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September 21, 2016 | 0 comments

African publication AFK Insider recently sat down with Africa’s ‘Father of the Internet,’ Nii Quaynor, to find out what we might not yet know about the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame inductee, and discovered 12 things that shed new light on his life and work.

Most notably, the publication reports that Professor Quaynor is worried that Africa is going to miss out on significant growth opportunities as a result of extremely low Internet user penetration there. Currently, the country posts Internet user penetration of only 9.4 percent, versus 90.6 percent for the rest of the world.

“Africa is about to miss a great development opportunity in much the same way [it] lost on the industrial revolution, unless serious and truly committed efforts are made by Africa to address the rapid expansion on the Internet-user gap between Africa and industrialized countries,” he told AFK Insider.

Other interview insights from AFK Insider:
“While studying in the U.S. during the civil rights struggle, Professor Quaynor was consistently reminded of his African roots and role in the African diaspora. He realized only Africans could liberate and develop Africa, and that the continent’s potential for participation in the global economy was enormous. His continuing studies were spurred on by a desire to acquire knowledge to contribute to his homeland.”

Read the full article...

September 19, 2016 | 0 comments

"The current Internet is not future proof," Dutch Internet pioneer and inductee Kees Neggers told the Internet Hall of Fame.

Neggers spoke plainly about the pros and cons of the modern Internet in a recent interview. Though it's hard to imagine a world without the Internet, he said, it was never designed to be the global network it has become.

It's time for a pragmatic look at the changes needed, Neggers added. "The original ARPAnet and, later, TCP/IP protocols, were not designed for the global network we have today. There are a lot of technical problems in the protocol itself, which are at the very heart of the Internet."

He gave several examples. First, the Internet has one address space, worldwide. "That makes routing complicated because you have to know how to go from where you are, to any place in the world, in a flat address space," he explained. "That does not scale."

Moreover, the Internet lacks security. "The original designers assumed this network would be used by people who could trust each other," Neggers said. "Today, the Internet is open to anybody. It would be nice to have built-in security features, but there are none."

Also, he noted, the Internet was not designed to deal with real-time...

September 9, 2016 | 0 comments

A key figure in the development of the Internet in Europe and the Netherlands, Kees Neggers found himself at the center of the so-called "Protocol Wars" of the 80s and 90s.

Neggers’ strategy at that time was to focus on what worked, collaborating with a host of agencies around the globe with a “win-win” philosophy. In this way, he would lead the effort to create the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) backbone in Europe. "Global networking needs global collaboration,” he asserted when, in 2013, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

"I was able to bridge technical people and policy people all over the world,” he told the Internet Hall of Fame in a recent interview. “In doing so, I always focused on creating organizational structures that would last, that would create win-win situations."

Neggers' involvement began as deputy director of the Computer Centre at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (now Radboud University), which became the Dutch node for IBM's European Academic and Research Network (EARN).

He became EARN director for the Netherlands. "As a result, I was involved in all areas of networking—local, national and international," he said.

The country was in an economic slump in the early 80s, when academic computer centers were focused mostly on mainframes. “There was not enough...

August 16, 2016 | 0 comments

The Guardian’s ‘Chips with Everything’ podcast has launched a four-part series that explores the United Nation’s July resolution that considers Internet access to be a basic human right.

The issue has been debated in the UN General Assembly going back as far as 2009, and finally passed last month as an extension of Article 19 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

From the podcast series introduction: “While the decision may seem straightforward, with the complex nature of human rights law considered, the resolution is far from simple. To investigate, we talk to United Nations’ special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye; the co-creator of the Internet, Vint Cerf; and the human rights lawyer and founder of Adam Wagner.”

Part two of the four-part series is available now. Follow the Internet Hall of Fame blog to find out when parts three and four are published.

August 8, 2016 | 0 comments

Thirty years ago, a visionary effort by Dr. Glenn Ricart to interconnect the computer networks of all the departments at the University of Maryland, College Park, wasn’t very well received.

It was the first time computer networks on a college campus had been “interconnected,” and while this may have sounded valuable in theory, the real-world application didn’t show as much benefit in practice as Dr. Ricart – the university’s academic chief information officer at the time – had hoped.

“It turns out that the philosophers didn’t really want to talk to the chemical engineers or the business school professors. And the business school professors didn’t want to talk to the philosophers or to the engineers. They wanted to talk to the business professors at other schools,” Dr. Ricart recalled.

This was an “ah-ha” moment for Dr. Ricart – one that set the stage for a series of events that would lead first to the slightly surreptitious networking of colleges and academic organizations across the U.S. (more on that later), and then to the addition of commercial institutions to that network.

Dr. Ricart will tell you these events were accidental or lucky. “Half of it is being in the right place at the right time,” he asserted. But this is only partly true. At every turn – at every obstacle or perceived misstep – Dr. Ricart seized the opportunity to adapt and adjust his vision.

“The focus of my work during the 1980s was interconnecting people and the...