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RFC 3271 - The Internet is for Everyone


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Network Working Group                                            V. Cerf
Request for Comments: 3271                              Internet Society
Category: Informational                                       April 2002

                      The Internet is for Everyone

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document expresses the Internet Society's ideology that the
   Internet really is for everyone.  However, it will only be such  if
   we make it so.

1. The Internet is for everyone

   How easy to say - how hard to achieve!

   How have we progressed towards this noble goal?

   The Internet is in its 14th year of annual doubling since 1988.
   There are over 150 million hosts on the Internet and an estimated 513
   million users, world wide.

   By 2006, the global Internet is likely to exceed the size of the
   global telephone network, if it has not already become the telephone
   network by virtue of IP telephony.  Moreover, as many as 1.5 billion
   Internet-enabled appliances will have joined traditional servers,
   desk tops and laptops as part of the Internet family.  Pagers, cell
   phones and personal digital assistants may well have merged to become
   the new telecommunications tools of the next decade.  But even at the
   scale of the telephone system, it is sobering to realize that only
   half of the Earth's population has ever made a telephone call.

   It is estimated that commerce on the network will reach somewhere
   between $1.8T and $3.2T by 2003.  That is only two years from now
   (but a long career in Internet years).

   The number of Internet users will likely reach over 1000 million by
   the end of the year 2005, but that is only about 16% of the world's
   population.  By 2047 the world's population may reach about 11
   billion.  If only 25% of the then world's population is on the
   Internet, that will be nearly 3 billion users.

   As high bandwidth access becomes the norm through digital subscriber
   loops, cable modems and digital terrestrial and satellite radio
   links, the convergence of media available on the Internet will become
   obvious.  Television, radio, telephony and the traditional print
   media will find counterparts on the Internet - and will be changed in
   profound ways by the presence of software that transforms the one-way
   media into interactive resources, shareable by many.

   The Internet is proving to be one of the most powerful amplifiers of
   speech ever invented.  It offers a global megaphone for voices that
   might otherwise be heard only feebly, if at all.  It invites and
   facilitates multiple points of view and dialog in ways
   unimplementable by the traditional, one-way, mass media.

   The Internet can facilitate democratic practices in unexpected ways.
   Did you know that proxy voting for stock shareholders is now commonly
   supported on the Internet?  Perhaps we can find additional ways in
   which to simplify and expand the voting franchise in other domains,
   including the political, as access to Internet increases.

   The Internet is becoming the repository of all we have accomplished
   as a society.  It has become a kind of disorganized "Boswell" of the
   human spirit.  Be thoughtful in what you commit to email, news
   groups, and other Internet communication channels - it may well turn
   up in a web search some day.  Thanks to online access to common
   repositories, shared databases on the Internet are acting to
   accelerate the pace of research progress.

   The Internet is moving off the planet!  Already, interplanetary
   Internet is part of the NASA Mars mission program now underway at the
   Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  By 2008 we should have a well-functioning
   Earth-Mars network that serves as a nascent backbone of an inter-
   planetary system of Internets - InterPlaNet is a network of
   Internets!  Ultimately, we will have interplanetary Internet relays
   in polar solar orbit so that they can see most of the planets and
   their associated interplanetary gateways for most, if not all of the
   time.

   The Internet Society is launching a new campaign to facilitate access
   to and use of Internet everywhere.  The campaign slogan is "Internet
   is for everyone," but there is much work needed to accomplish this
   objective.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it isn't affordable by
   all that wish to partake of its services, so we must dedicate
   ourselves to making the Internet as affordable as other
   infrastructures so critical to our well-being.  While we follow
   Moore's Law to reduce the cost of Internet-enabling equipment, let us
   also seek to stimulate regulatory policies that take advantage of the
   power of competition to reduce costs.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if Governments restrict
   access to it, so we must dedicate ourselves to keeping the network
   unrestricted, unfettered and unregulated.  We must have the freedom
   to speak and the freedom to hear.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it cannot keep up with
   the explosive demand for its services, so we must dedicate ourselves
   to continuing its technological evolution and development of the
   technical standards the lie at the heart of the Internet revolution.
   Let us dedicate ourselves to the support of the Internet Architecture
   Board, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, the Internet Research
   Task Force, the Internet Engineering Task Force and other
   organizations dedicated to developing Internet technology as they
   drive us forward into an unbounded future. Let us also commit
   ourselves to support the work of the Internet Corporation for
   Assigned Names and Numbers - a key function for the Internet's
   operation.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be until in every home, in
   every business, in every school, in every library, in every hospital
   in every town and in every country on the Globe, the Internet can be
   accessed without limitation, at any time and in every language.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it is too complex to be
   used easily by everyone.  Let us dedicate ourselves to the task of
   simplifying the Internet's interfaces and to educating all that are
   interested in its use.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if legislation around the
   world creates a thicket of incompatible laws that hinder the growth
   of electronic commerce, stymie the protection of intellectual
   property, and stifle freedom of expression and the development of
   market economies.  Let us dedicate ourselves to the creation of a
   global legal framework in which laws work across national boundaries
   to reinforce the upward spiral of value that the Internet is capable
   of creating.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if its users cannot
   protect their privacy and the confidentiality of transactions
   conducted on the network.  Let us dedicate ourselves to the
   proposition that cryptographic technology sufficient to protect
   privacy from unauthorized disclosure should be freely available,
   applicable and exportable.  Moreover, as authenticity lies at the
   heart of trust in networked environments, let us dedicate ourselves
   to work towards the development of authentication methods and systems
   capable of supporting electronic commerce through the Internet.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if parents and teachers
   cannot voluntarily create protected spaces for our young people for
   whom the full range of Internet content still may be inappropriate.
   Let us dedicate ourselves to the development of technologies and
   practices that offer this protective flexibility to those who accept
   responsibility for providing it.

   Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if we are not responsible
   in its use and mindful of the rights of others who share its wealth.
   Let us dedicate ourselves to the responsible use of this new medium
   and to the proposition that with the freedoms the Internet enables
   comes a commensurate responsibility to use these powerful enablers
   with care and consideration.  For those who choose to abuse these
   privileges, let us dedicate ourselves to developing the necessary
   tools to combat the abuse and punish the abuser.

   Internet is for everyone - even Martians!

   I hope Internauts everywhere will join with the Internet Society and
   like-minded organizations to achieve this, easily stated but hard to
   attain goal.  As we pass the milestone of the beginning of the third
   millennium, what better theme could we possibly ask for than making
   the Internet the medium of this new millennium?

   Internet IS for everyone - but it won't be unless WE make it so.

2. Security Considerations

   This document does not treat security matters, except for reference
   to the utility of cryptographic techniques to protect confidentiality
   and privacy.

3. References

   [1] Internet Society - www.isoc.org

   [2] Internet Engineering Task Force - www.ietf.org

   [3] Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -
       www.ICANN.org

   [4] Cerf's slides: www.wcom.com/cerfsup

   [5] Interplanetary Internet - www.ipnsig.org

   [6] Internet history - livinginternet.com

4. Author's Addresses

   Vint Cerf
   former Chairman and President, Internet Society
   January 2002

   Sr. Vice President, Internet Architecture and Technology
   WorldCom
   22001 Loudoun County Parkway, F2-4115
   Ashburn, VA 20147

   EMail: vinton.g.cerf@wcom.com

5.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
   English.

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
   "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
   TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
   BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
   HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

 

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