Hundreds of people attending a luncheon at the Computers, Freedom and
Privacy conference in Washington last week got a laugh over one of
Gore's previous blunders, his statement that he created the Internet.
During a question-and-answer session with the conference's keynote
speaker, Vint Cerf -- who actually did create the global network --
Jason Catlett, a privacy advocate, asked Cerf if he could "comment on
reports that you actually invented Al Gore."
"I have a feeling his parents wouldn't be too happy about that," Cerf
responded, adding, "I never talk about my illegitimate children
Gore Gaffe Not the Administration's First on Privacy
Vice President Al Gore, who has positioned himself as a leader for
the Internet age, took a few embarrassing stumbles last week as he
launched his presidential campaign Web site.
In a repeat of an earlier gaffe on the White House Web site, the Vice
President's Campaign 2000 page initially was designed with a section
section would have asked children for their names, e-mail addresses
and zip codes -- a practice that soon will be illegal for commercial
Web sites under legislation Gore promoted last year.
Although the section was deleted before algore2000.com went live, it
touched off a round of spin between Democrats and Republicans.
"Internet creator Al Gore finally became the last of the declared and
undeclared Presidential candidates to unveil a Web site yesterday,
and promptly found himself running afoul of the Children's Online
Privacy Protection Act -- a law Gore claimed credit for in his other
career as Vice President," the Republican National Committee said in
a press release.
Gore's campaign was quick to respond that they have the only
personal information they collect is used.
Deirdre Mulligan, a lawyer with the Center for Democracy and
Technology, said the political response "shows that privacy is
prime-time. It's interesting that this has become a campaign issue,
that the Republicans and Democrats are arguing over who has the best
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which takes effect in
2001, prohibits commercial Web sites from gathering personal
information from children without parental consent. While that law
would likely not apply to a campaign site, many expect Gore to lead
The Administration found itself in a similar conundrum last year
after a survey found that few government Web sites - including the
White House site -- followed the practices the Administration was
pushing the industry to adopt. While the White House site still has a
special children's section that collects personal information from
children to get parental permission before sending e-mail.
Another message on Gore's Web site left some techies scratching their
heads. Hidden in the programming code was a declaration that the site
supported the "open source" movement, an effort that promotes sharing
the code used to develop software programs. But those who dug further
found that the site is built with products from Microsoft -- a
company that refuses to share its programming code.