P2P Proxynet
P2P Proxynet
From Google News: June 11, 2015 Washington, D.C. — Representatives from AT&T, Verizon and Comcast were up on The Hill today trying to persuade Congress to take aggressive action against the millions of ProxyNets that have popped up around the globe. With two of the major content companies in bankruptcy and the others on the brink of ruin, experts are not sure if any type of law protecting intellectual property can be practically enforced. You can’t shut down a network that you can’t find.

ProxyNet? Well, I needed a name for a universe-destroying technology that I am absolutely sure will evolve in the next couple of years. ProxyNet seems to fill the bill. Here’s how it will transpire.

AT&T has just enacted tiered pricing. Apple has just introduced yet another amazing device that allows the joyful, gluttonous consumption of rich media over a closed network. With the advent of zillion apps and competitive devices that will aid and abet gluttonous media consumption, people will start to consume. They will surely become addicted to WiwWiwWiw (What I want, when I want, where I want) media. The more they consume, the more they will pay. Some people will be OK with this, others will not.

As we know from experience, people with more money than time pay and people with more time than money steal. Piracy will run rampant, but it will be very easy to thwart because most of the consumption devices will require monthly data plans. If a device is connected to a network and the network operator has your credit card number or billing address, you will have a hard time using it to steal content.

The arms race will continue until the rigidity of the content provider pricing and network service provider greed overwhelm consumers or until a new technology evolves.

I don’t think consumers will ever value openness over certified convenience, but I do think that a new technology is going to evolve. I’m calling it the ProxyNet.

In this, warped, “Shelly must be on drugs,” vision of the future, connected devices are everywhere. The world is filled with billions of smart phones, app phones, tablets, netbooks and wearable computers that come in only one flavor … connected.

Sometime before 2014, but after 4G starts to deploy on a large scale, people are going to find a new kind of app available for every device. It will offer the ability to create a peer-to-peer (P2P) or Mesh connection to any device within radio range and not require (or even allow) an Internet connection. It will not use a wireless network. It will not be 3G, 4G or anyG. It will simply use the WiFi radio in the device to connect to other devices that are “friendly.”

You can think of this network as a self-assembling, self-healing, invitation-only social media sharing network on steroids. It won’t need the Internet or any phone network because it will simply connect to whatever device invites it to connect; hence the idea of a Proxy Network or ProxyNet. I really wanted to call it a “Subnet” because it’s a network that exists under the radar. But, subnet is a term of art in the network world and it has a very specific and very different definition.

Any way, the end of the world comes in the following form. People download the ProxyNet apps and they start to form personal networks that almost mirror their social media networks. This happens automatically. Want to think about it in a contemporary way, think about Foursquare or Twitter. If a ProxyNet app simply connected to your friends’ devices when you were in proximity to them, you would not need the Internet or a phone company data network. The WiFi radios in the devices would do it all.

If this were the case, it would be easy to imagine five hundred students in a Junior High School whose smart phones and laptops are all connected to each other, but not connected to the Internet. The students would decide to share everything 1) ’cause they could. 2) ’cause it’s free. You can’t get into the network unless you’re invited. You can’t shut down the network because it doesn’t really exist. You can’t get the identity of anyone on the network because they are hidden by proxy (in the true network sense).

Now, imagine this on a global scale. Game over.

I know it’s probably not going to happen. But AT&T’s new tiered pricing plan makes me think that every other carrier and ISP is going to follow suit. People are alive and empowered with technology, there is only so far you can push them. At a certain point, a few motivated 14-year-olds are going to build a browser plug-in or a Facebook app or just some little piece of code you can use to void the warranty on your phone or laptop and go digitally underground. I will be surprised if it doesn’t happen. When it does … well, I hope someone will figure out what we’re all supposed to do after government work. Shelly Palmer


About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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