Al Gore was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. According to the NPR web site, Al Gore has been lauded by the Internet Society for being a key proponent as a senator and vice president of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion and greater public access to the Internet.
As a politician one is often called upon to toot one’s own horn. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, according to a transcript posted by the cable news network, Gore said that “during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, and improvements in our educational system.” As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with that statement. That is what he did.
Indeed in the definitive statement provided by Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf — two giants in the development of the Internet, “Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development. No one person or even small group of persons exclusively “invented” the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.”
They go on to say: “As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.
As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an “Interagency Network.” Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This “Gore Act” supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.”
After having listened to the recent presidential debates, it might be hard to believe this, but Al Gore is living proof that we do produce good people who want to serve our country.
He could have been our president, but we Americans had a better idea. We chose a man who chose war with Iraq, war with Afghanistan, government sponsored torture, corrupt no-bid contractors, refusing to let Katrina ruin his holiday, tax cuts for the wealthy, limiting stem cell research, and a failed economy.