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Vint Cerf, early Web technologists show support for net neutrality

The lobbying battle over net neutrality heated up Monday, as a group of computers scientists involved in the founding of the Internet weighed in in support of the proposed rules.

In a letter (pdf) to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, the self-style Net Pioneers said such rules are necessary to ensure the growth of technology on the Web. And they slammed critics for mischaracterizing the effects of such rules on the Web.

Vint Cerf, who co-designed the communications protocols used for the Internet, wrote that a push for stronger Web access rules would create competition and ensure companies that produce applications for the Web aren’t blocked by the network operators such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

Cerf is currently "chief Internet evangelist" for Google, a company that favors the proposed rules.

“We believe that the existing Internet access landscape in the U.S. provides inadequate choices to discipline the market through facilities-based competition alone,” Cerf, Stephen Crocker, David Reed, Lauren Weinstein and Daniel Lynch wrote in their letter. “Your network neutrality proposals will help protect U.S. Internet users' choices for and freedom to access all available Internet services, worldwide, while still providing for responsible network operation and management practices, including appropriate privacy-preserving protections against denial of service and other attacks.”

They refuted concerns that new rules would prevent carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Time Warner from managing their network systems to control congestion.

“One persistent myth is that ‘network neutrality’ somehow requires that all packets be treated identically, that no prioritization or quality of service is permitted under such a framework, and that network neutrality would forbid charging users higher fees for faster speed circuits,” they wrote. “To the contrary, we believe such features are permitted within a 'network neutral' framework, so long they are not applied in an anti-competitive fashion.”

The missive follows a similar letter of support from high-tech heavyweights Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook, Twitter and some network operators including Echostar and XO Communications.

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 19, 2009; 4:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

...and THIS "Internet pioneer" (I worked on the early Internet at Stanford at the same time as Cerf, and then founded the world's first wireless ISP -- bringing the Internet to rural areas that would otherwise be unserved) says that regulation is a terrible idea and would kill innovation. By the way, it is worth noting that Cerf went on to work for Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom (the perpetrator of the world's biggest Ponzi scheme until Madoff stole the crown) and then for Google (the most widespread invader of personal privacy on the Internet; in fact, this page dispenses its tracking cookies).

Brett Glass
Owner and Founder, LARIAT
The world's first wireless ISP (WISP)

Posted by: squirma | October 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

...and THIS "Internet pioneer" (I worked on the early Internet at Stanford at the same time as Cerf, and then founded the world's first wireless ISP -- bringing the Internet to rural areas that would otherwise be unserved) says that regulation is a terrible idea and would kill innovation. By the way, it is worth noting that Cerf went on to work for Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom (the perpetrator of the world's biggest Ponzi scheme until Madoff stole the crown) and then for Google (the most widespread invader of personal privacy on the Internet; in fact, this page dispenses its tracking cookies).

Brett Glass
Owner and Founder, LARIAT
The world's first wireless ISP (WISP)

Posted by: squirma | October 19, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

squirma, Cerf received the Turing Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is widely known as the "father of the Internet."

Others who signed that letter include people who developed TCP/IP and UDP - people who are the rock stars of the Internet.

Cerf went on to work for MCI (which, BTW, had offices locally until the meltdown) and worked on the first commercial Internet email program.

What you think he has to do with Bernie Ebbers misdeeds (whose Worldcom eventually purchased MCI) - misdeeds related to accounting scandals, not technology innovation - is really beyond me.

Cerf is an extremely accomplished and respected person, and it would be a shame if some here read your post without realizing who he is or how much he has accomplished.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 20, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

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