Global forum convened Internet leaders to discuss the future of the Internet

The first luminaries inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame

Geneva, 02 May 2012 – Technologists, policy makers, corporate representatives, and Internet enthusiasts spent four days from April 21st – 24th at Global INET in Geneva, with discussions on the future of the Internet. The event was hosted by the Internet Society, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Global INET agenda addressed important topics such as freedom of information and speech; Internet governance; growing the global Internet; and harnessing the Internet for economic transformation. The keynote speeches were a highlight of the event, which was attended by nearly 800. The conference also included a ceremony to announce the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame inductees.

In his opening keynote, Dr Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA detailed the events in the early days of the Internet and, comparing it with human development, stated that the Internet has only reached its teenage years. Kleinrock also pointed out that we will be unable to predict which new applications will come “out of the blue” – and this is the great thing about the opportunities offered by the Internet.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made two predictions in his keynote speech. The first concerned the massive Internet connectivity that we can expect to see in the coming years. His more daring prediction referenced the impact of online collaboration and storytelling on Hollywood and suggested that it faces the same fate as the traditional Encyclopedia Britannica, which was recently edged out of the print market by online alternatives, such as Wikipedia.

In his speech, Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, presented his views on the power of the Internet today and praised how the Internet connects people and things in ways that we could not have imagined ten or twenty years ago. He provided insights on the role the Internet and broadband is already playing in making the world a better place.

Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO of the Internet Society, reinforced the importance of an open Internet in her welcome address, stating, “We have all worked hard to develop a free, open and accessible Internet, one that is not walled, not censored and not fractured. And we must continue working on this.” She encouraged participants to be vigilant in defending the Internet’s open principles and the multistakeholder model.

Francis Gurry, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), spoke to the audience about one of the greatest challenges the Internet faces, which is the question of Intellectual Property and the creative works the Internet makes possible in such an unprecedented way. Gurry defined the mission of Intellectual Property as: “A balancing mechanism for all of the often competing rights and equities that occur in and around the act of creation or innovation.”

Mitchell Baker, Leader of the Mozilla Project, highlighted creation and connectedness as key elements of the Internet. She stated, ”Fundamental principles that went into designing the Internet, like connectedness, not controlling who or how, not trying to foresee what is going to happen, and separating out the ability to connect from actual content, is important today to solve the big issues of our time.”

Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist and one of the founders of the Internet Society, reflected on the early years of the Internet and starting the Internet Society. He reinforced the importance of the open philosophy for the future of the Internet. Cerf also stated, “To keep the Internet growing, it is imperative that the newer IPv6 protocols be widely implemented and used. This will give us the freedom to expand the Internet well beyond the confines of its original 32-bit address space.“

Inaugural Internet Hall of Fame Recognizes Landmark Achievements of Internet Leaders

In conjunction with its 20th anniversary celebration, the Internet Society established an annual Internet Hall of Fame program to honour pioneers, leaders, and visionaries who have made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet. The historic inauguration of the Internet Hall of Fame inductees took place on the evening of the first day of the event.

The Pioneers Circle recognized individuals who were instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet: Paul Baran, Vint Cerf, Danny Cohen, Steve Crocker, Donald Davies, Elizabeth Feinler, Charles Herzfeld, Robert Kahn, Peter Kirstein, Leonard Kleinrock, John Klensin, Jon Postel, Louis Pouzin and Lawrence Roberts.

The Innovators category recognized those who made outstanding technical, commercial or policy advances and helped to expand the Internet’s reach: Mitchell Baker, Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, Van Jacobson, Lawrence Landweber, Paul Mockapetris, Craig Newmark, Raymond Tomlinson, Linus Torvalds and Philip Zimmermann.

The Global Connectors made significant contributions to the global growth and use of the Internet: Randy Bush, Kilnam Chon, Al Gore, Nancy Hafkin, Geoff Huston, Brewster Kahle, Daniel Karrenberg, Toru Takahashi and Tan Tin Wee.

In conjunction with the announcement, a website, www.internethalloffame.org, has been launched to showcase the inductees and their contributions.

About the Internet Society


The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit: http://www.internetsociety.org

Media contact: Wende Cover, cover@isoc.org, +1-703-439-2773