Google’s Vint Cerf condemns death of open internet

17 Dec 2010

One of the internet’s founding fathers, Vint Cerf, has condemned the decision by the UN to only allow governments to sit on a working group to improve the influential Internet Governance Forum.

Vint Cerf, who is chief internet evangelist at Google, played a key role in the creation of TCP/IP protocols which led to the internet as we know it.

However, Cerf has hit out at a decision by the UN Committee of Science and Technology that only governments would be able to sit on a working group to examine improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

The move has also been condemned by the Internet Governance Caucus, the Internet Society (ISOC), the International Chamber of Commerce and other organisations who have written a joint letter to voice their objection.

A joint letter has been issued and an online petition to mobilise opposition has been started.

Cerf’s up

“The beauty of the internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group,” Cerf said.

“Its governance is bottoms up — with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world.

“This model has not only made the internet very open — a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere — it’s also prevented vested interests from taking control,” Cerf said.

Cerf has signed the online petition against the UN’s decision on Google’s behalf because he and Google believe there should be no government monopoly on internet governance.

“The current bottoms-up, open approach works — protecting users from vested interests and enabling rapid innovation. Let’s fight to keep it that way,” Cerf said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years