Internet co-creator Cerf debunks 'myth' that US runs it

Apr 24, 2014 by Natalia Ramos
Google vice-president Vint Cerf delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the "NETmundial – Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 23, 2014

The Google executive considered to be one of the fathers of the Internet on Thursday debunked what he called the "myth" that it is controlled by the United States.

While America played an outsized role in how the Internet was run when it was founded decades ago, that has long since ceased to be the case, Vint Cerf told AFP on the sidelines of NetMundial, a conference in Brazil on Internet governance.

"The USA doesn't control the Internet—that's a myth," Cerf said in Sao Paulo.

"It may have when I was running the program 40 years ago, yes. But not anymore," the pioneering computer scientist said during a break in the two-day international gathering.

Cerf said the United States does still play a dominant role in the domain name system but that is one "they have said they are prepared to eliminate," he said.

NetMundial was convened to discuss ways to craft a new system of Internet governance.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff called the meeting, following the furor sparked by allegations of US spying revealed in documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff's own communications were targeted by the National Security Agency, prompting the Brazilian leader to call on the United Nations last year to oversee a new global legal system to govern the Internet.

The meeting also aims to discuss how to limit Internet abuses and make online communication more transparent.

How the web is managed and how IP addresses work

'Inclusive, transparent and accountable'

A draft roadmap expected to be approved at the event said the Internet should be "inclusive, transparent and accountable" serving global development and human rights while guarding against "mass and arbitrary surveillance (which) undermines trust in the Internet."

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel said Washington was throwing its support behind the proposals for a revamped system.

"Nobody should doubt our commitment to a multi-stakeholder vision of governance of the Internet and our support for NetMundial," said Daniel.

Rousseff has said she feels encouraged by Washington's readiness to replace its institutional links to California-based ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the Internet's governing authority.

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the world wide web, delivers a speech during "NETmundial –Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 23, 2014

In its place would come a global institution using a "multi-stakeholder" model. But some countries, including China and Russia, prefer oversight of the Internet's technical functions via a group of governments or an intergovernmental organization.

Online pioneer Tim Berners Lee, one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, told participants mutual understanding and peace "depends on an open Internet."

Participants also want to establish how to close a digital divide with almost two-thirds of the world's population still not online.

Globally, the United Nations estimates 2.7 billion people are connected to the Internet. While that is up on 2.3 billion in 2012 and only 1.15 billion in 2007, it still means some five billion people are not connected.

"This meeting is an important contribution, but it's not the end of the story," Cerf said.

Explore further: Brazil leader wants Internet to be run 'by all' (Update 2)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Apr 24, 2014

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

Apr 23, 2014

Brazil's Congress on Tuesday passed comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy in what some have likened to a web-user's bill of rights, after stunning revelations its own president was targeted by US ...

Recommended for you

Kickstarter suspends privacy router campaign

19 hours ago

Kickstarter has suspended an anonymizing router from its crowdfunding site. By Sunday, the page for "anonabox: A Tor hardware router" carried an extra word "(Suspended)" in parentheses with a banner below ...

Facebook unfriends federal drug agency

Oct 17, 2014

(AP)—Facebook wants assurances from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it's not operating any more fake profile pages as part of ongoing investigations.

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

_ilbud
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2014
As the US sinks into third world irrelevance it's dead hand must be removed from the tiller. Who knows maybe they'll get bored playing at militarism and eventually leave the nineteenth century, doesn't look likely.
Bob Osaka
1 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
Snowden's allegations are blatantly true and false. The NSA spies on everybody. Not just specific individuals, everybody. Every keystroke on every computer connected to the internet has been and is currently being recorded, along with every text ever sent by cell, every fax, every phone call, every TV broadcast, every radio show. Encrypted communications are decrypted. That's the job. The problem is so much being recorded it is not normally usable.
If you knew that someday all the information would be declassified, would you change your behavior? Your grandchildren or great grandchildren may one day view what you have viewed, read your rants, listen to your music, learn of you affairs. Your progeny will one day judge you, how shall they remember you?
History is being recorded in a way as never before. Why should you fear the truth of your character in you own words and actions being seen by future generations? Would you prefer the NSA to erase everything about you?
aksdad
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
Yes, by all means let's take internet "governance" away from the people who have had the biggest role in its development--and their expertise--and hand it to international politicians and bureaucrats who put their wide ranging and often conflicting political ideals ahead of practicality. That should work about as well as the U.N. does.

Or, put more simply, don't fix what ain't broke.
tadchem
not rated yet Apr 25, 2014
Too much control of anything placed into too few hands is a recipe for disaster. The power of the Internet lies in its diversity and adaptability that enable it to adapt to changing circumstances far faster than any human being or bureaucratic institution could.
The oxymoronic truth is that for the Internet, "Anarchy Rules!'
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2014
Yet another demonstration of the fact that "science" cannot be trusted in anything it says. A single statement, without proof or evidence, by an individual is taken to be absolute verification of a claim. The process in its actuality is not shown to indiate that U.S. control is not exercised. Vint Cerf merely orders those in attendance to believe the U.S. does not control the internet and the dullards automatically buy it. Just like all the other lies "science" dispenses.
A point, note the patent deceit of the title and similar titles that speak of "debunking". To begin with, "debunking" is disputing "bunko", which is known lies peddled for personal gain. A proper term for cases where a statement has proliferated but is not intended as a money making scheme is to "disprove", "dispel" or even "invalidate". But, the angry, deviate malcontents and misfits who make up such a large portion, if not the majority of "science" devotees only ask for someone to hate.