The year was 1995, there was no Internet yet in West Africa, and Jean Marie Noagbodji was frustrated.
For two years, the small computer company he headed, CAFE Informatique, had tried to create a network for business and banks in Lome, the capital of Togo. It had hired two outside experts, but neither had been able to develop a workable system for live banking online.
So, in desperation, Noagbodji turned to a young computer engineer who, while barely out of graduate school, had shown remarkable abilities as an intern with the company.
The intern, Adiel Akplogan, was promised a full-time job if he could succeed where others had failed.
“I worked night and day for three days, fixed the technical issue they were having and came up with an online banking prototype based on French Minitel technology,” Akplogan recalled. “When the CEO looked at it, he was practically crying. It was the start of our journey to the Internet in Togo.”
It was also an early milestone in a stellar career that has brought Akplogan entry into the Internet Hall of Fame.
From that first local network, Akplogan went on to become a giant in the world of computer networks, a pioneer in bringing...
With COVID-19 throwing the digital divide into sharper focus, a 2019 Internet Hall of Fame inductee has some long- and short-term ideas about how to address the problem.
A former assistant Secretary of Commerce, Larry Irving served for seven years as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and was one of the main architects of telecommunications policy in the Clinton White House.
In an opinion piece published Aug. 31 by Morning Consult, Irving offered the Federal Communications Commission several...
One 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame did not expect to go global quite so quickly.
In the early 2000s, while pursuing studies and research opportunities abroad, Klaas Wierenga developed eduroam, a free, secure, international wi-fi roaming service for academic communities.
In a recent video interview, Wierenga acknowledged that he did not anticipate his creation to grow exponentially, even with the international research community’s hyperconnected nature.
“Innovation is almost always to…scratch an itch. It is a problem you are facing and trying to come up with a solution for,” he said.
That itch -- the need for reliable, secure Internet access when conducting research in new environments -- is now scratched in more than 100 countries across every continent but Antarctica.
Klaas Wierenga could do without Big Brother peeking over his shoulder while surfing the Internet.
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Wierenga developed eduroam, a free, secure, international wi-fi roaming service for academic and research communities that is available in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Citing the Edward Snowden case, Wierenga said in a recent interview that one of his greatest concerns about the future of the Internet is how frequently governments monitor individuals’ web activity.
“The extent to which governments spy on their own and other citizens is staggering. That is the single most thing that worries me about the Internet,” Wierenga said. “We all as an Internet community should work very hard to make sure those governments are unable to prevent the Internet from being what it is, has been, and continues to be: a place where, if you have a good idea, you can make it happen.”
To Tim Berners-Lee, the ongoing global pandemic has further highlighted the need for ordinary citizens to push towards ending the digital divide.
Part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, Berners-Lee is the founder of the World Wide Web and wrote the first web client and server.
In a column recently published by The Guardian, Berners-Lee reiterated his belief that his creation is meant for everyone’s use and that public investment is critical to facilitate that goal.
He writes: “As Covid-19 forces huge change to our lives, we have an opportunity for big, bold action that recognizes that, as with electricity in the last century and postal services before that, the web is an essential utility that governments and business should combine to deliver as a basic right."