Vint Cerf backs Obama for U.S. president

Internet legend says he's casting his vote because of Obama's position on Net neutrality.

Vint Cerf has come out in support of Barack Obama for United States president.

In a YouTube video he recorded, Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, said he was supporting Obama primarily because of the Democratic candidate's position on Net neutrality.

Cerf commands wide influence throughout the technology world due to the role he played in the development of the Internet. Cerf co-designed the TCP/IP protocol with Robert E. Kahn. While at MCI, he oversaw the development of the world's first commercial e-mail service to be connected to the Internet.

Here's a transcription of what he had to say:

"The concern that some of us have is that broadband access to the Internet in the United States is not very competitive. There are two kinds of providers--the cable companies and the telcos--but often they don't actually compete with each other directly for services to consumers or to businesses that need access to the Net.

"The problem with this relatively uncompetitive environment is that those who control the broadband access to the Net may in fact introduce discriminatory practices that interfere either with competitors who are offering value-added services on the Net, or maybe they will interfere with consumers trying to get access to services all around the world who may actually be using those broadband facilities in order to reach the consumer from someplace else.

"We believe that the Internet should remain an open environment. It's vital to innovation. Companies like Google, and Yahoo, and eBay, and Amazon, and Skype, and so on, got their start without having to get permission from any ISP or any broadband provider to offer services. They simply acquired access to the Internet, put their services up and then made them available to the general public."

"We think that's the best way for the Internet to evolve, and I'm pleased to say that in the upcoming presidential elections, the two candidates have rather different views of this particular matter. Senator Obama in particular sees things the way I do, which is that the Net should remain open, fully accessible and providing access on a nondiscriminatory basis to people who want to offer new services on the network."

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About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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