Internet Father Vint Cerf Explains How We Keep Web Addresses Straight

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 24 2014 1:33 PM

Internet Father Vint Cerf Explains How We Keep Web Addresses Straight

cert
Vint Cert (left) and Bob Kahn (right) manage the infant Internet.

Image from Google.

In March, there was a lot of news about the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and how the U.S. was planning to relinquish its power over the organization. Now, with Republicans angling to delay the transition, Google has released an explainer video about why it thinks the process is positive. The video is charming, informative, and features dad jokes from Internet inventor Vint Cerf. What could be better?

Cerf, who is currently a VP and “chief Internet evangelist” at Google, starts with the basics to explain how you navigate to websites online. The video goes through how things used to be and where the need for ICANN arose from in the first place, which gives some good context for why it’s really important now that a balanced group of stakeholders continue to be in charge of the organization.

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Cerf also argues that the U.S. isn’t just “giving away its authority,” but actually completing a positive, and long-planned, transition to a maximally democratic ruling body for the Internet. Republicans have been vocal opponents of the ICANN transition away from U.S. control, because they worry that without the U.S.’s authority backing the organization, ICANN will struggle to resist pressure from groups that want to limit Internet freedom.  

We checked the IP address example in the video, 173.194.43.19, to see if it was an Easter egg and belonged to someone funny. Sadly, it’s just a normal Google IP, but there are some jokes in the final utopian future scene of the video, including Vint Cerf riding on Grumpy Cat and the man in the moon being replaced by Doge. Who says you can't do Internet policy education and also have a little fun?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is a staff writer and the lead blogger for Future Tense.

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