Vinton Cerf, 'Father Of The Internet,' On The Internet's Challenges

02/26/2011 10:35 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

At a recent conference in Hong Kong, the Wall Street Journal sat down with Google VP and "Chief Internet Evangelist" Vinton Cerf to speak about how current trends will shape the future of the Internet.

Cerf, regarded by many as a "father of the Internet," opened up about some of the challenges facing online consumers and wired nations. When asked about the Internet's security challenges, Cerf identified one of the most prominent problems for users and shared his thoughts about how open-source platforms could help close the holes in Internet security. Said Cerf,

The Internet browser is the most susceptible to viruses. The browser is naïve about downloading and executing software. Google is trying to help by releasing the Chrome browser as open source. Open source platforms allow people to find problems and fix them. This is a big issue -- giving people more protection against (infected) websites. Right now, the biggest challenge is the browsers that allow the malware to get into computers and infect them.

He also spoke about the ways China's industry and economy are evolving in tandem with new technologies, and hinted that these shifts could affect the government's Internet censorship policies. Cerf said, according to the Journal,

It seems pretty clear that the Internet has an important economic role to play for China as it reaches out to the rest of the world. It has become a production center for an awful lot of things -- and the Internet is a tool for helping to coordinate manufacturing, sell products, learn more about what customers want. I think that's recognized by the administration in mainland China. At the same time, you have a very diverse population -- so you have a lot of questions about how these technologies affect the country socially. This sort of transformation of economics is forcing some companies to rethink their business models. The successful companies will survive and the ones who can't figure out the business model won't. It's always been that way. Whenever a big change in technology comes along, it causes this kind of big transformation.

The Journal asked Cerf to weigh in on Australia's national broadband plan, which will see the construction of a fiber optic network that will bring affordable high-speed Internet access to 93 percent of the country's people. "I wish our (U.S.) government would think in these terms too," Cerf replied. "You need long-term investments because they pay off over a long period of time. And in the case of the Australian government, I think they see that once everyone is up on broadband, it will be advantageous for the Australian population."

Visit the Wall Street Journal to read Vinton Cerf's entire interview.

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