TOM HAJDU

CEO, DISRUPTER

THOUGHT

Leader

AN INNOVATOR OF INDUSTRY
I’M EXCITED TO SHARE WITH YOU MY THOUGHTS ABOUT AN AREA OF TECHNOLOGY THAT I AM MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT — BUILDING THE NETWORK AND DATA INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE FUTURE FOR AUSTRALIA

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A little over five years ago, I had the privilege of serving as the Chief Innovator of South Australia, a position through which I could catalyze change. During that time, I spearheaded a pivotal initiative, transforming Adelaide into Australia’s first gigabit city and the first city outside the United States to be a part of the US Ignite Gigabit Smart City Community. This was a significant step, but the world doesn’t stop spinning, and technology doesn’t cease to evolve.

Today, as we stand on the precipice of the Web3 era, consider the challenges and the opportunities that this new digital landscape presents. We live in a world where artificial intelligence’s insatiable hunger for data overwhelms our current network infrastructure. Questions around data governance and network security loom more extensive than ever, and the limitations of blockchain technology are glaringly evident: poor scalability, no identity management and other gross inefficiencies. We are in dire need of a transformative, resilient, and adaptable solution.

There is a profound vulnerability at the foundation of our digital networks: the problem of identity. Our 50-year-old network protocols were designed to allow anonymous and unverified connections. This design conceit has undermined decades of determined efforts to add authentication and validation to important network traffic. I propose a bold yet simple fundamental change — a network that establishes and enforces identity validation as the basis of all connectivity.

This idea — “Identity First Networking”, is crucial to producing a futureproof digital infrastructure. Identity First Networking requires that any node on a network can provide cryptographic proof of its identity (or “address”) to any other node before sending or receiving information. Tied to this idea is the requirement that these addresses are static and unchanging. Another vulnerability in the existing IP networking system is that IP addresses are ephemeral — assigned by the network itself on-the-fly. Making addresses static, in addition to closing up a host of security weaknesses, also has benefits concerning storage and subsequent analysis or auditing of network traffic.

We are poised on the edge of the future, a future we must build today to ensure our relevance and competitiveness tomorrow. I firmly believe that radically new technologies like this will transform Australia’s network and data infrastructure, opening up a new era of interconnectedness and security. This is an opportunity to provide better public services: from robust networking in remote areas to better first-responder communications — from transparent access to the levers of government to reduced infrastructure maintenance costs.

If Australia can build a truly next-generation infrastructure, it can strengthen its competitiveness across all sectors and attract new business opportunities. The world is flat. Companies and people can live anywhere and build a global, game changing business. The Web3 era is not just about advancing but pioneering, creating, and innovating. Together, by making Australia a global trailblazer in network infrastructure and technology, we can participate in shaping the rapidly evolving digital world.

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