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Posted at 9:09 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Reminder: What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet

By Rob Pegoraro

Today's front page features a story by me and Joby Warrick about the persistence of WikiLeaks. If you don't have time to read it, the short version of it appears in the headline above.

That should not be a new lesson to those in the entertainment industry who have tried to scrub the Net of copies of songs, TV shows and movies distributed without permission. But people seem compelled to learn it anew in every new industry and every few months.

It's even more true in the case of WikiLeaks. I doubt people feel a moral imperative to share a new Hollywood release, but many Web users do when government documents are involved (even if a lot of them don't show any evidence of wrongdoing). You can knock a site offline for at least a few hours or days, but there's no magic virus you can upload that will erase the data it distributed--or even stop it from resurfacing at a new host.

We can't even get rid of spam and malware sites, and nobody--at least, no sane and well-adjusted individual--will testify to their usefulness.

As an aside: My biggest contribution to today's story consisted of e-mailing a few Internet experts for a quote or two about the odds of booting WikiLeaks from the Internet. That's a normal part of reporting any story on a technical topic, but when it comes to the online world you don't have to find a historian or a researcher; you can ask somebody who helped invent the whole thing. (The piece quotes Vint Cerf, co-author of the Net's TCP/IP language, and Paul Vixie, who wrote some of its standard-setting documents and networking applications.) It's a privilege, journalistically speaking, to be around at this time.

By Rob Pegoraro  | December 9, 2010; 9:09 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture, Policy and politics  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hackers knock MasterCard, Visa offline for WikiLeaks cutoff (updated)
Next: Apple ups some iTunes song previews to 90 seconds


Did you set a personal record for most comments with this article?

Posted by: slar | December 10, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr Pegoraro
To a considerable degree, your perceptions regarding and mine differ considerably on he origins of TCP/IP.
When ARPA was planning for standardized software to provide the connectivity for the devices that would be envisioned for the replacement of ARPANET the software was originally an all in one program called Transmission Control Protocol.
TCP was to be able to: first be able to manage the 'local loop'. Ethernet would be the medium. Each device would contain both Ethernet and TCP software, this included both personal devices (workstations) and support devices (servers). A TCP subset would control ONLY the 'local loop' connected devices.
Connectivity between 'local loops' would provide the equivalent ofan Internet.
The fundamentally significant complexity of Internet connectivity caused the APRPA designers what would turn out to be an insurmountable problem if the architecture was to remain within the TCP construct. For example: the local loop had a small Ethernet constrained address space, the routing of functionality within that space was also limited to support only small community......
Access outside the 'local loop' required a massive address space to be able to connect what was envisioned as thousands of local loops' Essentially, the originally conceived ARPA TCP architecture turned out to be incapable of performing both actions within the same architecture and specifications.
Only one prototype ARPA-like configuration existed that had sufficient network mass that could be used to provide the environment to serve as a practical real world to be used as a valid test and control environment.
The Xerox PARC implementation was the only critical mass test base available. PARC had several hundred devices in several hundred 'local loops' in an actual production like environment. Additionally, PARC had a tested and working interconnect that extended both nationally and internationally .
PARC researchers had concluded that the software that connected local devices required a architecturally different software solutions.
ARPA accepted that conclusion and modified TCP to include what was the Internet Protocol--IP.
In all respect to Vincent Cerf, he may be attributed the title of Father of TCP/IP, but the actual technical fundamentals. and architecture were the tangible results of close co-operation of PARC and ARPA. As to "inventing the whole thing", it is my perception that this attribution is in the myth category.
There are public domain documents that support my perception.
For example: PARC scientists had numerous heated discussions regarding the size of the original prototype IP address space. Initially, millions were agreed on; today IPv6 is in the trillions.
Your articles conclusion is correct. The Internet was original envisioned to be self perpetuating and immune to direct control by anyone.
It would be nice if you were to acknowledge the contributions of PARC at some time


Posted by: joelkruissink | December 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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