Saturday February 29, 2020
Home Indian Diaspora Indian-origin...

Indian-origin creator V A Shiva Ayyadurai the legitimate father of ‘Email’?

1
//
Image source: theverge.com

New Delhi: The death of ‘supposed’ inventor of Email, Ray Tomlinson, on March 5, made the world talking about Mumbai-born V A Shiva Ayyadurai.

Tomlinson has been variously called email’s godfather, father and inventor, for having created a message transfer system between two computers in the same room in the 1970s.

He did this as an employee of a defence contractor. Most memorably, he is credited with having chosen the “@” sign.

However, Email has an Indian-origin creator too: Mumbai-born V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai.

Remember Marconi, famous for inventing radio? The world later realised that Jagadish Chandra Bose was the real inventor. Once again, top academics, including the venerable Noam Chomsky at MIT, have come forward to validate that V A Shiva Ayyadurai is the actual inventor of Email.

But there are two key differences. Bose didn’t live on to stake his claim to history while Ayyadurai has been fighting a losing battle to set the record straight. But most importantly, he has a US government document to support his claim.

As a high school student in 1979, Ayyadurai, then age 14, developed an electronic version of an interoffice mail system, which he called “EMAIL”. He copyrighted it in 1982.

Ayyadurai’s EMAIL started as a system of electronic message management that digitised the old-fashioned process of writing a memo, routing a memo with “To”, “Cc” (carbon copies) and “BCC”, and storing memos in folders. He developed this software at the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1978.

The US government certified the official copyright on EMAIL on August 30, 1982, for Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s 1978 invention. At that time, computer software and code could not be patented in the USA. Ayyadurai went on to earn four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including a PhD.

Email transformed our business communication and collaboration like no other technology. It’s probably the longest-surviving of Internet tools, in its various forms and designs. It also evolved over the next decade, but the fundamentals stayed as they were in 1978, with one notable addition: The now-ubiquitous “@” between the name and the host server, courtesy of the late Tomlinson.

Why does academic credit matter? Because the journey matters, the motivation matters and history matters to generations of inventors, dreamers and entrepreneurs deserve to know the truth. Big change happens in small places when opportunity meets people who are driven to find answers. That’s how email, as we know it, came to be.

Tomlinson’s work and selection of the “@” identifier advanced email among outside computers and used TCP/IP as the basic building block of this communication system. Electronic messaging existed prior to that, within networks (which we now call ‘intranets’) and non-TCP/IP systems.

The story of email exemplifies the journey of a team that included a precocious Indian-born teenager, eager to be useful in America — grateful for the later opportunity to earn four degrees at MIT, after inventing and copyrighting the EMAIL system — and the human desire to solve problems.

For far too long we have all been led to believe that communication’s greatest innovations came out of defence research, inspired by the needs of war. Great innovations can be inspired to advance life, not just retrofitted from defence technologies.

Email was created in a place of light and cooperation and it is important for people across the world to understand and appreciate this. Telling the truth about the invention of email in Newark, New Jersey, therefore, is a historical imperative toward breaking this blind belief in the supremacy of defence research to reveal a fundamental truth. Innovation can occur, anytime, anyplace by anybody, and war and profit are not its necessary and required impetus.

Despite much coverage in the US and global media as the inventor of email, including in Time in “The Man Who Invented Email”, Ayyadurai has been attacked in the US as an imposter, someone who merely registered a program called EMAIL, rather than invent email.

To them, MIT’s Noam Chomsky has this to say:

“Email, upper case, lower case, any case, is the electronic version of the interoffice, inter-organizational mail system, the email we all experience today — and email was invented in 1978 by a 14-year-old working in Newark, New Jersey. The facts are indisputable.” (Arvind Gupta and Prasanto K Roy, IANS)

  • Some Where

    Sadly though, the lie that Ayyadurai invented email has been thoroughly debunked by, you know, everyone who was actually involved in inventing email, something long in use by the time Ayyadurai got a copyright on his version, named “EMAIL”. But just because you build a plane and name it AIRPLANE doesn’t make you the inventor of the airplane.

