+1 386-243-9402 MON – FRI : 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Avoid regulation by addressing Internet’s needs now, says IBM’s Patrick

Thursday, July 15, 1999

By Dana Gardner
InfoWorld Electric

CHICAGO — We’re just taking the initial steps of the Internet’s long march, but such keys issues as security, content labeling, and privacy need to be addressed simply and quickly or an alphabet’s soup of government regulation may be forthcoming. That was the message from John Patrick, vice president of Internet technology at IBM, during a keynote speech here Wednesday at Internet World Summer ’98.

An unabashed trumpeter of the virtues of interconnected computing, Patrick outlined some of the promise and peril of the unfolding new medium. The public’s expectations of the Web are higher and escalating, he said, but a vacuum exists around what private interests are willing to do to foster the Internet’s maturation sans government intrusion.

“The private sector needs to get in and do this or government will regulate the Internet, and that’s like regulating the wind,” said Patrick, 53, who urges older techies such as himself to look to 14-year-olds for the proper perspective on where the Net is going.

“They don’t know it’s supposed to be hard,” Patrick said of high school students building compelling Web sites. “These kids totally get it. We have to get ready … We don’t have a lot of time to study this. We need to move fast. We’re just at the beginning of an incredibly bright future.”

The Internet is likely to change the way that individuals and corporations conduct themselves — and it is online conduct rather than technology that looms large as the major challenge of the day, Patrick said.

The challenges cited by Patrick included the following:

The Internet2 concept is well under way, Patrick said, including a new center at Northwestern University here in Chicago, the Center for Advanced Internet Research, that is backed by IBM, Cisco, and Ameritech, among others.

Patrick also called business-to-business Internet commerce the biggest draw of the technology and called the next stage of its evolution a “business strategy, not a technology issue.”

“What are you trying to do, and what is your value proposition to your consumer?” Patrick asked businesses.
Among the examples of successful Internet commerce Patrick cited were a New York-based collaborative bank loan endeavor called IntraLinks. Some $60 billion in loans have been made online through a highly secure site that is available only to bank members, he said.

Patrick also pointed to Java as a seminal technology for the evolution of the Internet. He called it a “glue to enhance the speed of deployment and building the back end so … that databases and various communications protocols can be interconnected and go out to where the people are.”

On the horizon, Patrick said, the Internet will do the following:

Patrick also invited viewers to his home page for more details on his predictions and prescriptions of the budding Internet revolution at https://www.johnpatrick.com/

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at http://www.ibm.com/us/en/.