Citing concerns about data privacy, Tim Berners-Lee is attempting to overhaul his creation.
Part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, Berners-Lee is the founder of the World Wide Web and wrote the first web client and server.
Along with formal regulators, Berners-Lee has voiced concerns in recent years about larger web entities, such as Google and Facebook, having too much access to personal user data.
To address those concerns, he has co-founded a start-up, Inrupt, that limits access to personal data stored in a virtual safe that is only accessible by the users or entities that have that user’s permission. It has already launched a handful of pilot programs, including one with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Berners-Lee said his goal is to move the Internet more towards “the web I originally wanted.”
A key component of the Internet’s early days may be facing widespread retirement soon.
Initially delayed by the pandemic, Google recently announced its next Chrome update will have fewer supports for file transfer protocol, with subsequent updates not supporting it at all. Mozilla announced a similar decision earlier this year for its Firefox browser in part due to security concerns.
Developed in 1971, FTP was one of the application-level programs for ARPANET’s early days. It facilitates data transfers among hosts.
In an interview with Vice, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Alan Emtage acknowledged that his creation, the early search engine Archie, would not have been possible without FTP. Launched before the commercialization of the Internet, Archie relied on a university network to allow users to search anonymous FTP servers for files.
“We were fighting the good fight,” he said. “We knew there was...
More than 20 years after helping facilitate Internet access in Latin America, José Soriano still wants to make sure everyone has equal access to the web.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Soriano was an architect of a public Internet kiosk model that facilitated access for non-Spanish speaking people in his home country, Peru. That model was later embraced by the World Bank and adapted for use in El Salvador, Colombia, Uruguay, Togo and Mauritania.
In a recent video interview, Soriano said he worries about the potentially oversized influence of large companies on Internet access and content.
“We have three, four or five companies that could have all the property on the Internet,” he said.
One is a magic number for Elise Gerich.
A 2019 inductee to the Internet Hall of Fame, Gerich was a key player in the 1986 launch of the National Science Foundation’s NSFNET, which facilitated early networking among different communities. She also later oversaw NSFNET’s migration to Internet service providers in 1995 when the platform was retired.
In a recent video interview, Gerich said she hopes that the Internet will remain a single system of interconnected networks and will not splinter off into industry or interest-specific silos, similar to those seen in the proprietary protocol networks that existed in the past.
“I really hope that the Internet can continue to have connectivity without bifurcation,” she said. “That we don’t wind up with little Internets everywhere.”
Some long-time champions of the Internet still see plenty of opportunities for the Internet and its users to grow and adapt.
In honor of the NSFNET’s 35th anniversary, Internet2 and the Internet Society recently hosted a virtual event featuring remarks and discussion from several people who played key roles in the Internet’s past and present.
Among the participants was Vint Cerf, who was part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s 2012 inaugural class for his role as the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols. Since 2005, he has been a vice president and “Chief Internet Evangelist” for Google, promoting the Internet’s capabilities.
Cerf used the opportunity to encourage future generations to put those capabilities to the test by trying new things.
“If you’re young, take the risky road,” he said. “You’re young enough to recover from it. You don’t have to go out to change the world. Just go out and do something. You’ll be surprised what...