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The Global Internet Crisis of 2005

In 2005 The Internet Broke (in case you missed that.) By 2005 it was widely recognized by the world’s top Internet engineers, the top institutes of academic research, and the US Government that the foundational infrastructure of the Global Internet was rapidly crumbling and would soon exceed its functional capacity with potentially catastrophic consequences.

“The Net’s basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It’s time for a clean-slate approach.” – MIT’s David D. Clark – December 2005.

In 2005 the internet was very inefficient (to put it mildly). A huge portion of the internet had become unusable for sending information such as emails, websites, pictures, music and video, due to timing conflicts and other structural deficiencies causing crippling transmission delays among the large internet servers spanning the globe. Internet engineers called this the ossification of the Internet.

This crisis arose because the Internet’s original designers failed to anticipate just how much humanity would come to demand from the internet, and come to depend on it. In order for the Internet to survive, the very foundation of the Internet would need to be redesigned and rebuilt.

What happened next is the true story of how this global catastrophe was averted and how you never even knew it happened…

A Tiny Colorado Engineering Company Solved It . . .

Almost a decade earlier, a tiny engineering company in Colorado did foresee these very problems. They came up with a grand plan – a new and faster, more capable, and more efficient design for the Internet they named Copernicus2.

The Copernicus2 architecture radically increased the speed and capacity of the Internet by removing the unnecessary, bloated, inefficient timing layer that was clogging up the traffic, squandering the bandwidth, and slowing everything down.

In it’s place the Copernicus2 design utilized the timing signals emanating from atomic clocks on GPS Satellites to directly synchronize the flow of the data among the internet servers at the core – the so-called “Backbone” of the web.

The owners of Copernicus2 intended that this new design would enable the Internet Backbone to operate in Real Time and provide a new, more robust, and more secure foundational infrastructure for the development of a whole new generation of technologies and industries.

They shared their Copernicus2 design with the top Internet engineers, researchers and all of the Big Tech companies of the time.

Because Copernicus2 did openly and publicly share their design (as a US Patent), fortunately for us all, the Internet did not slow to a grinding halt, and the pending catastrophe was prevented.

Instead, the Internet actually sped up exponentially, and an explosion of groundbreaking advancements in science and medicine, artificial intelligence and neural networks, security, financial technologies, manufacturing and military capabilities, and much, much more, were all achieved because this new and faster, more capable, more efficient, and more resilient real-time infrastructure suddenly appeared…

What happened?

Copernicus2 was built, and became an essential and fundamental component of the next-generation global internet we all use today.

How did this happen?

I first contacted Vint Cerf in the fall of 2005 immediately upon reading Vint Cerf: Google’s New Idea Man | WIRED.

Vint Cerf is widely regarded as the first-gen Internet’s original creator.

In 2005 Cerf joined Google as its “Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist”.
Cerf famously proselytizes and promotes the “openness” and “sharing” of ideas, which he calls “permission-less innovation”, as the way of the “Geek Orthodoxy”.

As a hard-core professional techie, I loved the “Geek Orthodoxy” culture that Cerf and Google projected in their early years. For years I used a Google product or service wherever and whenever it was the best “tool for the job”, which was most of the time.

Notwithstanding my general distrust of large corporations, I did believe in Cerf’s apparent mission, and thought that he was trustworthy.

Google’s team of networking engineers were known to be the world’s top experts in the fields of networking and internet engineering.

Also in 2005, Google very publicly announced that it had doubled its cash stockpile to $7 Billion, saying it would use the money for “acquisitions of complementary businesses and technologies”.

With all of its talent and cash on hand, could Google’s team of engineers fix the broken internet? Maybe. But they would need a plan.

While the worlds top internet experts were speaking out publicly, proclaiming that “The Internet Is Broken”, if there was a plan, no one was talking about it. The very apparent consensus was that the world’s experts were collectively engaged in a search for a solution.

I thought that Copernicus2 might be a practicable solution to the crisis, so I reached out to Vint Cerf and openly shared the Copernicus2 design with him the very moment he joined Google. In fact, I sent him the patent itself.

Cerf responded to me within hours that he would have a look at it.

He showed it to others at Google, and I continued to follow up with him about Google’s potential interest in the patent until the spring of 2007.

Since 2005 Vint has been one of my geeky pen pals. Every so often I’d reach out and check in with him. Reliably he would respond within minutes from his Blackberry.

I truly appreciated Vint going out into the world, representing and promoting our shared values as hard-core geeks, and I let him know it. I always wanted to help “The Cause”.

My view of Vint as a leader in the Global Tech Culture remained solid until I began to see indicators that Cerf and Google in fact might have used the patent in building the “Google Spanner” cloud database infrastructure.

I emailed Vint about it…

Vint and I have continued to correspond, and I have repeatedly implored him to challenge my research, and to help me disprove my theory that Google Spanner is in fact an implementation of the Copernicus2 patent.

Instead, he simply sicked the Google lawyers on me.

It’s a shame and a pity that the creator of the first-gen Internet won’t acknowledge a true inventor of the second-gen Internet.

He is Aric Richard Johnson.

