Ars Technica quotes Cyber Statecraft Initiative Director Jason Healey on the future of the internet and the danger that it could become the next failed state:
“If we think our kids and grandkids are going to have as awesome and free an Internet as the one we have, we really have to look at why we think that,” Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council of the United States, told Ars.
The alternative futures for the Internet are not pretty. In presentations at multiple security conferences, Healey has suggested that the Internet could “start to look like Somalia”—a failed state where security is impossible, going about daily life is hazardous, and armed camps openly wage war over the network.
Healey’s analysis has been reinforced by events over the past two years: record data breaches, zero-day vulnerabilities released that affected a preponderance of Internet services, and visibility into the vast state surveillance of the Internet. The Internet has been “weaponized,” not just by the NSA and its foreign counterparts but by other states and Internet crime organizations. A thriving market for vulnerabilities attracts the bright and ambitious to work on discovering “zero days” for profit.
While a total breakdown of the Internet is unlikely, Healey and others believe that it’s nearly as unlikely that today’s status quo can be sustained. Other possible scenarios wouldn’t bring networked life to its knees, but they all would make the Internet a very different “place” than it is today.