Surfing the net with Cerf

It was a privilege to chat with Vint Cerf, one of the true internet pioneers, at the launch of 6UK, the non-profit body which is about to whip up some belated enthusiasm for IPv6, hopefully before we all run out of IP addresses in June 2011.
Cerf had some trenchant things to say about the future of the internet, especially governments’ enthusiasm for casting the cybersecurity debate in terms of information warfare. You can hear his full comments here in a 15min 32 sec pdocast.
But what was truly interesting was what he said about Google’s embarassing collection of WiFi user names and passwords as it assembled Street View imagery. I can’t repeat Cerf’s words because we agreed what he said was off the record.
Suffice it to say he did a much better job than Google’s PR department convincing me that Google’s intentions were honourable, and that the person who packaged the Street View software had no idea it also contained wardriving code.
Whether the privacy watchdogs in Germany, UK etc accept that still remains to be seen, but the incident has certainly tarnished Google’s halo.

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