Internet Hall Of Fame Names Its First Inductees

Brett Smith for

He might not have technically invented the Internet, but that won´t stop Al Gore from being a first-ballot inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame awards program established by the Internet Society, a 20-year-old advocacy and educational organization, announced its first class of inductees, which includes the ex-vice president, on Monday at the Internet Society´s Global INET conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The inductees were divided into three categories: Pioneers, Innovators, and Global Connectors. According to the society, these men and women were either instrumental in the early design of the Internet, made substantial contributions to its development, or aided in the global growth and interconnectedness of the network.

“This historic assembly of Internet visionaries, innovators, and leaders represents an extraordinary breadth of vision and work,” Internet Society president and CEO Lynn St. Amour said according to CNET.

”While the inductees have extremely diverse backgrounds and represent many different countries, each individual has an incredible passion for their work. We all benefit from their outstanding contributions to a global Internet, making it one of the greatest catalysts of economic and societal development of all time.”

Among the inductees is Vint Cerf, regarded by many as the “Father of the Internet.” Cerf developed key TCP/IP protocols that are the basis for Internet communication while working for the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1994, President Bill Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his fellow inductee, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the network. He has been a vice president and public spokesman for Google since 2005.

Another inductee of note is Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 that develops web standards and guidelines. More importantly, Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989 and created the first web server and client in 1990. The UK national was knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth.

Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States, was inducted as a Global Connector, described as an individual who “who made outstanding technological, commercial, or policy advances and helped to expand the Internet´s reach.”

Gore, who is sometimes viewed cynically with respect to the Internet, is cited by the Internet Society as a political figure who used his sizeable influence to expand the Internet beyond the academic and governmental uses for which it was originally developed.  He authored the High-Performance Computing and Communications Act, nicknamed the Gore Bill, in 1991. The bill allocated $600 million for high performance and networked computing that led to the creation of the National Research and Educational Network (NREN) and the National Information Infrastructure (NII), commonly referred to as the Information Superhighway.

The Internet Society has launched a website at that will showcase the 33 inductees and their contributions. The website will also feature an exclusive series of columns by Wired, the Internet and technology publication. The interview-oriented column will feature several inductees each month. The first interview will feature Cerf, the “Father of the Internet.”

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