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Researchers look into removing the Internet’s dependency on servers

A radical new architecture aims to make the Internet more resilient by eliminating the need to connect to servers and enabling all content to be shared more efficiently. The prototype, which has been developed as part of an EU-funded project called ‘Pursuit’, is being put forward as a proof-of concept model for overhauling the existing structure of the Internet’s IP layer, through which isolated networks are connected.

The Pursuit Internet would, according to its creators, enable a more socially-structured and intelligent system, in which users would be able to obtain information without needing direct access to the servers where content is initially stored. Instead, individual computers would be able to copy and republish content on receipt, providing other users with the option to access data, or fragments of data, from a wide range of locations rather than the source itself. Essentially, the model would enable all online content to be shared in a manner emulating the ‘peer-to-peer’ approach taken by some file-sharing sites, but on an unprecedented, Internet-wide scale. That would potentially make the Internet faster, more efficient, and more capable of withstanding rapidly escalating levels of global user demand. It would also make information delivery almost immune to server crashes, and significantly enhance the ability of users to control access to their private information online.

The researchers behind the project argue that by focusing on information rather than the web addresses (URLs) where it is stored, digital content would become more secure. They envisage that by making individual bits of data recognisable, that data could be ‘fingerprinted’ to show that it comes from an authorised source.

With Pursuit, browsers and other IP devices would stop looking for URLs (the Uniform Resource Locator) and start looking for URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). These would be highly specific identifiers which enable the system to work out what the information or content is.

More details here.

•Date: 1st November 2013 • World •Type: Article • Topic: Critical infrastructure protection

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