The internet has been a long modified idea that came to life in the 20th century. The original idea began with the Cold War. During this time, America was competing with the Soviet Union in technological advances. The idea began with J.C.R Licklider, who proposed his idea of a network that connected people across the world in 1962. In 1965, an experiment was run attempting to connect two computers on a similar networks, which proved to be possible. Both kinds of computers were able to function effectively together even if they were made by two different companies. Big strides were made when the ARPANET was created and developed through the years from 1969 to 1972, where Robert E. Kahn first introduced the software would later be used for the internet. In the following decade, Kahn worked with Vincent Cerf to provide the new program, ARPANET, to the public. Then, in 1983, the Transmissions Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was successfully developed that linked individual devices to the internet and allowed them the freedom to add to the developing network through sites. This development in 1983 was the first step towards the modern day internet. (A Brief History of the Internet)
In 1999, The Economist published an article that accurately showed how the internet has progressed and the possibilities for its future to come. The article stated that the internet was capable of surpassing Microsoft’s PC as the primary technological platform used. (The future: Tomorrow’s Internet) Previously, Microsoft was the leading company in technology, since they had created the operating system, which was widely used by the American public. Now, however, the internet allowed the connection of people to a universal platform that was functionable on all kinds of software.
One important primary source that finalized the movement towards the creation of the internet was Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn’s A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication, which outlined the goals and achievements thus far in the creation of the internet. This document allowed the public to realize that there is progression towards a theory that was previously thought of as unrealistic. In their writings, they described how different computers would be able to be interconnected through their software through the TCP/IP. They also outlined the improvements that they will make in the future, which gave the general public and researchers a goal to work towards.
This document allowed further advances to the internet to be created. One example would be through the contribution of Mark Anderson, a software developer who worked for the National Center of Supercomputing Applications. (NCSA) Mark Anderson used the progress of Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Khan to bring the internet to the public and allow anyone to use the web. He called his site the World Wide Web, which was a site that pulled together different components of the internet to make it a more manageable and easier navigation of the web. After he created the World Wide Web, America’s internet was relatively close to the one today.
It wasn’t long before people began to realize the negatives that the internet posed. In 1995, the magazine, The Economist, published an article that expressed the public’s fear and distrust of the internet. The article began with “The prevention of pornography, copyright and trademark violations and criminal activity on the Internet appears to be a nearly impossible task” (Lawless.) The Economist stated that the government was attempting to pass laws to regulate the internet, however, it would prove to be impossible. At the time, legislation was unable to keep up with the rapid expansion of the internet, which caused the rapid distribution of the negatives as mentioned in the quote above.
With the creation of the internet, it was easy to download illegal content and not get caught. The government had no way of monitoring everything that was put up into the internet, which caused an increase in the distribution of bootleg videos and lewd content. The government also had the difficulty of placing the blame on the person who uploaded the illegal content. In certain countries, the negative content may be legal and unmonitored, so the American government would be unable to take the person to court. Also, the internet providers and websites, at the time, claimed that they were only providing the service to publish information, and that it was the users who should be at fault. This made it increasingly difficult for the regulation of the internet. The creation of the internet similarly opened the opportunity for quick access to information that was previously unknown to the public. One leak of classified information could travel through the internet and land into the hands of those who were unsuited for the information. One example is in the case of the bombings in Oklahoma in 1995, where the terrorist group was able to download documents that took them step by step on how to build the bomb. People were both thrilled and terrified of this new invention. The connection to the world allowed for positive advances, however, there was now a new interface that was unmanaged by law and potentially dangerous.
There are still adjustments being made to the internet. As we become more technologically advanced, the internet develops with us, which allows for the progression of international connections and fast processing of information. The internet used to, and now functions on many levels to connect different countries and people to one network to access and relay information easily.
“A Brief History Of The Internet .” Arxiv.org. N. p., 23 Jan 1999. Web. 19 May 2019.
Cerf, Vinton G., and Robert E. Kahn. “A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication.”1974, doi:10.21236/ada634240.
“Internet.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 16 May. 2018.academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Internet/1458. Accessed 19 May. 2019.
“Internet History” Citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. N. p., Apr-Jun 2011. Web. 19 May 2019.
“Lawless.” The Economist, 1 July 1995, p. S15+. U.S. History in Context,http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A17196972/GPS?u=hebr31465&sid=GPS&xid423702fc. Accessed 19 May 2019.
“The future: Tomorrow’s Internet.” The Economist, 13 Nov. 1999, p. 23. U.S. History in Context,http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A57541467/GPS?u=hebr31465&sid=GPS&xid222eb4a2. Accessed 19 May 2019.