Elise Gerich is not interested in information silos, thanks. A 2019 inductee to the Internet Hall of Fame, Gerich was a key player in the launch of the National Science Foundation’s NSFNET, which facilitated 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 interview, Gerich said she is worried about the potential for the Internet to start splitting off again into niche-focused platforms like it did in its early days, thus making it harder for entities to collaborate and share information.
“I’m really hoping for the future that the Internet can continue to be this collaborative and cooperative venture with open communications,” she said.
By Dan Rosenheim
Let it be said, loudly and unambiguously, that Radia Perlman’s unparalleled contribution to the existence of a functioning Internet is a product of her remarkable intellectual gifts.
The creator of important innovations that make modern computer networks reliable and easy to manage, including the well-known Spanning Tree algorithm, and author of the seminal network book, Interconnections, Perlman has been widely recognized — in articles, awards and in membership in the National Academy of Engineering, Inventor Hall of Fame and Internet Hall of Fame.
But in an interview from her home in suburban Seattle, Perlman is strikingly self-effacing, going so far as to suggest that happenstance — even in the form of an unwelcome #MeToo experience — may have helped open the door to her stellar career.
“I guess I just don’t project an aura of self-importance,” she said during an hour-long session on Zoom. “I'm sort of glad I don't because it means that I'm approachable, although it is sometimes frustrating when people don’t hear you.”
Perlman’s #MeToo experience in 1976 was a final affront in her pursuit of a graduate degree in math from MIT. It prompted her to leave school and go to work in the private sector — where, within a short period of time, she had come up with...
Do you know an extraordinary person who has made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet?
Today, the Internet Hall of Fame announced that it has officially opened nominations for its 2021 class of inductees and is seeking nominations through April 23, 2021.
Individuals worldwide who have played an extraordinary role in the development and advancement of the Internet will be considered.
In addition to those who have been more visible, the Internet Hall of Fame seeks nominees who have made crucial, behind-the-scenes contributions.
“At no point in time has the importance of the Internet and its chief characteristic—to connect—been felt so broadly, and so acutely,” said Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO of the Internet Society.
“The critical role the Internet has played throughout the pandemic reinforces now, more than ever, the significance of the people who originally conceived, built, guided and promoted this global network. It is our privilege to highlight their work and contributions.”
In selecting inductees, the Internet...
Add Michael Stanton to the list of Internet Hall of Fame inductees concerned about the future of network security.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Stanton played a key role in the development and launch of what is now known as the National Education and Research Network. He still helps with the design and deployment of scalable optical networks around the world.
Citing a recent experience of attempted bank fraud on his personal account, Stanton specifically mentioned affordable, reliable network security among his greatest fears for the future of the Internet in a video interview.
“Unfortunately, everything comes down to price,” he said.
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.”