Wait, Apparently the Government Did Create the Internet After All

  • Share
  • Read Later

Yesterday, I wrote about Gordon Crovitz’s bizarre contention, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, that it’s an “urban legend” that the U.S. government created the Internet. (He says that Xerox’s PARC lab deserves the credit.)  Other folks have been chiming in–including some who know a lot more about this stuff than I do.

Charles Cooper of Cnet asked Vint Cerf whether Crovitz’s contention that government role in the creation of the Internet is overblown is correct. Cerf, who was there at the time, seems pretty sure that it isn’t:

No. The United States government via ARPA started the project.

Cerf, a national treasure if there ever was one, goes on to provide lots of interesting background on the origins on the Net.

And Michael Hiltzik, author of the excellent book on the history of Xerox PARC which Crovitz quotes, isn’t happy about being used as evidence that the government didn’t launch the Internet:

And while I’m gratified in a sense that he cites my book about Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning,” to support his case, it’s my duty to point out that he’s wrong. My book bolsters, not contradicts, the argument that the Internet had its roots in the ARPANet, a government project. So let’s look at where Crovitz goes awry.

Both stories are worth reading in their entirety. I wonder if the Journal will follow up?