Washington - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) presented its Digital Patriots Awards Wednesday night to Vinton G. Cerf, one of the "Fathers of the Internet"; Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.); and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) for their contributions to furthering CE technology and innovation.
Cerf, currently VP/chief Internet technologist with Google since 2005, is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet with his colleague Robert E. Kahn, and has received numerous other awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
Cerf qualified the longtime joke about Vice President Al Gore being a "father of the Internet," by saying, "As a Senator he [passed legislation] for the Internet to become commercialized, and if that didn't happen ... we wouldn't have the Internet at our homes today."
In acknowledging his colleague Robert E. Kahn, Cerf said, "One Digital Patriot Award winner does not a Digital Patriot Award make."
And he noted that CE products that operated without communications capabilities were wonderful, but now "with Web connections ... we have made a nation and world of information producers and consumers."
Rep. Doyle serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he has championed innovation through the protection of "fair use" issues and has also been a congressional leader in promoting the availability of reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband Internet service in the U.S., according to CEA.
In his acceptance speech Doyle discussed, among other things, fair use, saying, "I grew up with turntables and LPs and I am still amazed that with my iPod I can download hundreds of my favorite albums, top TV shows and movies in a handheld device. In fact, I put my favorite albums on my iPod from my CDs, which is a typical example of fair use. Most younger people describe it this way -- â€˜Duh.' "
Rep. Upton is a member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and Internet, which has jurisdiction over newly emerging high-tech issues like telemedicine, broadband deployment and the wiring of classrooms for Internet access. He has been a long time proponent of DTV, along with other critical issues, CEA said.
He noted how technology has changed and become more available since he worked for his congressman years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, because the office had an electric typewriter to write his resume and he couldn't afford one at home.
Rep. Upton held his BlackBerry and said that on 9/11, when he was in Washington, "This [device] was the only way I could communicate with my wife to tell her that I was still alive."
The keynote speaker of the evening was Ambassador Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative, who discussed free trade, fair trade and the Obama administration's support for free-trade pacts with Columbia, Korea and Panama under the right conditions.