Friday, April 20, 2007



The real issue is control. The Internet is too so widespread to be easily dominated by any single government. By creating a seamless global--economic zone, anti-sovereign and unregulatable, the internet calls into question the very idea of nation-state. The Internet, in the opinion of the experts, is the real free market of the future and not be a participant, is to limit gravely the opportunities already shining on this new horizon.

John Perry Barlow

It is today possible, to a great extent than at any other time in the world's history, for a company or an individual to locate anywhere, to use resources from anywhere to produce goods that can be sold and consume anywhere.

Milton Friedman

Continued expansion of computational power will lead to better compression technology, speeding data flow. Widespread adoption of existing public key/private key encryption algorithms wills allaw providers, such a satellite systems, to incorporate the billing functions into the service, lowering costs. Simultaneous with the service, vendors will be able to debit the accounts loaded on personal computers in much the way that France Telecom debits the smart cards employed in Paris phone boxes.

James Dale Davidson (1997)


The conceptual foundation for creation of the Internet was significantly developed by three individuals and a research conference, each of which changed the way we thought about technology by accurately predicting its future:

  • Vannevar Bush wrote the first visionary description of the potential uses for information technology with his description of the "memex" automated library system.
  • Norbert Wiener invented the field of Cybernetics, inspiring future researchers to focus on the use of technology to extend human capabilities.
  • Marshall McLuhan made the idea of a global village interconnected by an electronic nervous system part of our popular culture.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik I, triggering US President Dwight Eisenhower to create the ARPA agency to regain the technological lead in the arms race. ARPA appointed J.C.R. Licklider to head the new IPTO organization with a mandate to further the research of the SAGE program and help protect the US against a space-based nuclear attack. Licklider evangelized within the IPTO about the potential benefits of a country-wide communications network, influencing his successors to hire Lawrence Roberts to implement his vision.

Roberts led development of the network, based on the new idea of packet switching discovered by Paul Baran at RAND, and a few years later by Donald Davies at the UK National Physical Laboratory. A special computer called an Interface Message Processor was developed to realize the design, and the ARPANET went live in early October, 1969. The first communications were between Leonard Kleinrock's research center at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Douglas Engelbart's center at the Stanford Research Institute.

The first networking protocol used on the ARPANET was the Network Control Program. In 1983, it was replaced with the TCP/IP protocol developed by Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, and others, which quickly became the most widely used network protocol in the world.

In 1990, the ARPANET was retired and transferred to the NSFNET. The NSFNET was soon connected to the CSNET, which linked Universities around North America, and then to the EUnet, which connected research facilities in Europe. Thanks in part to the NSF's enlightened management, and fueled by the popularity of the web, the use of the Internet exploded after 1990, causing the US Government to transfer management to independent organizations starting in 1995.

And here we are.

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