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The Internet Society announced last month the creation of an annual Internet Hall of Fame program to honor leaders and luminaries who have made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet, and on Monday, the group inducted more than 30 people during an awards ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland. Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, and Vint Cert, the father of the Internet, are both among the inaugural class, and so are a few surprise names.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Al Gore, though not for inventing the Internet. Rather, he was honored for being a "key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet." According to his bio on the Internet Hall of Fame's website, Gore was one of the first government officials to foresee what kind of impact the Internet could have beyond the realm of academia.
"There are extraordinary people around the world who have helped to make the Internet a global platform for innovation and communication, spurring economic development and social progress," the Internet Society said in a statement. "This program will honor individuals who have pushed the boundaries to bring the benefits of a global Internet to life and to make it an essential resource used by billions of people. We look forward to recognizing the achievements of these outstanding leaders."
The Internet Society convened an Advisory Board made up of some pretty big names to vote on the inductees for the 2012 class. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, and Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired are among the dozen board members.
You can view a list and bios of all 33 inaugural inductees here.