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The Gore Bill 'Creating the Internet' Became Law On This Date

What do you think of the Gore Bill on its anniversary?

by Countable | Updated on 12.8.18

On December 9, 1991, President George H.W. Bush signed the High Performance Computing Act (commonly known as the Gore Bill) into law, which created the “Information Superhighway” and provided $600 million in funding for high performance computing initiatives.

Why did it come up?

Authored by then-Sen. Al Gore (D-TN), the bill was developed in response to a report titled Toward a National Research Network which was provided to Congress by a National Research Council committee led by UCLA computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock.

Kleinrock was one of the creators of the ARPANET, an early precursor to the Internet, and argued that a national computer infrastructure network would “greatly promote U.S. competitiveness in a multiplicity of disciplines.” Gore had an longstanding interest in computers, and drafted the bill to bring the committee’s recommendations to fruition.

What did it do?

The Gore Bill created the National Information Infrastructure (aka the “Information Superhighway”), the National Research and Education Network (NREN), and provided $600 million in funding for supercomputing initiatives at eight federal agencies. It encouraged the private sector to work with agencies and research labs so that the byproducts of the initatives could be available for educational and commercial purposes as quickly as possible.

Introduced in January 1991 with support of 24 bipartisan cosponsors ― including Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Trent Lott (R-MS), and Mark Hatfield (R-OR) ― the bill passed the Senate on a voice vote in September.

The House amended the bill and passed it on a voice vote in November, and the Senate followed suit to send the finished product to President Bush’s desk, who said :

“The development of high-performance computing and communications technology offers the potential to transform radically the way in which all Americans will work, learn, and communicate in the future. It holds the promise of changing society as much as the other great inventions of the 20th century, including the telephone, air travel, and radio and TV.
This program will help researchers meet the grand challenges in science: To unlock the secrets of DNA, to forecast severe weather events, and to discover new superconducting materials.”

What has its impact been?

In 1993, an initiative at the University of Illinois known as the National Center for Supercomputing applications that was funded in part by the Gore Bill created the Mosaic web browser.

Mosaic popularized the World Wide Web and served as the launching point for the Internet boom of the 1990s. Among the programmers on the Mosaic development team was Marc Andreessen, who founded Netscape and launched the first commercial web browser.

The Gore Bill also had an impact on its namesake’s political career. In a March 1999 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (video here), then-Vice President Al Gore responded to a question about why Democrats should support him in the upcoming presidential primaries by saying in part:

“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

Gore’s comment was widely ridiculed and interpreted as if he was saying he had personally invented the Internet. In one of Gore’s presidential debates with George W. Bush, the then-Texas Governor poked fun at him by saying:

“He talks about numbers, I’m beginning to think not only did he invent the Internet, but he invented the calculator.”

Despite the controversy, Gore’s role in the Internet’s creation was defended by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn ― inventors of the TCP/IP protocol ― who wrote that Gore “deserves significant credit” for being “the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.”

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: collision.conf via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(30)
  • Terry
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    He submitted the bill. So he should get the credit for starting the ball rolling but he did not create the internet.

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  • KansasTamale
    Voted Sad
    12/09/2018
    ···

    People. What Pai & the FCC has done has limited the speed & ability to look up what you want for an equal price on that information highway more difficult. This bill has been changed by a Corporations’ hand puppet in favor of corporations instead of people.

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  • Caren
    Voted Apathetic
    12/09/2018
    ···

    The internet has to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in we can get information quickly, when it isn’t fake. A curse when the information is fake and unreliable, a curse with all the venom proliferated and spread on social media, and a curse with all of the hacking. The internet could be and is a good tool when it isn’t being used corruptly. The only thanks we can attribute to Al Gore is ‘the sky is falling!—global warming—climate change garbage! I wonder how many millions he’s taken home on that count.

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  • Pat
    12/09/2018
    ···

    I often wonder where we all would be today had the Supreme Court allowed the 2000 presidential election to proceed to its natural conclusion.

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  • Cosmo
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    The initial idea was exceptional. In retrospect, the safeguards that were established did not protect us from the Russian, Chinese, Iranians,Turkey and independents accessing and stealing our strategic and personal information. It’s painfully obvious ,reviewed and updated safety controls were not considered. As a result we have a blessing that turned into a nightmare.

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  • Lynn
    Voted Sad
    12/09/2018
    ···

    More useless hype about another useless moron. Move on.

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  • Tim
    Voted Apathetic
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Sponsoring a private initiative to create the internet was great and all, but nowadays the internet has become largely dominated by a small number of major tech companies that wield significant influence over not just what people see on the internet, such Facebook and Google, but also who can access the internet at all, such as ISPs. The government needs to sponsor another bill pushing for more distributed internet protocols to enable people to freely access the internet’s resources and communicate without needing to pay various companies for access.

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  • James
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Al Gore did not create the Internet!

    Like (1)
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  • RAN
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    His name was on the bill 🙄 big deal. This guy is a joke, laughing stock, he never created anything. Wait he did create the global warming hoax. I take it back he did create global warming with his hot air spewing from his mouth. A lot of gullible people have fallen for it.

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  • David
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    It truly is amazing how blind and hateful some people can be. In a very real way Gore played a major role in the start and development of the internet. It has already brought about significant changes in our society and will continue to shape it into the future. I find it ironic that the same people who have condemned Gore on this thread are still willing to use the tool he fostered and helped develop. It’s kind of like condemning your first grade teacher for teaching you how to read and write.

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  • John
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    The core bill is arguably the best thing that’s happened to United States if not the world in the last hundred years! As a post to the election of Donald Trump which is the worst thing that’s ever happened in this country’s history.

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  • Robert
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    In spite of his initial internet gaff, Gore has done well @ warning our nation, the world about CLIMATE CHANGE/WARMING! He was robbed of the Presidency by Florida’s usual election screw up and the Supreme Court which Bush (HW) had seeded w/ consrvatives🤤

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  • SneakyPete
    Voted Sad
    12/10/2018
    ···

    I don’t have a PHD BUT I have a DD-214 World Education The bill which would extend the Secret Service overtime pay exception through 2020, waiving the premium pay cap for Secret Service employees for the 2019 and 2020 calendar years is once again bringing out vicious and quite frankly very idiotic false accusations that the reason the Secret Service budget is so vast rests with President Trump’s golf ⛳️ games. 🙀Really? WRONG! It well apparent that we’ve seen many of the Leftist commentators here that don’t have the foggiest idea what the Secret Service responsibilities are that they perform beyond the multitude of security duties they do. They need a short course of the multitude of S.S. duties and responsibilities besides Presidential security. Additionally, they need to review, as example the S.S.expense ledger 📒 for the previous Presidential sojourns to Hawaii, across the big waters, and elsewhere, to numerous to count. However, being “Card Carrying Democrat” his and family travels don’t count. SneakyPete..... 🤔😔👿😔🤔. 12*9*18.....

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  • Lael
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Yes

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  • Tooluser1
    Voted Sad
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Government only creates red tape and problems. Gore didn't create a damn thing, *Congress* recognized the *existence* of the internet and offered funding in return for control.

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  • CBBCHUSIE
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Changed the world

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  • Devan
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Gore “created” the internet like the Red Baron “created” pizza.

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  • Steve
    Voted Happy
    12/09/2018
    ···

    Awsome, way to go!

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  • Elaine
    Voted Happy
    12/11/2018
    ···

    Why not as long as it doesn’t turn into another paid day off for government employees.

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  • J
    Voted Happy
    12/11/2018
    ···

    He was involved with the internet after all.

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