When the first message on the ARPANET (the predecessor of today’s
Internet) was sent by UCLA programmer Charley Kline, on October 29,
1969, the message text was the word “login”; the letters “l” and the “o” were transmitted, then the system crashed.
Forty two years later, the Internet is everywhere and rapidly becoming
embedded in every device. Kevin Kelly sees the Net as evolving into a
single “planetary computer” with “all the many gadgets we possess” as “windows into its core.” The Internet Society’s slogan is “The Internet is for everyone,” but Vint Cerf (who co-developed the TCP/IP network protocol that connects everything on the Net today) now prefers “The Internet is for everything”.
The world-wide adoption of a decentralized network that connects
everything creates continuous technical, social and policy challenges
that no one could have foreseen in 1969. Even as we take the Net for
granted, the way we do the air that we breathe, decisions are being made by policy-makers, technologists and end-users that shape its future.
The success of the Internet has had a great deal to do with the
development of open standards – often by volunteers - in groups such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Decisions in Working Groups (WG) of the IETF are reached by consensus on the group mailing list so that anyone active on that list can be part of the process.
The need to add capacity is a constant challenge. What balance of public and private funding, regulation or deregulation are appropriate, and which types of infrastructure (centralized vs. decentralized; fiber,
cable, wireless) warrant investment are subject to ongoing debate.
The Net has provided a platform for incredible innovation and economic
growth. How to reward innovation and creativity while encouraging the
widest dissemination of new content and technologies? How to encourage disruptive technologies while mitigating their potentially negative impacts?
Does there have to be a conflict between freedom and privacy on one hand and security on the other? How can users safely share personal
information using social media which rely on the sale of their personal
data as a business model? What legal and technical protections are
necessary for businesses to securely move into the cloud?
Internet users have continuously influenced key technology innovations
and policy decisions. But keeping them in the decision-making loop as
they increasingly take the Net for granted presents an ongoing challenge.
On June 14, Internet pioneers Vint Cerf, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor
of the World Wide Web, and Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary
for Communications and Information, and Administrator, National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will address
these questions as keynote speakers for the INET Conference in New York City, sponsored by the Internet Society and the Internet Society of New York.
There will also be panels featuring industry leaders, members of civil
society organizations, open source software advocates and government officials. The conference is open to the public although advance registration is required. It will also be streamed live.
Just as a democracy is never the rule of the people, but rather the
people who participate in the process, the Internet has evolved through the efforts of technologists and activists – many who have volunteered their time to develop open standards, open source software and to advocate for an open Internet. It’s your call: What kind of Internet do you want?
Registration for the event:
Internet Society members receive a 50% discount on the $50 registration fee for this all-day event which includes lunch - and individual membership is free. To join:
David Solomonoff, President