Erik Huizer: Well, I never thought I’d stand here and then have to say a thank you word in the same way that the Oscar winners do. I will thank my mother but I’ll do that a little bit later.
I learned today a couple of things. I’m a music lover and I learned two things today. One is immediately when the news was announced on Twitter, somebody said to me, “Do you know that will.i.am has a number that is called ‘Hall of Fame?’ ” So that’s something we should try and and listen to tonight. The other one of course is that I finally got the meaning of the Oasis number “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” because as has been said before that’s how I feel I am here.
It was 1987. I had just finished my PhD, during which I had implemented the IP protocol on some PCs. And my boss, to whom I owe very much, Kees Neggers at that time— Kees Neggers also, by the way, is also an inductee in the Hall of Fame. He sent me off to an Internet meeting in Boston, and I arrived in Boston in a hotel, checked in, came downstairs, and feared what shall I do for dinner? And there I ran into Vint Cerf, who didn’t know me of course, but I knew him. So I boldly introduced myself, and Vint said, “Hey, you wanna come to dinner?” And I said, “Well yes, please.” So he shoved me into a cab, and I turned around and I was sitting besides Jon Postel, Steve Crocker, and in front was Vint Cerf. The rest, as they say, is history.
So let me start by thanking a couple of people. First of all my parents, without whom I wouldn’t be here. And they always inspired me to to think independently, and I think that’s one of the main things you can teach your children. Of course my family. I’ve been away a lot, and they’ve always put up with that. My children never understood what I’m doing. They still don’t understand what I’m doing here, but one of my daughters remarked, “Great that you go to Hong Kong. You can buy me a fake Gucci bag.”
And my employers, NOB, TNO, gave me all the freedom to do whatever I needed to do. But most of all SURFnet. I used to work there from 2000 to 2012. I came back two years ago as CTO. And this is a company that always has worked to build part of an open, trustworthy, and accessible Internet. And that is exactly what I think I’ve been doing over the last thirty years, helping to create that open, trustworthy, and accessible Internet.
I’ve met many fantastic, motivated, driven, and especially fun people in the process, a lot of whom are in this room, and it really inspired me to work even harder on this. And I really thank you all of for being here and being my colleagues and working with me.
And last thing I want to say is that mid last year, I got incredibly angry when I realized that I’d been building this open, trustworthy, and accessible Internet—well, that’s what I thought—and that governments have started misusing this same Internet to spy on their own civilians. This is not what we build the Internet for. So please let’s continue our work and make sure that governments don’t misuse it in this way. Thank you.