vint cerf on 3 Oct 2000 11:16:17 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Al Gore and the Internet

Dear Toni,

Internet has the capacity to become a primary infrastructure
for communication during the 21st century, overtaking the
telephone and absorbing the mass media. I wish it could be
maintained as a neutral infrastructure - in the sense that
any telephone can call any other. Even in the telephone system,
there are inconsistencies with that vision (such as blocking
of certain numbers in businesses that don't want employees
wasting telephone time and money on 900 number services in the 
US). The Internet as an infrastructure has to be supported and
maintained and that costs money. At present, the best engine
for achieving that is to make Internet a commercially supported
vehicle. Even national governments around the world could not
afford to pour into Internet the level of resources that the
private sector has provided and will likely continue to provide.

That this should lead to some competition is inevitable and
healthy (e.g. driving prices down and service quality up).
Internet is both a manifestation of and an instrument of
globalization. That is not always well-received as people
and cultures feel the effects of interaction well beyond 
their historical boundaries. But we cannot put the genie back
into the bottle. That the world is interlinked in myriad ways
is fact and growing more so. That we share spaceship Earth in
complex and intimate ways is also fact. 

The Internet Society and the Internet Societal Task Force 
see the Internet's beneficial potential and wishes to help 
erode barriers to Internet access for everyone. At the same time, 
ISOC members and ISTF participants also see the potential for abuse.
Through various means, they participate in the dialog surrounding
the protection of individual rights and interests as we make
use of this new medium. 

I think we cannot run away from or hide from the expansion of
the Internet so we need to embrace and help guide its evolution
into fruitful and constructive paths. I believe Vice President
Gore would find some resonance with these views.


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