Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google's going to watch the pipes

The Clarion Content recently read that Google and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that Google helps fund are going to lead research into Internet speeds, latency, jitter, and blocking. Google is going to lead an initiative called Measurement Lab or M-Lab. It will fund three measurement servers (exclusive to M-Lab) to start. By the end of 2009, 36 servers will exist at twelve locations in the United States and Europe measuring data on the diverse networks that make up the pipes, valves, and faucets of the Internet.

According to Ars Technica, "current research projects simply have a massive shortcoming in data collection and analysis...researchers and policy makers are operating from a position of ignorance...To turn M-Lab into a truly open and useful resource, the group is seeking help from anyone who can offer it—interface designers, network researchers, tool developers, and companies willing to host more servers...M-Lab is open to participation from any other group that wants to host a site. To do so, all that's required is three dedicated rack-mount servers with dual quad-core processors each and a fast Internet connection."

The Clarion Content on the one hand, can see that an entity monitoring the internet's traffic laws, policies and outcomes makes sense. Even better that it is an entity that supports net neutrality that is monitoring the pipes. One the other hand, it always makes us nervous when corporations assume huge new (potentially regulatorily influential) roles that might sway government policy and with it the formation and enforcement of the law of the land.

Read more here.

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