"No Kahn do"
By Andrew Orlowski
Published Thursday 18th January 2007 21:19 GMT
Robert Kahn, the most senior figure in the development of the internet, has
delivered a strong warning against "Net Neutrality" legislation.
Speaking to an audience at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View,
California at an event held in his honour, Kahn warned against legislation that
inhibited experimentation and innovation where it was needed.
Kahn rejected the term "Net Neutrality", calling it "a slogan". He cautioned
against dogmatic views of network architecture, saying the need for
experimentation at the edges shouldn't come at the expense of improvements
elsewhere in the network.
(Kahn gently reminded his audience that the internet was really about
interconnecting networks, a point often lost today).
"If the goal is to encourage people to build new capabilities, then the party
that takes the lead is probably only going to have it on their net to start
with and it's not going to be on anyone else's net. You want to incentivize
people to innovate, and they're going to innovate on their own nets or a few
"I am totally opposed to mandating that nothing interesting can happen inside
the net," he said.
So called "Neutrality" legislation posed more of a danger than fragmentation,
With the exception of Google's man in Washington DC, Vint Cerf (with whom Kahn
developed TCP/IP), most of the senior engineers responsible for developing the
packet switched internetworking of today oppose "Neutrality" legislation. Dave
Farber, often called the grandfather of the internet, has been the most
Engineers fear rash legislation would inhibit the ability of systems engineers
to improve latency and jitter issues needed to move data at speed.
"The internet is still pretty fragile today," said Kahn.
[snipped Kahn's bio, look it up if you don't believe he knows his stuff]
This is a link to video of the lecture referenced (1 hr. 55 min.):
I thought I could organize freedom, how very
Scandinavian of me. ...Bjk