Elon University

Internet Society 20th Anniversary – Conference Opening Plenary Session

ISOC 20th Anniversary LogoBrief session description:

Monday, April 23, 2012 – The Global INET conference in honor of ISOC’s 20th anniversary opened with a plenary featuring keynote talks and a video presentation on the evolution of the Internet and how the Internet has contributed to global innovation and the global economy. The keynote speakers: Leonard Kleinrock, developer of ARPANET, and a distinguished professor at UCLA; Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); Lynn St.Amour, president and CEO of the Internet Society.

Plenary Hall Details of the session:

A dynamic video quickly outlining Internet evolution kicked off the opening plenary of Global INET 2012 in honor of the Internet Society’s 20th anniversary.

“The course of the Internet development has never been and is not now inevitable,” the voice-over intoned. “We are at a crossroads. How we face the rising challenges and how we embrace the emerging future of the Internet will be defined by users, will be defined by us. So now is the time for us to act to ensure the Internet stays open for the billions of new users during the next 20 years.”

Following the video Chris Brow, host for the first session, took the stage and welcomed everyone to Geneva.

He humorously kicked off the event by stating he is obviously not one of the founders of the Internet, explaining, “I am one of the two billion Internet users out there. I am part of the Internet generation. Think. About 20 years ago I was 10 years old, I had no clue about the Internet and I surely didn’t know anything about the Internet Society.”

Opening Plenary Speaker While Brow may not have been known about the Internet when he was 10 years old, he said his young son not only knows about but regularly uses the Internet today.

“He can start a revolution on the Internet, but he can’t tie his shoes,” Brow joked about his son.

The two generations of Brow men display perfectly the transition that has occurred over the past 20 years in regard to the Internet, a transition that the Internet Society has helped shepherd. And while 20 years ago Brow may not have known what the Internet Society was, today he can define it concisely.

“What is the Internet Society?” Brow asked. “The world’s trusted source for independent leadership of Internet policy, technology standards and future development, with chapters around the world.”

History of the Internet Society

Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and Lyman Chapin wrote ISOC’s founding document, and the Internet Society was officially born in 1992. It is best-known as a non-profit that operates the .ORG registry and funds the Internet Engineering Task Force and other Internet standards and policy development work. The founding document, titled “Announcing ISOC,” states that the Internet Society will support the Internet’s evolution by educating people about the Internet, promoting leadership about Internet issues and encouraging the involvement of communities in the Internet’s evolution.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of ISOC’s efforts to keep the Internet open and accessible for everyone. There are 100 chapters of the Internet Society, 60,000 individual members and 120 corporate members. Each member is dedicated to the idea that the Internet is a decentralized, and ISOC advocates for a transparent, self-governing process for the Internet’s continuing evolution.

The non-profit sponsors the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a standards-setting body, and the Internet Architecture Board, which provides technical advice to policymakers.

Plenary Crowd WatchingFrom the very first document, community and discussion were important aspects of the Internet Society. Global INET 2012 served as a time to celebrate the accomplishments that ISOC has had so far and to discuss the concerns that still exist regarding the Internet. This communication is something the Internet Society dedicates itself to spark by hosting many annual meetings where participants facilitate and attend workshops. With more than 260 countries in the world and the Internet continually changing there are always new challenges developing for the Internet Society to discuss.

Over the last 20 years, the Internet Society has increased its active participation in the conferences and meetings of nearly every significant organization devoted to Internet policy; it has launched regional bureaus in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific and North America and reached out so its influence is felt globally.

The celebration of ISOC’s 20th anniversary is a year-long celebration that is expanding beyond this one conference. On its website, ISOC is collecting people’s wishes for the Internet in a feature called “The Wishing Tree.” Imagining the Internet, Elon University’s global-good project, was invited to INET to shoot video of people’s wishes; you can find out what people shared by clicking here: Hopes, wishes for the future of the Internet.

– Reporter: Rebecca Smith

Return to home page for Imagining the Internet’s
coverage of the Global INET Conference 2012
Imagining the Internet Home
Internet Society Home Page

Twitter Logo A selection of Twitter Reports from this ISOC 20th event:

Internet Society celebrating its 20th anniversary this week #ISOC 20 with the Global INET 2012 conference in Geneva

Looking forward to seeing @Jimmy_Wales @apisanty @LynnStAmour @MitchellBaker @Kleinrock @TimBerners_Lee @gbengasesan at #GlobalINET #ISOC 20

Follow #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET tweets from @ImagineInternet team members: @JacquelynAdams @Rebecca_M_Smith @Addie_Haney @BMarshall601

More @ImagineInternet #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET team members: @NicoleMChadwick @JFlitter2 @RachelSouthmayd @CaitlinOD319 @Kaciebot @JannaQ

INET 2012 in honor of ISOC’s 20th birthday has officially started.

20 years ago Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and Lyman Chapin laid out the plans for the Internet Society in this article #ISOC 20

Initial organizers of ISOC included the Corporation for National Research Initiatives EDUCOM and the IAB. #ISOC 20

ISOC is open to free, public participation on all levels, from the general public to Internet engineers #ISOC 20

ISOC hosts multiple INET meetings annually, each with a unique regional focus and a program relevant to communities involved #ISOC 20

While Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, talks at INET 2012, read his blog here.

Read more about Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, in this interview on this site.

Global INET kicks off w video tribute to rapid ++ evolution of Internet technologies. Another ISOC background video

The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at the Internet Society’s 20th Anniversary Global INET Conference included the following Elon University students, faculty, staff and friends: Jacquie Adams, Dan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Kacie Anderson, Nicole Chadwick, Jeff Flitter, Addie Haney, Brandon Marshall, Brian Meyer, Caitlin O’Donnell, Rachel Southmayd and Rebecca Smith.