About this blog…

I am employed by Netnod as head of engineering, research and development and am among other things chair of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee at ICANN. You can find CV and photos of me at this page.

As I wear so many hats, I find it being necessary to somewhere express my personal view on things. This is the location where that happens. Postings on this blog, or at Facebook, Twitter etc, falls under this policy.

The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Netnod or any other of the organisations I have connections to.

The role of Intermediaries in the third phase of Internet

At the RIPE meeting in Amsterdam spring 2011 I held a presentation at the cooperation working group about intermediaries and their roles. The main thesis of the presentation is first that Internet is now needed not only for IT related processes in the society, but is an absolute necessity for the society as a whole. Given this, the role of intermediaries is of course of outmost importance, but unfortunately the discussions about their role is split in three directions:

  • The importance of neutrality, openness, privacy and integrity
  • The need law enforcement agencies have
  • The need organizations have to maximize revenue for their shareholders

Unfortunately, I do not see yet any successful discussions where these three forces are balanced against each other. We need to not only listen more to each other (as we do in IGF and EuroDIG for example). We also must suggest concrete actions that are acceptable for proponents for strengthening the roles in each one of the three directions described above.

5 comments to The role of Intermediaries in the third phase of Internet

  • bill manning

    i -guess- that the real stickler here is the definition of “intermediary”. in a classical end to end model, there are three components, the originator, the channel, and the receiver. one might argue that the channel, in a shannon sense, would be as clean/transparent/pick your words, as possible to ensure the error free receipt of the information flow between O & R.

  • Wout de Natris


    As Cyber Crime Working Party chair at RIPE NCC I see, in part, the same issues and I agree with your analyses. I suggest we discuss the topic one on one and not through your blog pages. My e-mail address is provided.


  • Martin

    I’d very much like to see these very important questions debated openly (and more than today), rather than behind closed doors or solely over private channels. Please do continue to share your valuable thoughts on your blog, Patrik!

    • paf

      Martin, much of the work is done in the open, and the closed discussions I have participated at to some degree must be closed. Some kind of discussions are, as you know, more effective if you get a few good people in a room (with no coffee, no food, no…) that just have to hammer out something. Based of course on data from the public discussions. And whatever happen to be created in more closed environments still have to be vetted in the open.

      For example, see EuroDIG that happened just last week in Belgrade. Part from being open on site (no participation fee for example) it was also possible to participate remotely. There where also I think 12 or so remote hubs (one in Sweden if I am not mistaken) where people could gather in a room and together discuss issues — without traveling.

      You will see even more open discussions, including meetings where remote participation make it even easier to participate.

      I do though think and accept that each stakeholder group that participate will continue to make their decisions according to whatever policy development process they use. I.e. much of the open processes are there to share experiences, make parties understand each other, and that way increase the chance the decisions made by each party be accepted by everyone, and that way increase the chance the chance the decisions will have effect.

      For example, ultimately, the elected representatives in a parliament is making decisions on regulation. And board members of a company. And you as an individual. Each one of those processes make decisions in a closed environment.

      But based on input from the extremely open multistakeholder processes!

  • Another word for intermediary: cloud provider.