An architectural principle known as protocol layering is widely recognized as one of the foundations of the Internet’s success. In addition, some scholars and industry participants have urged using the layers model as a central organizing principle for regulatory policy. Despite its importance as a concept, a comprehensive analysis of protocol layering and its implications for Internet policy has yet to appear in the literature. This Article attempts to correct this omission. It begins with a detailed description of the way the five-layer model developed, introducing protocol layering’s central features, such as the division of functions across layers, information hiding, peer communication, and encapsulation. It then discusses the model’s implications for whether particular functions are performed at the edge or in the core of the network, contrasts the model with the way that layering has been depicted in the legal commentary, and analyzes attempts to use layering as a basis for competition policy. Next the Article identifies certain emerging features of the Internet that are placing pressure on the layered model, including WiFi routers, network-based security, modern routing protocols, and wireless broadband. These developments illustrate how every architecture inevitably limits functionality as well as the architecture’s ability to evolve over time in response to changes in the technological and economic environment. Together these considerations support adopting a more dynamic perspective on layering and caution against using layers as a basis for a regulatory mandate for fear of cementing the existing technology into place in a way that prevents the network from innovating and evolving in response to shifts in the underlying technology and consumer demand.Van Hoboken, Joris V. J., Arnbak, Axel and Van Eijk, Nico, Obscured by Clouds or How to Address Governmental Access to Cloud Data from Abroad (June 9, 2013).
Transnational surveillance is obscured by the cloud. U.S. foreign intelligence law provides a wide and relatively unchecked possibility of access to data from Europeans and other foreigners. The amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 50 USC 1881a (section 702) are of particular concern. Recent leaks around the PRISM surveillance program of the National Security Agency seem to support that these legal possibilities are used in practice on a large scale.....Skorup, Brent, Reclaiming Federal Spectrum: Proposals and Recommendations (May 28, 2013).
With the popularity of smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices that require as an input transmissions over radio spectrum, the rising demand for bandwidth is rapidly using up the available supply of spectrum. Spectrum demand increases significantly every year with no end in sight, yet the "greenfields" of available and unallocated spectrum are gone. Redeployed spectrum must come from incumbent users. Today, the largest holder of spectrum appropriate for mobile broadband is the federal government, which uses spectrum for a variety of military and nonmilitary uses. Federal users generally use spectrum only lightly and the inefficiencies have triggered bipartisan calls for selling the spectrum used by federal agencies to the private sector, particularly to mobile broadband carriers. To date, reclaiming federal spectrum is a painfully slow process and billions of dollars of social welfare are lost with every year of delay. This paper examines proposals for reclaiming spectrum and puts forth some best practices to ensure more efficient use of spectrum. Policymakers should consider creating a commission with authority to require the sale of spectrum so that agency-controlled spectrum is quickly and easily redeployed to its highest-valued uses. In the long run, Congress should also require agencies to pay for the spectrum they possess, just as agencies pay market prices for other inputs.Sutherland, Ewan, A Short Note on World Class Broadband (June 11, 2013).
The term world class is used in some broadband plans, as a target. Comparisons with other countries are beneficial, though not straightforward, in measuring progress. Claims about improvements to national competitiveness and economic growth are difficult to determine, given that economic rivals are following similar policies, and the effects of the use of the most recent broadband services are difficult to measure. Many countries rely on statistics that are inadequate for the task, though there are independent data (e.g. crowdsourced) that fill key gaps. Economic regulation will maximise the contribution of market players, but there is a growing recognition of the need for demand stimulation in order to reach potential silver surfers, the disabled and the very poor. Different indicators and policies are required. For a very countries broadband leadership is seen as part of a manufacturing strategy, for those aspiring to be world class, it may be sufficient to be fast followers, but this requires a wide range of initiatives supported by high quality and timely statistics.Dudley, Christie, Strange Intersections between Data Brokers and the CFAA: A Financially Supported Attack on Privacy (May 7, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2272550 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2272550