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Happy Birthday Internet

Surely no invention in the history of humanity can have changed the world as quickly as the one you’re looking at now. The Internet was 30 years old on January 1.

Anyone over 30 will have seen extraordinary changes in how we communicate and do business over that time. Those born since then and growing up as so-called digital natives will struggle to imagine what the world was like before so many of us logged on as part of our daily routine.

Google asked a man who was there, Vint Cerf, to write a post at their blog to celebrate the anniversary.

Cerf records the ‘great adventure’ that started with the testing of packet switching for a US military programme. The first problem they hit was the lack of a common language in which networks could talk to each other. So they came up with Transmission Control Protocol or TCP. This was soon joined by Internet Protocol, called IP, and on January 1, 1983, all hosts not using these protocols were shut off and the landmark we’re now celebrating as the ‘switching on of the Internet’ was passed.

The team behind the switch to TCP/IP celebrated with good old fashioned badges; today, thanks to what they achieved that day, there’d be blogs, tweets and a whole host of social media fuss.

Cerf writes: “I feel immensely privileged to have played a part and, like any proud parent, have delighted in watching it grow. I continue to do what I can to protect its future.”

Cerf, who is now a vice president of Google as well as the company’s Internet Evangelist, wants to protect that future by campaigning to keep the internet free from political control.

With that in mind he’s also written a blog about the December meeting of the International Telecoms Union (ITU) in Dubai on the agenda of which was a new treaty which – in simple terms – would have allowed governments to control the Internet.

After the meeting, 89 countries had signed up while 55 had not. Cerf and Google are with the 55 and they’re urging all of us to raise our voices against this new agreement.

You can sign their pledge:

“A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice.”

LINKS:

Cerf Blog on Internet birthday: http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/marking-birth-of-modern-day-internet.html?m=1

Cerf Blog on Dubai ITU meeting: http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/keep-internet-free-and-open.html

Google pledge sign: https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/what-you-can-do/

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