purpose. The people that do wires can do that. Medium independent for a wide range of media.

At the top of the hourglass are the "applications." Network-aware applications. The point was to allow any kind of application to come about without having to know anything special about the network.

The IETF hums for rough consensus. We did a hum in the room on whether or not we understood what he was saying so far so we could see such a strategy in action.

So no force of law, but an agreement among technologists.

-W3C - how HTML was born.

-The birth of Gnutella
-"Network Neighborhood On Steroids"

-The lesson of the Internet is that efficiency is not the primary consideration. Ability to grow and adapt to changing requirements is the primary consideration.
-This makes simplicity and uniformity ....(ack! he switched get the message)

Jon Postel - IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

-Amish barnraising theory of packet transport
-your packet goes to an ISP
-ISP might have an ISP
-this goes on with the russian dolls
-routing packets is just the neighborly thing to do
-you pass on mail with your router even if it isn't for you
-no one to complain to when mail doesn't make it
-persistent problem today

-video streaming model

Lisa Reminds you guys to always download my movies and not try to stream them. Even on a T1 :-)

routers know where to send everything...
-not like fed ex, where everything goes through atlanta.
-this is why the IP addresses are in blocks

different ranges are in different parts of the world so the routers don't have to know exactly where everthing is

-this is why IP addresses are "non-portable"

Now Jonathan is trying to check an email to trace where it came from

So he's starting out with one of those fake AOL emails that tell you to enter your credit card information.

He's looking up the IP address (after getting it from the email header using "traceroute" at the command line)

MAPS is a list of "bad" email IP distributors -- so email administrators can use to "blackhole" certain blocks.

He doesn't get that far. Manages to figure out it was sent from Bulgaria.

Question: How do you get connected to the MAPS?

Answer: If you are an ISP, MAPS for a small fee, will provide you with this service.
You can't just get there whole list. You have to ask an address at a time.

-"You cannot build a corporate network out of TCP/IP." - IBM 1992

-What's Missing?
-quality of service
-accounting and traffic management
-encryption and security

-accounting and traffic management

who pays for what? should it be like the telephone where "caller pays?" very difficult to get a business model.
who's benefiting who more?

-encryption and security

This was something that either relies on the good graces of others...
Routers had to learn to deal with misconfigured computers.

One solution is "end to end." Presume the network will be open. That way you don't have to trust everybody along with way.


Knowing that the bucket contents you got came from the place you think it came from
a way to let you know when tampering has taken place (can't prevent it ahead of time)

Question: what does this system cost? How much does the internet cost?

Answer: I have no earthly idea.

Question: How bout equipment costs?

Answer: Well, routers aren't cheap... This is a tough question because it's such a decentralized network.

Graham Freeman - My van can connect to the internet when I flick a switch for about $1500...(paraphrased)

Terry Fisher: Could you say a little bit more about what happens in the Cloud?
(paraphrase - we started out with the Amish and ended up talking about "tier 1 providers." how'd we get there (in the discussion)?

Answer: You're right that there's only a handful of Tier 1 internet providers...

Question: How does the bucket brigade work?

Answer: Roughly speakin the network topology maps on to the geography.
(paraphrase) AOL is the Fed Ex of the internet in that, on dialup, everything goes through a central connection.

Question: is there "smart routing"? - routing that takes in to account when a server is busy(paraphrased)
Barbara Roseman ICANN -
Before I was with ICANN I was with "Global Crossing", one of those T1s that didn't disappear.
(paraphrased) Yes there are paths (on the same network) that they know to take for certain geo areas.

So not over the internet, but within a network you might configure your routers in this way.

Questions: I was hoping you could talk more about the physical lines...

Answers: I'm sorry, security considerations stop me from doing that....(chuckles)
(para) the hourglass makes that transparent (basically) - has "skitter" graphs.

My question: Does Sealand (link) function as a Mae West of sorts?

Answer (para) - no not at all. It's just a data store.

question: so it could actually put more strain on the network?

answer (para) - yes they have to buy their connectiving from someone else...

Encryption in 3 easy steps:

1. "Hello" (is the message) - convert the letters to numbers

2. share password ahead of time with the person receiving the message

H 8 I 9 17
E 5 L12 17
L 12 A 1 13
L 12 W 23 35
0 15 Z 26 41

this is uncrackable.

-old style way of encrypting stuff.
-key has to be same length as original data.
we had to get together secretly and share the key first.

Enter "Pubic Key Encryption"

-Task is to find a one-way function (computationally speaking - function where it is really easy to start one thing and get to another), but for which (computationally speaking) it is hard to do the reverse.
-multiply like lightning, but factor only slowly

-find a one way function
-generate two related keys of one person's use
-declare one key "public key" and the other one "private"

-data + public key = garbage no one can read by no one except someone who has your private key too.

Might want to use your dig signature and PGP key to encrypt and vouch for a message.

-Digital Signature - personal to the very thing being encrypted
-To digitally sign something - to vouch for it "could have only been generated by someone who has access to my private key"

Last question: why viruses so hard?

PC ready to run software.

Most viruses just want to replicate, not erase your hard drive. These are like missles without payloads. The damage to the network is from being clogged up.

Primary reason is that "general purpose computing devices" are meant to run anything, so, they do.

(para nutshell) Because software is coming from so many sources. Sometimes the software can't work with each other.

End of notes for this session -- and end of all notes for me because Larry said I can video the rest of it!

(I actually do take notes later...)

Posted by Lisa at July 08, 2003 11:10 AM | TrackBack
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