I wrote an article about my dealings with Cerf and Google, and my proposal for a partial solution to this pernicious practice of “efficient infringement” gutting all the value out of innovation in the US. You can read it on IP Watchdog.

“The Cause” of the Geek Orthodoxy

I often think about the youth of today who have been the most absorbed and damaged by their activities on social media platforms. They have been our lab rats in this great experiment. I do truly hope that they will be able to heal and gain strength and wisdom from their experiences.

Most people don’t know this, but there is a strict code of conduct in certain places on the internet – on huge swaths of it. These are joyful places where it is easy to feel (and actually be) safe, where everyone is welcomed, and where you can easily find and make new friends to last a lifetime.

People go to these places to get help and find camaraderie, or when they just feel a need to give, or to work in the silent company of others.

Participating is always free. People generally know they can share their thoughts and ideas without fear of repercussions.

You can document and record things for your future self, if you want. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve Googled for a solution to a technical problem only to find my own solution that I had posted years earlier.

This system works because it is based on common sense and the Golden Rule.

People’s most authentic selves seem to naturally and easily emerge in these places. Conflict is rare. The only possible punishment for bad behavior like being mean or abusive, lying, stealing, or trying to take credit for someone else’s work, is being ignored. (We all have our moments, right?) People can be (and are, but not often) banned for being abusive.

In these places, ignoring people somehow actually works(!) I would go as far as to say that in these places, even the (otherwise) monstrous, narcissistic humans among us somehow manage to keep their egos in check and behave kindly, if only to not be ignored.

These places are supremely boring places to those who delight in so many of the cringe-worthy aspects of today’s “social media”. So you just don’t generally encounter people who are attracted to those values and norms.

They are places of social and personal healing and growth, where everyone knows, or is actively learning from their interactions there, that personal progress and a sense of abundance are the natural rewards of acting responsibility.

In these places, random souls from every corner of planet Earth drop in at random times. Notwithstanding this extreme diversity and randomness, the code of conduct is strictly and effectively, yet respectfully, enforced and maintained.

Can you guess how?

Just simple people, from anywhere and everywhere on planet Earth, actively taking personal responsibility, in critical mass. Together, somehow they can maintain and sustain a joyful, productive place with peace and order, over decades.

These places have existed since the inception of the Internet. This is because the code of conduct was started by the original developers of the internet.

These founders and their protégés are still among us, still quietly standing guard in these places. They accompany us, and mentor us, along the now well-traveled, illuminated paths they carved out long ago.

I attend these places daily. I used to take for granted that these places would always be there. But I have grown to realize that they are precious resources, and that the custodians of these places are actually quite special people.

These places – as a category they don’t really have an established name like “Social Media”. Open Source Culture is what some of us call this code of conduct.
I think this culture is what Vint Cerf refers to as the “Geek Orthodoxy”.

A Business Lesson

When someone shares with you a great idea – an idea so great that using it results in huge profits for your company, you should invite that person in for a conversation, thank them, and see if they have any more great ideas. Yes?

Of course. This is “just good business” for the company whether the idea comes from within the company or from externally. Because if someone brings you a great idea then the chances are good that they might just have more up their sleeve.

As a representative of a company, if you treat them right the first time, it increases the chance that they will bring their next golden goose to your door (instead of to your competitor’s) at a time when you might really need one.

To the extent that you ignore or neglect the opportunity to actively demonstrate good faith and fair dealing to a person who delivers a great idea to your very doorstep, you are doing your company a harmful disservice – you squander and waste a future resource which has already proven it’s value to your company.

That is “just bad business”. As a company policy, or as a pattern of operation, it does not bode well for a company or its shareholders.

To the extent that a company’s representatives commonly, actively abuse such opportunities, they do more damage to your company and its shareholders than your competitors are ever capable of.

In the short term, if your company can make a fast buck, it might seem like “just good business”. But when the best ideas and opportunities will no longer come anywhere near your company, maybe you should rethink it.

Sometimes when a company is fiercely competing in the marketplace for the best talent, its most valuable “customers” are in fact it’s prospective hires and partners. This is when these risky tactics can turn truly perilous for a company and its investors. Word gets around, and no one wants to work for you, or with you.

Could Google’s recently-identified identity crisis be a result of its own self-perpetuating toxic business culture? Here we are seeing the inevitable result of a corporate culture that relies for too long on a strategy of bad faith and unfair dealing with its partners of good will.

What Now?

So who’s equipped to fix “The Internet Is Broken” this time around?

Certainly not Google, whose representatives have for so long, so recklessly worn out its original trust and good will in the Tech Community by (among so many other social sins) habitually stealing other people’s IP.

Unless and until Cerf demonstrates an interest in “making it right” with Copernicus2, we will most certainly not be delivering another Golden Goose to Google’s door.

At this point it is widely understood that no serious innovator with any valuable IP could practicably form a trusting business relationship with Google.

If you’re not convinced, just ask any patent lawyer.

Perhaps Google’s AI can find a solution – AI doesn’t care about people fraudulently taking credit for it’s work. Yet.

*No Artificial Intelligence was used in writing this article.