By holding Internet leadership roles in academia, government, business, and non-governmental organizations, Ivan Moura Campos significantly influenced the development of Brazil’s Internet and enabled many other countries to adopt his approaches.
Campos launched his career with degrees from institutions in his native Brazil and a PhD in computer science from UCLA. His expertise and teaching roles at the Federal University of Minas Gerais led to administrative positions, including, in 1987, as the executive director of the university’s Research Development Foundation, which helps researchers seek grant funding and manage the funding they receive. This work gave Campos further insight into the networking needs of academics and expanded his understanding of both technology and business.
The moment Campos made Internet history was a critical inflection point in the Internet’s development, when the largely governmental and academic network needed to evolve into a global commercial resource. Campos had a strong understanding of how the Internet could serve people, and wanted to establish a model that would help the Internet grow in size, complexity, and bandwidth to do just that. At a crucial meeting of the Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Networking in 1996, he introduced what is now called the “Campos Spiral,” a model of overlapping partnerships that would help facilitate this growth. This gave the National Science Foundation and networking community the foundation needed to get funding to bring the model to life.
Funding was one challenge of creating a viable commercial Internet. Another was the lack of competition for telecommunications services caused by state-held telecommunications monopolies like those in Brazil at the time. As Secretary of Science and Technology of the State of Minas Gerais from 1997 to 1998, and then Secretary of Information Technology of Brazil from 1993 to 1997, Campos facilitated policies that legally circumvented the Brazilian state telecommunications organization and allowed a competitive marketplace for private Internet Service Providers to develop. As a result, thousands of new Brazilian Internet-based businesses were created as the nation quickly ramped up Internet and e-mail use.
During these early days of the Internet, Campos launched an initiative that created the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), which registers domains under .br. He chaired this committee into the late 1990s and early 2000s. Campos understood that in order to best serve the needs of any organization or person who might use the Internet, CGI.br would require a deliberately cooperative structure. The multistakeholder model he developed in Brazil set an example for Latin America and, later, for organizations around the world.
In 2000, as a result of his innovative leadership in the expansion of the Internet, Campos was elected to the board of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) where he soon suggested a new shared expense structure to help ease tensions between ICANN and its constituencies. He was subsequently appointed to chair the finance committee.
Campos went on to co-found two successful Internet companies, Akwan Information Technologies and Hekima.