MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. -- The Internet is a disruptive influence in almost every dimension you can think of, according to Dr. Vint Cerf, Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist.
While speaking at the Google Atmosphere 2011 summit on Monday morning, Cerf threw out several questions and topics that need to be addressed when thinking about the future of the Internet.
Covered last but what might be the most significant -- especially in light of the events of the "Arab Spring" movement in the Middle East in the last year -- would be Internet governance.
Cerf defined Internet governance to include law enforcement, freedom of speech, human rights, and business transactions on a worldwide business.
"It's everywhere, and that is why Internet governance is Topic A in many quarters," said Cerf.
Cerf explained that there are governments that see the Internet as an important element in economic, social, and political circles -- which for some might be more of a threat than anything else.
"They feel less in control of the Internet because of its ubiquity and because of the fact that it's borderless," said Cerf, adding that this "generates a lot of tension" for governments that feel fragile in the presence of information about going out to their populations about what's really going on in their countries.
Thus, these countries want to get more control of the Internet. Cerf argued that even the United States is "tending to go a bit overboard" when it comes to intellectual property protection.
"Domain seizures by the Department of Homeland Security are, in my view, a blunt instrument that could be and should be exercised carefully," Cerf offered as an example.
Naturally, security on the base level of all things Internet are also an ongoing concern.
"We are, as a community on the Net, in a fairly hostile environment," Cerf acknowledged.
As one of the inventors of TCP/IP Internet Protocol, Cerf explained that the Internet was designed to be as open as possible.
Thirty to forty years ago, Cerf noted that the technology needed to secure the Internet more properly was classified. But today, he posited that there is technology available to do a better job and retrofit the Internet, whether it be domain name security, digital signatures and encryption on transactions.
However, there are some smaller problems when it comes to Internet users that we still need to overcome -- quite possibly just with a little education.
"Some people still use the word "password" as a password because it's easy to remember," Cerf lamented.
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