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Monday June 17, 2019


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NY Convergence ORIGINAL

ISOC-NY: Cerf, Berners-Lee Discuss the Future of the Internet (#INETny)

l to r: Vint Cerf, Lawrence Strickling , Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Credit: Lauren Keyson)

By Lauren Keyson

Leading Internet luminaries gathered in midtown yesterday for the Internet Society’s New York chapter (ISOC-NY) conference to discuss an open internet, and determine whether the internet will remain a global platform for innovation and expression for people everywhere. Heading the all-day event were Google chief evangelist Vint Cerf, ‘the father of the internet’; Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web; and Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Some of the fundamental issues addressed were the pushing of technology boundaries,  the future internet infrastructure models,  how technology breakthroughs would change the future internet; new technology approaches that balanced online privacy, security and reliability and the fostering of innovation and  new privacy models.

Berners-Lee talked about the openness of standards processes and the neutrality of the internet, “The important thing is that the internet should be open in a sense that you can use it without paying royalties; open in the fact that any engineers who want to help design better protocols can join the standards IETF and W3C; open to the fact that when I connect you can connect — and then we can talk without anyone filtering who we can connect to.”

Cerf said, “It is our obligation to understand as deeply as we can what has made the internet such a vibrant source of new ideas and creativity while at the same time trying to figure out how to make it a safer place for all of us to use. Those two things are so important to our descendants.”

Strickling commented on the how the user-centric internet model persists in the face of increasing government efforts of control. “We’ve got to be talking to other countries; we’ve got to be telling the story. China faces a lot of economic issues right now, and I’m sure that the internet — being an economic engine for them — is important to their economic planners. The question is how do we get other policy makers comfortable with perhaps more freedom for their citizens to express themselves while recognizing the trade-offs. It’s a tough issue, but one I don’t think we should give up on.”

An attendee asked the panel about their take on the Wikileak’s scandal. “I was very schizophrenic in my reaction to the scandal,” said Cerf.  “My first reaction was that the leaks were done by somebody who really violated the trust. My second reaction was that the people who put the information into the system without paying any attention were ignorant in not understanding the material, which in many cases was very sensitive and was going into a place that was accessible anywhere in the U.S. Lastly, it was interesting in that it spotlighted the issue of transparency. “

David Solomonoff, president of  ISOC-NY left the crowd with this last thought:  “Please stay engaged and active on all of these important issues.  You need to stay involved; you need to find other people to get involved as well. These are going to be difficult years, but I think we all have to pull together and work through these issues to be able to run them.”