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Father of the net weighs in on net neutrality
May 24, 2006 8:01 AM   Subscribe

The inventor of the internets (no, not Al), weighs in on the topic of net neutrality, previously discussed here, here, here, and here. (hope I didn't miss anyone)
posted by allkindsoftime (32 comments total)

 
He's the not the inventor of the Internet(s); he's the developer of the World Wide Web. Big difference.
posted by grubi at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2006


Yeah...I realized that about a second after I posted. That's what I get for trying to make a joke. Sorry.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2006


The word "internets" is being used more and more, I suspect it will be in the OED and take on a characteristic non-pejorative usage within our lifetime. The etymology will be "interestings".

Anyway it's good to see TBL do the right thing on NN.
posted by stbalbach at 8:35 AM on May 24, 2006


OIC. AOK.
posted by grubi at 8:44 AM on May 24, 2006


I do wonder what Len Kleinrock and the other OG internet guys think of net neutrality.
posted by mathowie at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2006


The word "internets" is being used more and more, I suspect it will be in the OED and take on a characteristic non-pejorative usage within our lifetime.

I, on the other hand, suspect people will get bored with it before the year is out and it will end up in the Museum of Discarded Internet Memes, to be hauled out and tossed into MeFi threads every once in a while by people who can't bear to let anything go. (Mahir! I kiss you!!!)
posted by languagehat at 9:06 AM on May 24, 2006


(Can we stop making the Al Gore joke? He never claimed to have invented the internet. And, anyway, it's been done to death. Seriously. You linked the Wikipedia article: Read something about the guy...)
posted by chasing at 9:27 AM on May 24, 2006


Jesus. Christ. On. IRC.
But the real question is what, if anything, did Gore actually do to create the modern Internet? According to Vincent Cerf, a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom who's been called the Father of the Internet, "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."

The inventor of the Mosaic Browser, Marc Andreesen, credits Gore with making his work possible. He received a federal grant through Gore's High Performance Computing Act. The University of Pennsylvania's Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet "would not be where it is today."

Joseph E. Traub, a computer science professor at Columbia University, claims that Gore "was perhaps the first political leader to grasp the importance of networking the country"
For all intents and purposes, the Internet that we know today exists because Al Gore saw the potential of this little research network, and pushed a great deal of support and funding.

If Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, he did the next best thing -- he kept the research labs funded so they could keep working on it. It was Al Gore's pushing, and funding, that played a key role in moving this little research project known as Arpanet into the real world. Al Gore was on this in the fucking 1970s. Al Gore was pushing internetworking on a national and international scale back when Tim Berners-Lee was busy writing typesetting software for DG Nash.

So, kindly shut the fuck up about this. Without Al Gore, you wouldn't be here snarking about his work on the Internet.
posted by eriko at 9:50 AM on May 24, 2006 [3 favorites]


Thank you, eriko. Now if someone will just haul Declan McCullough out for beatings.
posted by RakDaddy at 9:56 AM on May 24, 2006


I did read his Wiki, dumbass. It says:

"In 1999, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Late Edition on March 9, 1999, Gore said:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

He didn't say he took the intiative in paving the way for the internet, or funding the creation of the internet, but that he took the initiative in creating it.

And please don't act like I'm the only person to ever snark at this: "This statement has been the target of satire and criticism. Much of this criticism has been based on the interpretation that Gore was claiming to have invented the Internet."

You don't need to educate me on what he did like I had no idea. He did great things for the internet. And he also said something quite stupid.

About the internets.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:30 AM on May 24, 2006


The Internet != The Arpanet. Look it up.
posted by grubi at 10:42 AM on May 24, 2006


But we're talking about The Internets.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on May 24, 2006


Just to clarify one misconception: what's being sold here -- if the telcos get their way -- isn't bandwidth, it's you. The telcos consider you, their customer, to be an asset on their books and they want to maximize the revenue they get from you, and because of you. They aren't planning to charge content providers for the use of their pipes, they're planning to charge them for access to you.

The "why should content providers get access to my pipes for free" argument is drivel. It's not free, you've paid for it. Basically, they want to get paid twice for the same service. You would pay to access the site, and the site would pay for access to you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2006


First off Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn are considered the fathers of the internet. What you have is the inventor of the World Wide Web, an application that runs on the internet. The way a car runs on the road.

btw this is what they think of Al's claims
No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.
posted by skallas at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2006


>>You don't need to educate me on what he did like I had no idea.

