TSN — The Invisible Internet
TSN is the brainchild of Phil Smith, the self-described “Renaissance Engineer” as well as Founder and CTO of TLC Secure, Inc. and senior roles at Cisco, HP, NASA and many others in Silicon Valley. TSN stands for the TLC Secure Network. We interviewed Phil about how he created TSN and his vision for what it will become:
“I was with Lawrence Livermore National Lab decades ago, when only researchers, academics and military used the Internet” he said. “In the late 1980s, my department’s focus was on Electronic Data Interchange and this new idea called E-Commerce. Under a Technology Transfer Initiative, I and some of my colleagues had R&D projects to use Internet technologies to demonstrate things like electronic banking, secure e-mail, technology partnership agreements and this new thing called the World Wide Web. I was tasked to develop and demonstrate these projects to industry leaders such as major banks, chemical and textile manufacturing firms and the automotive industry. The most common question was ‘what is this Internet thing?’ to which I would explain that ‘the Internet is a Network of Networks’ ”. Michael Chertoff of the Global Commission for Internet Governance described it in this video:
Phil continued: “Today, we realize that these networks and the computers on them were not built with security and privacy in mind. The Internet was meant to be open with the Utopian idea that everyone could communicate anything to anybody. Subsequently, security became an add on everywhere, and heterogeneous. While everything is connected, there are many weak links. Now, what if security wasn’t an afterthought? What if we embraced the spirit of openness, but security and privacy were built in to every node in the network, and uniform?”
Phil went on to explain how the TLC Secure Network is like the Internet itself, a network of networks, except TSN is a global network of VPNs. Each one autonomous and capable of communicating peer-to-peer but encrypted at layer 2. By plugging in TLC’s Layer 2 Peer-to-Peer (L2P2P) service, each host becomes a secure network node. By using Private Network IPs with global reach, TSN is like an Invisible Internet.
Distributed: Public yet Private
The idea of public-private nodes means that each node has a private network IP, yet the nodes can communicate with each other over vast distances, not merely in a non-routable local domain of a conventional private network. The TSN private-network behaves like a public network.These IP addresses are not visible over the Internet. There is no geolocation. The nodes are essentially invisible. This is a major security benefit, because as Phil says, ”hackers can’t attack what they can’t see.” Even in the age of Quantum Computers that can crack most encryption, they can’t be used against an invisible target. This makes nodes impervious to sniffing or packet injection as well as DDoS, MITM attacks, protocol and port exploits, etc.
The public aspect of the public-private nodes is, each private node can communicate with other spatially distant nodes. Each can run web servers, information servers, content services that can be shared with all members as if they were on the public Internet, or a more selective community of nodes. Joining your computer or IoT device to a community will be much like joining a chat room or social media. It’s a genuine social network for computers.
German psychologist Kurt Kaffka famously created Gestalt Theory, saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” So too, with TSN. The individual VPNs joining the network become a new, collective thing. A community. The behavior of this community is very much like the Internet itself. Together, they offer the same TCP/IP services, but the scaffolding that connects them is different. The user experience is very much like the Internet with a clean slate. Name service, IP management. This is ideal for developers and service providers. They can enjoin their machine to the TSN, and can just as easily switch it off.
Unlike a traditional VPN managed by IT in tandem with corporate firewalls. Each TSN VPN node is managed and operated by the host owner. As TSN grows, it can be self-organizing as users create their own communities, and the service offerings expand. Anyone joining TSN can be either a consumer or a provider, and share services with everyone or a select group.
TLC Secure is building this new Internet today, with help of the Ethereum based blockchain. Users will soon be able to join TSN and use the TLC tokens (NVIS) for access and to support the infrastructure expansion and operation. Likewise, providers will be able to earn NVIS for services they provide or lease to others. Currently, TSN has bootstrap nodes in Paris, Amsterdam, Miami, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Tokyo, and dozens of edge nodes, soon projected to be in the hundreds (see MVP at http://nvis.world). TLC is now conducting a token sale (http://nvis.info) to raise funds and is preparing for ICO with full SEC and global regulatory compliance.