Internet Robustness

This project will develop, test and pilot technologies to deliver on the promise of the URL, or "Uniform Resource Locator": that information placed online can remain there, even amidst network or endpoint disruptions. The project's approach is to enable operators of Web servers to enter easily into mutual aid arrangements, such as mirroring other participants' content and having the deed reciprocated, so that the failure of any one participant to remain online allows others to preserve what was there. This project is designed to improve the resiliency and robustness of the Web in a wide variety of Internet contexts around the world, offering an alternative route to Web content in the event of intentional blocking, hacking or denial of service attacks, or unintentional hosting or server failures. The project's ultimate aim is to make for a more robust and stable Web, from Silicon Valley to London to Beijing to Tehran. more >

This project will develop, test and pilot technologies to deliver on the promise of the URL, or "Uniform Resource Locator": that information placed online can remain there, even amidst network or endpoint disruptions. The project's approach is to enable operators of Web servers to enter easily into mutual aid arrangements, such as mirroring other participants' content and having the deed reciprocated, so that the failure of any one participant to remain online allows others to preserve what was there. This project is designed to improve the resiliency and robustness of the Web in a wide variety of Internet contexts around the world, offering an alternative route to Web content in the event of intentional blocking, hacking or denial of service attacks, or unintentional hosting or server failures. The project's ultimate aim is to make for a more robust and stable Web, from Silicon Valley to London to Beijing to Tehran.

This project will be led by Principal Investigator Jonathan Zittrain, and builds on his proposal for a mutual aid treaty for the Internet that would enable operators of Web servers to enter easily into mutually beneficial agreements that ultimately bolster the robustness of the entire Web.  In creating a more resilient web, Internet Robustness also aims to mitigate risks associated with increasing centralization of online content. More and more, just a handful of centralized entities host information online, despite the fact that greater online centralization (be it public or private) creates greater vulnerability because there are fewer “choke points” at which to restrict access to Web content. The more that a system can provide numerous routes to access information, even in the face of filtering or blockages, the more all people can freely share that information.Motivated by the importance of a robust and resilient Internet and inspired by a mutual aid approach, the Internet Robustness project will continue to assess existing approaches to mirroring content, building on work completed by students from the 2011-2012 Ideas for a Better InternetMirror As You Link group, which  also developed working code for an  extension to allow mirroring of Wordpress blogs. Over the course of this three-year project, the Berkman Center team will conduct research to identify the best possible technical alternatives for the system, build its technical infrastructure and code base, and thoroughly test the system with pilot communities, in anticipation of broader future roll-out.

This project complements and builds on a number of research projects at the Berkman Center, including our long-standing research effort on technical filtering and internet controls as part of the OpenNet Initiative, the Herdict project, which identifies filtered content through crowd-sourced methods and online tools, studies of DDoS attacks against independent media and human rights sites, as well as circumvention tool evaluation reports.


Sponsors

Subscribe

Syndicate content

Last updated March 25, 2014