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Pre-2016 Press Releases 8 September 2011

World Wide Web’s 20th Birthday Highlights Value of Open Internet


Geneva, Switzerland – 12 March 2009 – As the inventor of the World Wide Web returns to Geneva for the twentieth birthday of his creation, the Internet Society celebrates both his achievement and the open, standardised Internet platform that made it possible.

Co-developers of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, return to CERN for the web’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Tim Berners-Lee, helped change the course of history by inventing the World Wide Web, while working at the CERN physics laboratory in Geneva, 20 years ago. What some may not realise is that the Internet itself had at that time already been running for more than 15 years.

“People often confuse the Internet and the Web,” explains Lynn St.Amour, President and CEO of the Internet Society. “The Internet is a vast network of networks, interconnected in many different physical ways, yet all speaking a common language, specified by standardised protocols. The Web is one – albeit, the most influential and well known – of many different applications which run over the Internet.”

Part of the genius of the Internet is that it allows anyone to create new applications and to deploy them without needing the permission of any central authority. It achieves this through a unique model of development, relying on inclusive processes and open, freely accessible standards. This has become known as the Internet Model, and it has always been crucial in bringing to fruition the vision of the Internet’s founders for globally interconnected and accessible information.

“The great achievement of Tim Berners-Lee was to recognise the power and potential in the Internet,” said Ms St.Amour. “In many ways, the extraordinary success of the Web illustrates the value of the Internet’s robust, open model of development and use.”

“The ‘killer applications’ like the Web, email, and instant messaging have certainly played a huge part in bringing the Internet into the popular consciousness and establishing it as vital to so many aspects of modern life and business. The Internet Model makes that possible, by allowing innovators like Berners-Lee to create, develop, and turn their visions into reality. The success of the Web and the many other Internet applications in turn enriches the Internet and increases its value for people everywhere,” she said.

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is an international, non-profit organisation founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

Further details

Gerard Ross
Senior Communications Manager, Internet Society
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +41-228-071-444 x2261
4, rue des Falaises

Greg Wood
Senior Communications Manager, Internet Society
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1-703-439-2120 x2145
1775 Wiehle Avenue
Suite 201
Reston, VA
20190-5108 U.S.A

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