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The Boy Who Invented Email

Introducing the History of Email - series

Today is the anniversary of the invention of email.
In 1978, a 14-year-old boy invented email.

On August 30,1982, V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received official recognition as the inventor of email from the U.S. government, for the work he had done in 1978.


"The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve. The angry reaction to the news of his invention of EMAIL and the steps taken to belittle the achievement are most unfortunate. They suggest an effort to dismiss the fact that innovation can take place by anyone, in any place, at any time. And they highlight the need to ensure that innovation must not be monopolized by those with power -- power which, incidentally, is substantially a public gift." (Noam Chomsky, inventorofemail.com, April 2012)

Who were behind these attacks?

This historical series will reveal that it was a group of industry insiders, former employees, alumni and partners loyal to Raytheon/BBN, MIT, and the ARPANET coterie, publicly led by David Crocker, an ARPANET researcher and veteran of Raytheon/BBN for nearly 30 years, who had created a revisionist history of email's origin, for nearly three decades to hijack the boy's invention of email.

Their motive was to not only to protect Raytheon/BBN's multi-billion dollar brand as the "inventors of email", which gave them an unfair advantage in the competitive cyber-security market against Northrup-Grumman and General Dynamics, but also to monopolize and perpetuate a false and deplorable narrative that innovation could only occur within the bastions of big companies like Raytheon, large universities such as MIT and the military such as the ARPANET.
Gladiator Security Forum

Kailua, HI
·Time Warner Cable
·Clearwire Wireless
About the creators of email I've often wondered "What were they thinking?" when dealing with email weirdness.

The amazing thing here is a documented 14 yr old boy who's thoughts went beyond girls & what's for dinner.

On a serious level, the handlers deserve to be discredited in a public forum.

out there
reply to chachazz
How about we give Raytheon et al credit for inventing SPAM. That anniversary is probably August 31.

Link Logger
Calgary, AB

2 recommendations

reply to chachazz
I'm a little torn on this as like anything on the internet or anything else all work anymore is really derivative and builds on previous inventions. I believe the last truly original thought was several thousands of years ago. I would credit Raymond Tomlinson for the concept of sending a message or file to a user however calling it 'email' would be an overstatement of his invention based on the system invented by the impressively young Mr. Ayyadurai, however the term 'mail' was defined on computer networks by Mr. Tomlinson far before Mr. Ayyadurai work (ie RFC-561 in 1972) so claiming the title of the invention of 'email' in essences only added 'e' to the existing idea of network messages called mail.

I blame this this on an academic and corporate need to overstate inventions in order to maximize profits and credit (on both sides) Certainly TheInternetHallofFame.org could correct this by including Mr. Ayyadurai into their list of inductees, but I suspect that won't happen any time soon as it would involve rewriting or otherwise redefining Mr. Tomlinson's and Mr.Ayyadurai's work, reducing both which ultimately neither would want.

A patent doesn't mean that much as a patent is really only an expression of an idea and not the idea itself which can exist elsewhere expressed differently and independently patented.

Vendor: Author of Link Logger which is a traffic analysis and firewall logging tool


reply to chachazz
This is awesome work in world technology history.