Next-Gen Internet Launched at USC Stevens Inst.

Contributing Writer

While the current world wide web is migrating over to IPv6 before surfers finally come to a screeching halt at The End of the Internet, the next generation Internet has reportedly launched on Wednesday at the University of Southern California's Stevens Institute for Innovation. The launch took place during Aram Sinnreich's TEDx presentation at the Institute.

Sinnreich, an assistant professor at Rutgers University's School of Communication and Information who earned a doctorate from the USC Annenberg School in 2007, envisions a new internet that uses mesh networking to produce a stable, ad hoc, global wireless network in which each user is a router, server and client combined. No single state or organization can effectively censor or surveil the population on a broad scale.

"Although the Internet is highly decentralized in its social patterns, its technical and regulatory foundations are extremely hierarchical," Sinnreich told the audience. "We are going to create a new communications platform based on existing Internet protocols, but with a decentralized infrastructure free of the bottlenecks that plague the current system."

The new Internet-- called MondoNet-- follows ten primary principles: decentralized, universally accessible, censor-proof, surveillance-proof, secure, scalable, permanent, fast (enough), independent and evolvable. Cuing one of those principles during his speech, Sinnreich referenced to both Iran and Egypt, and how the Internet was shut down to prevent the flow of information virtually traveling in and out of their borders. This type of repression won't take place on the new Internet.

"Given the centrality of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to these emerging changes in our social, cultural, and political landscapes, and the oft-invoked observation that “code is law,” it is essential that we develop and maintain a communications infrastructure that will enable individuals and communities (especially those in danger of political repression) to participate and contribute fully and actively to the public sphere, and to communicate confidently in private," states the MondoNet wiki.

Sinnreich and his team have reportedly developed a set of "social specifications" describing the functionalities required of MondoNet. The team is currently in the process of mapping these specifications to open technological platforms, and plans to offer an open environment similar to Linux and Wikimedia so that developers across the globe can contribute to its evolution.

To see Sinnreich's speech, check out the video here. To read a draft version of the full MondoNet initiative, the PDF file can be accessed here.