Network Working Group V. Cerf
Request for Comments: 3271 Internet Society
Category: Informational April 2002 The Internet is for Everyone
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this
memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.
This document expresses the Internet Society's ideology that the
Internet really is for everyone. However, it will only be such if
we make it so.
1. The Internet is for everyone
How easy to say - how hard to achieve!
How have we progressed towards this noble goal?
The Internet is in its 14th year of annual doubling since 1988.
There are over 150 million hosts on the Internet and an estimated 513
million users, world wide.
By 2006, the global Internet is likely to exceed the size of the
global telephone network, if it has not already become the telephone
network by virtue of IP telephony. Moreover, as many as 1.5 billion
Internet-enabled appliances will have joined traditional servers,
desk tops and laptops as part of the Internet family. Pagers, cell
phones and personal digital assistants may well have merged to become
the new telecommunications tools of the next decade. But even at the
scale of the telephone system, it is sobering to realize that only
half of the Earth's population has ever made a telephone call.
It is estimated that commerce on the network will reach somewhere
between $1.8T and $3.2T by 2003. That is only two years from now
(but a long career in Internet years).
The number of Internet users will likely reach over 1000 million by
the end of the year 2005, but that is only about 16% of the world's
population. By 2047 the world's population may reach about 11
billion. If only 25% of the then world's population is on the
Internet, that will be nearly 3 billion users.
As high bandwidth access becomes the norm through digital subscriber
loops, cable modems and digital terrestrial and satellite radio
links, the convergence of media available on the Internet will become
obvious. Television, radio, telephony and the traditional print
media will find counterparts on the Internet - and will be changed in
profound ways by the presence of software that transforms the one-way
media into interactive resources, shareable by many.
The Internet is proving to be one of the most powerful amplifiers of
speech ever invented. It offers a global megaphone for voices that
might otherwise be heard only feebly, if at all. It invites and
facilitates multiple points of view and dialog in ways
unimplementable by the traditional, one-way, mass media.
The Internet can facilitate democratic practices in unexpected ways.
Did you know that proxy voting for stock shareholders is now commonly
supported on the Internet? Perhaps we can find additional ways in
which to simplify and expand the voting franchise in other domains,
including the political, as access to Internet increases.
The Internet is becoming the repository of all we have accomplished
as a society. It has become a kind of disorganized "Boswell" of the
human spirit. Be thoughtful in what you commit to email, news
groups, and other Internet communication channels - it may well turn
up in a web search some day. Thanks to online access to common
repositories, shared databases on the Internet are acting to
accelerate the pace of research progress.
The Internet is moving off the planet! Already, interplanetary
Internet is part of the NASA Mars mission program now underway at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. By 2008 we should have a well-functioning
Earth-Mars network that serves as a nascent backbone of an inter-
planetary system of Internets - InterPlaNet is a network of
Internets! Ultimately, we will have interplanetary Internet relays
in polar solar orbit so that they can see most of the planets and
their associated interplanetary gateways for most, if not all of the
The Internet Society is launching a new campaign to facilitate access
to and use of Internet everywhere. The campaign slogan is "Internet
is for everyone," but there is much work needed to accomplish this
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it isn't affordable by
all that wish to partake of its services, so we must dedicate
ourselves to making the Internet as affordable as other
infrastructures so critical to our well-being. While we follow
Moore's Law to reduce the cost of Internet-enabling equipment, let us
also seek to stimulate regulatory policies that take advantage of the
power of competition to reduce costs.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if Governments restrict
access to it, so we must dedicate ourselves to keeping the network
unrestricted, unfettered and unregulated. We must have the freedom
to speak and the freedom to hear.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it cannot keep up with
the explosive demand for its services, so we must dedicate ourselves
to continuing its technological evolution and development of the
technical standards the lie at the heart of the Internet revolution.
Let us dedicate ourselves to the support of the Internet Architecture
Board, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, the Internet Research
Task Force, the Internet Engineering Task Force and other
organizations dedicated to developing Internet technology as they
drive us forward into an unbounded future. Let us also commit
ourselves to support the work of the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers - a key function for the Internet's
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be until in every home, in
every business, in every school, in every library, in every hospital
in every town and in every country on the Globe, the Internet can be
accessed without limitation, at any time and in every language.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it is too complex to be
used easily by everyone. Let us dedicate ourselves to the task of
simplifying the Internet's interfaces and to educating all that are
interested in its use.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if legislation around the
world creates a thicket of incompatible laws that hinder the growth
of electronic commerce, stymie the protection of intellectual
property, and stifle freedom of expression and the development of
market economies. Let us dedicate ourselves to the creation of a
global legal framework in which laws work across national boundaries
to reinforce the upward spiral of value that the Internet is capable
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if its users cannot
protect their privacy and the confidentiality of transactions
conducted on the network. Let us dedicate ourselves to the
proposition that cryptographic technology sufficient to protect
privacy from unauthorized disclosure should be freely available,
applicable and exportable. Moreover, as authenticity lies at the
heart of trust in networked environments, let us dedicate ourselves
to work towards the development of authentication methods and systems
capable of supporting electronic commerce through the Internet.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if parents and teachers
cannot voluntarily create protected spaces for our young people for
whom the full range of Internet content still may be inappropriate.
Let us dedicate ourselves to the development of technologies and
practices that offer this protective flexibility to those who accept
responsibility for providing it.
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if we are not responsible
in its use and mindful of the rights of others who share its wealth.
Let us dedicate ourselves to the responsible use of this new medium
and to the proposition that with the freedoms the Internet enables
comes a commensurate responsibility to use these powerful enablers
with care and consideration. For those who choose to abuse these
privileges, let us dedicate ourselves to developing the necessary
tools to combat the abuse and punish the abuser.
Internet is for everyone - even Martians!
I hope Internauts everywhere will join with the Internet Society and
like-minded organizations to achieve this, easily stated but hard to
attain goal. As we pass the milestone of the beginning of the third
millennium, what better theme could we possibly ask for than making
the Internet the medium of this new millennium?
Internet IS for everyone - but it won't be unless WE make it so.
2. Security Considerations
This document does not treat security matters, except for reference
to the utility of cryptographic techniques to protect confidentiality
5. Full Copyright Statement
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.
This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this
document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.
This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
"AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the