At age 13, Carlos Afonso, growing up near the banks of the Parana River in Brazil, discovered a knack for fixing radios. It was an inherited skill he attributes to his Italian grandfather, who he remembers could fix just about any machine.
It wasn't long before Carlos and some friends leveraged these skills to launch a clandestine radio station. "We broadcast music and talk programs and were able to reach neighboring cities." It was a brief endeavor, but one that started Afonso on a life-long path supporting a belief that everyone deserves equal access to the tools of communication.
In 1964 Afonso began attending the University of São Paulo. His parents were of modest means, but he notes, "my mother managed to gather enough resources so I could study naval engineering.” While there, he had his first encounter with computers – the early punch-card variety.
In Afonso’s first years at the university, the Brazilian military took power in Brazil and established a dictatorship hostile to new ideas and democracy itself. Unlike many of his peers, Afonso, whose studies were supported by the Navy, was allowed to continue attending. He remembers a Navy official telling him, “It is impossible that a good student like you has a passion for resisting the government!” That official, it seems, wasn’t aware of Afonso’s passion for democratic values and his commitment to the...
By Dan Rosenheim
Sandwiched between China and northern India, and just east of Nepal, the kingdom of Bhutan historically ranked among the world’s most insular states, largely free from international communications – and even outside visitors.
But the 21st century has swept change into the small mountain nation, bringing cars, highrises, sprawl and, perhaps most significantly, the Internet.
And no person contributed more to the web’s development in Bhutan than Philip Smith, a native-born Scot who has spent much of his professional career helping strengthen and connect Internet service in less-developed parts of the world.
Smith has brought his special expertise in connecting networks to many Asian Pacific nations, as well as to parts of Africa and the Middle East, and that work in turn has brought Smith admission to the Internet Hall of Fame.
For Smith, the Internet’s great importance lies in the economic development possibilities it brings – the chance to improve the quality of people’s lives.
“I don’t really care if someone wants to get access to YouTube,” he said during an interview. “What I consider important is that the economy flows to make things better for local people.”
He cites by way of an esoteric, yet meaningful, example a medicinal parasite...
On April 6, 2022, Tadao Takahashi, 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most important figures in the creation of the Brazilian Internet, passed away in his home city of Campinas, Brazil. Takahashi was instrumental in the earliest planning and deployment of the Internet in Brazil and for more than three decades he dedicated his life to furthering Internet access in the country and beyond.
Takahashi was the founder of the National Education and Research Network (RNP) and the first director of the Brazilian academic network. He was a key player in the 1995 creation of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), an organization that continues to advocate for the coordination and integration of Internet service initiatives in Brazil. In 1998, he founded the Brazilian chapter of the Internet Society.
A true collaborator, Takahashi noted in his 2017 Internet Hall of Fame acceptance speech, “There are more than three hundred people who I could recall individually and with whom I worked with for ten to twelve years deploying the Brazilian Internet.” Through his work he fostered international relationships...
“He was who he was from the time he was four.” That’s one thing Trudy Maurer has to say about her son, the Internet security expert Daniel Kaminsky, who died at the age of 42 in 2021 and was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2021.
What Maurer means, in part, is that who her son was was a technology genius, and that powerful intellectual skill set was clear from his earliest days. But she also means that Kaminsky was a real, warm human being who cared deeply about the impacts technology made on other humans.
“His lexicon was computers,” says Maurer. “But he had a foot in both worlds. He could be with people, he could be with a computer. He could work three days without sleep but he was able to relate in a way that other people would understand.”
Kaminsky is best known for his discovery of a security flaw in the Internet and his significant role in coordinating a solution for a potential global tech catastrophe. He was working for a Seattle security firm when he found the DNS fault. The Kaminsky Bug, as it became known, made the Internet vulnerable to hackers. Attackers would have been able to create significant online mayhem with cache-poisoning activities such as intercepting email, bypassing...
For computer science students at UCLA, COVID-19 has had one silver lining: the opportunity to interact with multiple Internet Hall of Fame inductees via Zoom during class.
2021 Internet Hall of Fame inductee's Lixia Zhang and George Varghese incorporated live Zoom interviews for their students with five fellow Internet Hall of Fame inductees over the course of the fall 2020 quarter.
The guests included UCLA Distinguished Professor and 2012 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Leonard Kleinrock, who developed the mathematical theory of packet-switching that underpins the Internet and directed the transmission of the first Internet message in 1969; UCLA alumnus and 2012 inductee Vint Cerf, the co-inventor of transmission control protocol/Internet protocol; 2013 inductee Bob Metcalfe, who invented ethernet technologies used in local...