The accelerated growth of the Internet materialized in a few months projected for 10 years

Alejandro Pisanty Baruch is the first Mexican university student to be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. He led the way to paperless documents in Mexico. He is convinced that this tool is a force for good.

The accelerated growth of the Internet materialized in a few months projected for 10 years
The rapid growth of the Internet. Photo by Domenico Loia / Unsplash

For his contributions to the growth and improvement of the Internet in Mexico and Latin America during his tenure at UNAM and in international organizations, Alejandro Pisanty Baruch, an academic from the School of Chemistry, was named a member of the Internet Hall of Fame 2021.

"His advocacy, lobbying and keen understanding of the unique needs of developing countries when it comes to the Internet have significantly influenced policy and directed funding to keep millions of people online," states the explanatory statement from the Internet Society (ISOC), the organization conferring the recognition.

Since the late 20th century, noted ISOC, Pisanty Baruch presided over the expansion of the University's networking and Internet services, introduced new technologies, and promoted the publication of content to be shared on the network. He also created the first public key infrastructure to guarantee encryption and confirm the identity of digital signatures and led the way to paperless documents in Mexico.

In this way, the former head of the then Coordination of Open University and Distance Education, and the former General Directorate of Academic Computing Services of UNAM, became the first university student and Mexican working in his country to join this select world group.

"I have not been one of the technologists, mathematicians, or engineers who created the network, but I have been a user from very early on and have participated in its applications and expansion. In many forums, I have had to defend the free, open, and participatory model of the Internet. I am someone who believes that the Internet is a force for good," said Pisanty Baruch.

The Internet Hall of Fame is an awards program and virtual museum that celebrates the living history of the so-called information superhighway and the people whose contributions make it possible, its use and availability, and its transformative nature.

The Internet Hall of Fame was launched by the Internet Society in 2012, and in 2021 was also conferred on 21 pioneers or experts from 11 countries who have played an outstanding role in the conceptualization, construction, and development of the network on a global scale.

A decade in just months

Alejandro Pisanty said that during the pandemic there has been a phenomenal acceleration of this tool. Trends that were seen as very embryonic, projected to reach a certain level in 10 years, have been achieved in less than two years. They were achieved in the first two or four months.

There is, he continued, an extraordinary acceleration of digital tools in the education and commerce sectors. Just as we see the giants, the huge commercial companies on the internet, we also witness that the tamale outlet has WhatsApp and accepts card payment with Clip and a cell phone.

"They had no choice, they had not considered it, they did not have a strategic plan to have electronic means of payment, the company was not exactly ready, but it had the elements to scale quickly, for a rapid and accelerated growth," he said.

The former vice-president of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and former head of the Internet Society Mexico chapter, mentioned that this situation has shown us the cost of not having made, of not having made before, a deep connectivity strategy for the country.

The university academic recalled that he had the opportunity to know and use the networks that later became the Internet, from their first years of operation.