Next Story

Protect Your Digital Self in a Few Minutes a Day

Here are ways to protect your digital identity

0
Digital dangers
In this growing online world, you need to protect yourself from digital dangers. Pixabay

No one can feel safe noways if you post anything online from time to time on your social media profile, or anywhere else. What kinds of after effects you might encounter if you share or leave your email somewhere? What about the things you say or express online? Don’t you think this kind of information may end in the wrong hands? Let’s find out what scary scenarios may happen to you unless you’re paying due attention to that and how to avoid being trapped into digital dangers for your identity.

First of all, let us start with the popular background check tools that use open governmental and private sources to gather all the information available about you in one place. You might be surprised by the amount of data available freely about you online and that you are not aware of it. Those types of tools fall under the Open Source Intelligence category apps. 


Plenty of lawbreakers were able to design special tools that allow parsing the information they need just like the police search tools in popular movies. Those tools scanning publicly available databases as well, that what makes them so dangerous to you. What can be done against those big data monsters? It’s quite easy to check what kind of information about you may be freely available through those OSINT tools and how easy someone fraudulent can get use of it.

Protecting digital identity
The amount of data available freely about you on the digital platform might surprise you. Pixabay

Digital footprint

Any emails you ever replied or received, every post you shared on Facebook, every selfie you uploaded on Instagram – all of that creates your digital footprint identity. Anything that was ever said or done on the Internet will stay there forever and that is one of its foundation stones. Clicking on “accept cookies policy” button will help the webmasters track the activity you perform on their websites and since this kind of info is stored somewhere, you will add that to your digital footprint. Most of the digital footprint types can be divided into two main groups: “active” and “passive”.

  • “Passive” are the ones you leave unconsciously or in some cases without even know about that. For example with the data tools such as Google Analytics, the website owners are tracking how many visits or clicks were obtained from your IP, location or country. Since most of such processes are going unnoticed and you were not going to send that data over, you may not even realize that something is collected.
  • “Active” footprints are the ones you choose to share over the web. Posts from your social media accounts or your contact details on various forums or Web 2.0 pages are classic examples of your active digital footprint. Once you log in to some shared directory from your working desk and make changes to something that is visible for everyone with access is another example of the active footprint.
Digital footprint
In case you are aware of the digital footprint you leave or simply don’t want your search history to be revealed, use Incognito mode in Google Chrome. Pixabay

How to find your online presence?

One of the most obvious ways to find yourself online is by using some of the most popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex etc. In case you are aware of the digital footprint you leave or simply don’t want your search history to be revealed, try DuckDuckGo or use Incognito mode in Google Chrome. The Tor browser is another great option to be considered.

You can also use such people search directories like Nuwber, OneRep, BeenVerified or Instantcheckmate or simlply what info you already shared on social media with the help of FB People Directory or Facebook Email Search.

What identity theft can lead to?

Financial aspect – you won’t believe that but once the information about you was leaked it may be used for years after that, leading to fraudulent activity on your credit card, cleaning your bank account, to get a job, using our SSN or get tax return instead of you.

Emotional aspect – once you reveal that your identity was stolen you might encounter such things as being in constant stress or feel anxious. In some cases, people can commit suicide as they don’t have the power to stand against that. Just imagine someone’s calling you and demanding to pay the credit you never asked. The result may be quite tragical.

Physical aspect – your identity being stolen may result in stomach pains and headaches, inability to work or think properly.

Social aspect – since we all live in a digital world, identity theft may lead to losing your job or spoiling your reputation in some cases. Once such a case is revealed, you need to ask for professional help from the governmental or private institutions, depending on the severity of a problem.

Digital self
To protect your digital self, you shouldn’t reveal your real name and data on high-risk websites. Pixabay

Simple Tips to be Safe and avoid stealing your Identity

1. Always use strong passwords. There are plenty of tools that will help you to generate secured ones and store them in safe application like Dashlane.

Also Read- Indian Consumers In Tier-2 Cities Take Advantage Of Online Transactions: Report

  1. Check whether your email was a part of a leaked emails batch by checking it on HaveIbeenPwned.
  2.  Don’t use your real name on the forums and high-risk websites, unless it’s needed.
  3. Disable sharing location option on your mobile device option.
  4.  Never use your personal and financial details in shared networks, especially public WiFi, or use secure VPN connection.

With the growth of mobile and PC traffic worldwide, the demand for all kinds of leaked data will only grow over time. To save yourself from any negative effects of the data leakage you would only need to follow the simple security rules.