The internet is a network of networks. In the main, these networks con-
nect over wires. All of these wires, and the machines linked by them, are
controlled by someone. The vast majority are owned by private parties --
owned, that is, by individuals and corporations that have chosen to link to
the Net. Some are owned by the government.
Yet this vast network of privately owned technology has built one of the
most important _innovation_commons_ that we have ever known. Built on a
platform that is controlled, the protocols of the Internet have erected a free
space of innovation. These private networks have created an open resource
that any can draw upon and that many have. Understanding how, and in
what sense, is the aim of this chapter.
Paul Baran was a researcher at the Rand Corporation from 1959 to 1968.
His project in the early 1960s was communications reliability. The fear
slowly dawning upon the leaders of the world's largest nuclear arsenal was
that the communications system controlling that arsenal was vulnerable
to the smallest of attacks. An accident, or a single nuclear explosion, could
disable the ability of the commander in chief to command. Chaos -- or
worse -- would be unavoidable.
Baran's task was to explore a more secure telecommunications system.
His first step was to understand the system then in place. So he asked the
then-provider of telecommunications in America, American Telephone &
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