Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial from Gordon Crovitz asserting that the U.S. government played no significant role in the creation of the Internet, saying instead that the government actually hindered the Internet’s development as a world-changing technological force. But now CNET has scored an interview with Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who knows something about the creation of the Internet since he, you know, basically created it (or more accurately, the TCP/IP networking protocols that serve as the Internet’s foundation) with Robert Kahn in the 1970s. Unsurprisingly, Cerf thinks that Crovitz is utterly full of it in his assertions on Internet history.
In his CNET interview, Cerf forthrightly states that the “United States government via [Advanced Research Projects Agency] started the project” that would eventually lead to the creation of TCP/IP. Cerf also takes Crovitz to task for giving Xerox full credit for creating the Internet since Xerox actually created Ethernet, which is an important data link layer protocol that also happens to be an entirely different thing from the Internet.
And finally, Cerf responds to Crovitz’ claim that the creation of the Internet was purely a triumph of the private sector by saying that he “would happily fertilize my tomatoes with Crovitz’ assertion.” He concludes by slamming Corvitz for his attempts to “distort history for political purposes” and says he hopes that “people who want to know the real story will discount this kind of revisionist interpretation.”