With COVID-19 forcing millions of families to turn to distance learning, an Internet Hall of Fame inductee’s long-time concerns about the digital divide are being thrust into the spotlight.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Larry Irving served for seven years as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, becoming one of the main architects of telecommunications policy in the Clinton White House.
Along with pushing developments to improve Internet access, his administration kept records of user demographics to document the early days of the digital divide – a phrase he coined in the 1990s.
Despite Irving voicing his concerns almost 30 years ago, that persistent digital divide has left families and students unprepared to deal with distance learning during a global pandemic.
In a recent survey of 5,000 teachers across the country, 55 percent said less than half of their students were attending online classes necessitated by COVID-19, with many unable to do so thanks to limited or non-existent Internet access at home.
Although the Lifeline program was expanded during the Obama administration to include smart phones, recent proposals to expand its provider network or provide additional funding to cover broadband discounts to libraries and public schools have gotten a chilly reception. That in turn leaves families...
There are a lot more people, platforms, and devices connected to the web than Jianping Wu could have imagined 25 years ago.
For more than 25 years, Wu, a 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, has led the design, development and evolution of CERNET, the first Internet backbone in China and the largest national academic network. CERNET National Center is located at Tsinghua University, where Wu is a professor and chairman of the Department of Computer Science.
In an exclusive video interview with the Internet Hall of Fame, Wu shared his hopes and fears for the future of the Internet, acknowledging the constantly growing demand for high speed networks. His hope is that affordable infrastructure can be built to accommodate that need.
“People are always hoping for faster and faster Internet,” he said. “This is a big challenge. We need high speed routers somewhere where people can use high speed devices.”
Ermanno Pietrosemoli is glad to see future generations putting his work to good use.
A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Pietrosemoli is one of the founders of the Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes, an organization that promotes information technology across South America.
During his 30-year tenure with the telecommunications laboratory at Venezuela’s Universidad de los Andes, he played a key role in building a direct connection between his institution and the Internet’s early backbone in Homestead, Florida.
In a recent video interview, Pietrosemoli marveled at the progress across multiple disciplines made by subsequent generations thanks to the Internet’s continued growth.
“You are empowered much more than we were,” he said. “Because you have the tools we didn’t have.”
Paul Vixie wants you to know your computer a little better.
A 2014 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Vixie is the founder and CEO of the California-based Farsight Security, which uses real-time contextual information about domain usage and the registration of domain names to detect threats and prevent potential cybercrimes.
In a 2018 interview with the Cyber Security Dispatch, Vixie urged companies and individual users to get a better grasp on the specifics of the assorted software programs they are using in order to minimize their exposure.
“If you don't, then the bad guys, who understand your technology a lot better than you do, because that's how their incentives are aligned, are going to take you for a ride,” he said. “I think security and complexity don't go hand in hand. If you want both, you have to work really hard.”
Elise Gerich retired in 2018 from a 30-year career in networking that led to her induction in the fall of 2019 into the Internet Hall of Fame. Her success in multiple areas of Internet science – from her leadership at the Michigan Education, Research and Information Triad, to her guiding the transition of the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority from the U.S. government to an international, multi-stakeholder community – always seemed to involve, in some way, an expertise in enabling people to collaborate, to make connections with one another and to cooperate for the achievement of mutual goals.
Here are six tips she offered recently on how to effect such teamwork.
- RESPECT everyone present, even (or especially) if their experiences or perspective differs greatly from your own.
- LISTEN without commenting until each speaker has finished. It’s the old “Do-Unto-Others” rule.
- ASSEMBLE people who have a wide variety of gifts and then see how sharing those gifts produces new ideas.
- EXCHANGE business cards and other contact information, even (or especially) with those you don’t know well.
- OFFER your skills and knowledge to folks from other disciplines or regions. Chances are, they’ll reciprocate, and you may find yourself with a new team member!
- TRY to “understand where they’re coming from” when people disagree with you. Developing...