Obviously someone has to.
During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
Yeah, its pretty clear from the context he's talking about his work in Congress not suddenly claiming he's a engineer who invented the internet out of the blue, but the usual suspects will believe the usual crap. Funny how they never post the quote in context.
posted by skallas at 11:16 AM on May 24, 2006


If George Bush says "he created jobs" do you also think he is the head of 1,000 new corporations, fought for the new positions, and personally hired 20,000 Americans this year?
posted by skallas at 11:17 AM on May 24, 2006


skallas and the rest, this has been going on for six years. Anyone who's interested in the facts already knows them. There comes a point when the only people left to make the case to are the ones who refuse to hear it. They need to believe that Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, and there's no way you can take that from them.

On preview: not to undermine your argument, but isn't most of the job growth we've seen a direct result in the increase in the size of government?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:20 AM on May 24, 2006


He's the not the inventor of the Internet(s); he's the developer of the World Wide Web.

Hey, at least it wasn't the non-ironic use of "interweb."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:25 AM on May 24, 2006


Funny how they never post the quote in context.

That would be like, I dunno, posting a clip of the Dean Scream that isn't looped a couple of times to make Dean look like an idiot.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on May 24, 2006


A couple of essential points:

1) He didn't invent the intarweb, but something far, far more fundamental. Don't you find it curious that algorithms are named after him? Think about it. Now think about it some more.

2) In Frank Frazzetta's 1952 comic strip Johnny Comet, the villain is named Al Gore. This is pretty conclusive. Of what, you ask? Well, you would, wouldn't you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2006


I hear that Tim Berners-Lee has weighed in on the topic of net neutrality. Anyone else here similar? I wonder what he might have said.
posted by econous at 11:56 AM on May 24, 2006


That was one crappy article. TBL didn't have anything new to add, though he seems to be looking younger these days. Which is nice. Strange that no one in favor of NN works for the telecos tho.
posted by econous at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2006


languagehat writes "I, on the other hand, suspect people will get bored with it before the year is out and it will end up in the Museum of Discarded Internet Memes"

No kidding, heres hoping it goes the way of the "information superhighway"
posted by Mitheral at 12:28 PM on May 24, 2006


At risk of re-railing this thread, here's a question that's been bugging me since the whole net-neutrality issue came into the open:

As far as I'm aware, there's nothing legally or technically preventing AT&T (or whoever) from throttling transmissions to/from Google and everyone else who hasn't paid AT&T's murrage. With techniques like deep packet inspection, AT&T could also foul up your Vonage calls.

Now I don't want them to do it, but I'm curious. Clearly AT&T wants to do it, so why don't they just unilaterally do it? Clearly it's not because they're afraid of being branded as rat-bastards.
posted by adamrice at 12:59 PM on May 24, 2006


I suppose next you'll try telling me Al Gore never suggested the use of a national "lock-box."
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:04 PM on May 24, 2006


Telecom companies have a long history as licensed monopolies subject to government regulation. While they can technically throttle bandwidth, it's the sort of action that tends to draw anti-trust skepticism.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:06 PM on May 24, 2006


Clearly AT&T wants to do it, so why don't they just unilaterally do it?

First of all they don't want to throttle Google, they want to charge content providers for access to you. (Access which, I repeat, you have already paid for.) In order to do this they'd have to announce the business model, technically implement it and set up their pricing scheme. This is not a slam dunk; the backlash for simply doing it would be huge, spawn an outcry and pressure to create countervailing legislation. So they have to soften up the public and Congress first, so that when it comes it doesn't trigger a reaction. Also, it's no use doing all that if you're going to be smacked down after you invest hundreds of millions to implement it, and everyone in the net industry who isn't an ISP (as well as every consumer whose head didn't come out of a quarry) is fighting back pre-emptively, and demanding that they be prevented from implementing it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:22 PM on May 24, 2006


Hey, adamrice, thanks for introducing me to the word murage (one r): "A toll or tax levied for the building or repairing of town walls." It was "freq. in British sources 1159-1526" according to the OED, but hasn't been used much since then; it's certainly ripe for revival, and I intend to do my part.
posted by languagehat at 1:22 PM on May 24, 2006


George_Spiggott, this goes even beyond charging for access. What the telcos really want is legal recognition of their right to act as gatekeepers of the net. Charging for 'optimal bandwidth' is just the first step. The next step is deciding which content is actually allowed to travel over their pipes and which simply gets blacklisted. The final result will simply be turning the net into something like what television is today where the telcos get together and decide, with advertisers and the government, what you get to watch and when.
posted by nixerman at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2006


Maybe the internets is the correct choice of words. You can be on Verizo-net or Comcastanet or whatever. The burgeoning economy of www2.0 begins. "Log into our internets and see the world!" or "Log into OUR internets and get secure banking" and so on.
posted by robot at 3:38 PM on May 24, 2006


this thread needs a reboot.
posted by cellphone at 4:16 PM on May 24, 2006


Any one mention the single obvious point about "Notice && Notice". No. Oups.

Hit the button. Turn It Off. But not ye
posted by econous at 8:55 PM on May 25, 2006


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