ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- The Internet is for everyone, networking pioneer Vinton Cerf likes to say.
And with it comes responsibilities for everyone -- people who use the Internet, technicians who build it, businesses that make money off it and governments that try to control it.
Cerf, an early developer of the Net, believes too many people remain unconnected even though the number of Internet-ready devices may soon outnumber people.
He calls on Internet users and developers to share responsibility for making the Internet available, secure, affordable and accessible to everyone. They should also be good Internet citizens.
"Keep in mind that there are real people on the other end of your e-mail, as opposed to thinking, 'This is a computer with a glass display, and you don't have to worry about what you say,"' Cerf says.
Cerf does see a strong role for business, despite the Internet's noncommercial roots and the aversion many longtime Internet users have to the Net's commercialization in recent years.
After all, Cerf reasons, someone has to pay for building the Internet -- and government can't afford to keep subsidizing it.
On the other hand, he says, the business influence shouldn't be too large that it crowds out research and other uses.
He warns of commercial forces curtailing the global nature of the Net.
Among his concerns: unprecedented control of access lines by high-speed service providers, and patents that restrict use of specific technologies.
"I have to remind people that it may be in our best interest to make intellectual property freely available," Cerf says.
In other words, companies shouldn't hold out when their inventions are crucial to formulating Internet standards. He says the entire community -- the patent holder included -- benefits more if everyone contributes to the common good.
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