'Father of the Internet' talks to ABC7

January 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
In 2010, the World Wide Web is not a new concept, but Vint Cerf, the man credited with creating the Internet, is now working on a much bigger version for outer space.

When you look him up on the web, he is dubbed "the father of the Internet." Cerf is a Google vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist. He is also deeply involved in the Internet of the future, creating an interplanetary web.

"We're not talking about talking to aliens or anything like that," Cerf said.

But he is talking about enabling future space explorers to communicate over greater distances.

"The whole idea here is to build a 'store and forward' architecture which we haven't really had in space communications," Cerf said. "Almost all the missions that have been launched by us and others involved point-to-point radio links between the end device and some place on Earth; so we're looking to make a more complex architecture, just like the Internet is."

As more people use the Internet, Cerf is not worried about data traffic bottlenecks. He says fiber optic cables have the capacity; what we need is fiber to every house.

"In other countries like Australia, they're spending $40 billion to do exactly that -- to get fiber to every residence and every office building in the entire country; other countries have also pursued that direction, so that's where Internet is headed," he said.

With medical records and banking now online, is the Internet safe? Cerf says security is now the responsibility of individual users.

"It's less secure than I would like, some people will say, 'Why didn't you build security into the Internet 30 years ago when the design was being done,' and the honest answer to that is the technology wasn't available; it existed, but it was classified," Cerf said.

Cerf is passionate about the First Amendment when asked about the x-rated material and spam that the Internet delivers.

"You're going to see the full range of human interests showing up, including spam and fraud and junk mail and x-rated things and everything else, that's the nature of the beast," he said.

So after all these years, have we been misspelling the term "Surf the 'Net?" Should it really be "Cerf the 'Net?"

"No, it shouldn't; it's a delicious accident," Cerf said.

ABC7 EXTRA: Watch ABC7's full 30 minute interview with Vint Cerf Vint Cerf will be talking about the future of the Internet Thursday evening in Menlo Park at an event sponsored by the Churchill Club.