One Inductee Reflects on the Internet’s Loss of Innocence

September 21, 2018
Photo of Tadao Takahashi

The evolution of the Internet and its uses has caught one of its pioneers by surprise. 

A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Tadao Takahashi, is the founder and former director of Brazil’s National Research Network, one of the country’s earliest academic networks. His efforts to facilitate coordination among academic networks led to the development of what would become the foundation of Brazil’s Internet.

Citing its widespread use by government and non-government organizations for both benevolent and dark uses, Takashai said in a recent video interview that the Internet’s development has gone far beyond the passing fad he and his collaborators expected it to be. 

“The Internet today is not the kind of benign phenomenon we thought it would be 25 or 30 years ago, especially when you have those revelations from Edward Snowden….regarding the way the NSA was running a full-scale espionage operation,” he said. “The fact is, the Internet lost its innocence. You have to look at it as an incredible tool for both good and bad.”