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March 29, 2017 | 0 comments

One of the Web’s original founders is concerned about the direction his creation is taking.

Twenty-eight years ago this month, British computer scientist and Internet Hall of Fame inductee Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his proposal for what is now the World Wide Web.

In a column published recently by The Guardian, Berners-Lee acknowledged that in the nearly three decades since, three particular trends have emerged that he believes may jeopardize the web’s ability to be a tool used for the greater good.

Specifically at issue for Berners-Lee are the widespread collection of personal data, the ease with which incorrect information is rapidly disseminated and the lack of transparency and oversight when it comes to political ads. Although he admits that the problems – and the necessary solutions – are complex, he is quick to point out that there are ways to address these issues moving forward.

“We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology such as personal ‘data pods’ if needed and exploring alternative revenue models such as...

March 20, 2017 | 0 comments

An early network pioneer of Sri Lanka’s Internet, Abhaya Induruwa has turned his attention in recent years to Internet of Things (IoT) security and forensics.

“My line of argument is that the Internet is a fantastic thing for probably 99.5 percent of the user population,” he said. “But there is this small minority who will create problems for everyone. This is going to exacerbate with the advent of the Internet of Things where billions of devices get connected to the Internet.  Some of the less secure IoT devices will become an easy target for hackers and provide attack surfaces involving millions, if not billions, of compromised IoT devices.  When something bad happens we have to investigate, and forensics will be an area that is quite important. Forensics is important after the event, but we also have to prevent attacks before they happen so security is very important too.”

As head of the Centre for Cybercrime and Security Innovation in the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing at the Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom, Induruwa says much of his work today focuses on smart mobile devices and the IoT, which he says present the next wave of disruptions, threats and opportunities.

During a recent keynote speech to the 34th National IT Conference of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Induruwa reminded participants of the need to prepare for what he said is the beginning of “the evolution of the Internet to the...

March 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Getting universities and governments to fund new programs is never easy. Throw in a few civil wars and even the most dogged of academics might be deterred.

Not Abhaya Induruwa. While other academics in Sri Lanka were fighting for the basic “blackboard and chalk” type resources in the late 1980s, he leveraged his unique position as head of a new computing department to bring data communications—and eventually the Internet—to the embattled island nation.

The first student to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in electrical engineering from the University of Sri Lanka (now the University of Moratuwa), Induruwa said he got his first taste of computing in the 1970s when the school installed an IBM mainframe system with punched card input. He was introduced to even larger systems, “with remote job entry and all that,” while working on his PhD at the Imperial College in London.

He returned to Sri Lanka in 1980, and three years later was appointed to set up the first computer science and engineering department at the University of Moratuwa, the only department of its kind in a Sri Lankan university.

“That is how everything began,” he explained recently to the Internet Hall of Fame.

Although most of even his close colleagues didn’t feel the Internet was necessarily a requirement of higher education claiming, “there are more basic things that people needed.” He said he had an energetic young staff...

February 27, 2017 | 0 comments

A Kickstarter-style campaign may be the key to advancing Nepal’s scientific community.

After waiting more than three years for government assistance, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Mahabir Pun turned to the public to help make his dream of a National Innovation Center a reality.

Since the campaign’s launch almost six months ago, Nepalis worldwide have donated 50 million rupees towards the project’s goal of 500 million rupees for construction and start-up costs.  

Eservice has agreed to transfer the money without commission and Deerwalk Foundation will match contributions made through gofundme.com.

The center, which is slated to take five years to complete, aims to help Nepali researchers in product development to advance the country’s economic development. According to the World Bank, developed countries spend up to 4 percent of their gross domestic product on scientific innovation and technological advancement, while developing countries, such as Nepal, expend around 2 percent.

In an interview...

February 16, 2017 | 0 comments

In chronicling billions of websites and digital files, Brewster Kahle may now have earned himself the title of official historian of the Internet.

As founder and director of the Internet Archive, a not-for-profit, free digital library that archives Internet documents and makes them universally accessible, Kahle has assembled a digital collection of more than 4,000,000 e-books, millions of concerts and films, and 279 billion archived web pages. Everything is free to the public.

But Kahle has done more than archive – he’s helped establish a definitive history of the creation of the Internet, and in the process, has become a leading advocate in the effort to keep it free and accessible.

Kahle has been involved in Internet technology since the late 80s. In 1989, he invented the Internet's first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server). In 1996, he started his analytics firm, Alexa Internet, which he sold to Amazon in 1999. That same year, he founded the Internet Archive, and in 2012, he was inducted into the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame for his contributions.

As the Internet Hall of Fame opens nominations for the 2017 awards, we caught up with Kahle to talk not only about his continued mission with...