The Internet Dilemma

Topics: World Summit on the Information Society, History of the Internet, Internet governance Pages: 15 (5287 words) Published: April 5, 2006

The importance of Internet is enormous and it is largely increasing. It connects people worldwide, and it provides possibilities that are impossible without it. This importance can be viewed in few aspects, most of all importance for the global economy. Considering this aspects it is of great value to make Internet accessible for all people. The difference in accessing the Internet between rich and poor countries, or the so called "digital divide" is stunningly large. Efforts to outcome these differences are made by many national and international organizations. The most important participants are the United Nations and the European Union. In achieving this purpose many conferences have been organized by both entities. Most important of all is the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which was a series of conferences organized by UN, first held in Geneva, and second in Tunis. Further on in this project we will see that these entities are trying to make Internet accessible, but at end we will be wondering: "Is this maybe a fight for control over the Internet?" Looking through development of Internet we will try to answer this question.
I. History of Internet

"The Internet didn't just happen overnight - rather it was the end result of a search that had been in place since the late 1950s.

By the time the world started to get online in the mid 1990s, the Net had been almost 40 years in the making."

The Internet was the result of some visionary thinking by people in the early 1960s that saw great potential value in allowing computers to share information on research and development in scientific and military fields. The Internet began to evolve when packet-switching networks came into operation in the 1960s. When transmitted, data is broken up into small packets, sent to its destination and then reassembled. In this way a single signal can be sent to multiple users. Packets can be compressed for speed and encrypted for security. Early packet-switching networks were set up in Europe. In 1968, a similar system was developed in the USA. The U.S. Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) initiated a research program to investigate techniques and technologies for interlinking packet networks of various kinds. The objective was to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to communicate transparently across multiple, linked packet networks. ARPA, also called ARPANET, used Network Control Protocol (NCP) as its transmission protocol from 1969 to 1982, when NCP was replaced with the now widespread TCP-IP (Transmission Control Protocol - Internet Protocol). With the technology in place, the question was what to do with it! A number of interconnected US military computers formed the first sizable Internet for defence use. E-mail developed through ARPANET as did the bulletin-board system, Usenet in the 1970s/80s. During this period all major universities in the USA were connected to the network. This was found to be the ideal method of sharing experimental and educational data. 1973 saw the first intercontinental connection when the University College of London, England, joined the Internet. USENET contributed enormously to the Internet's rapid expansion and is considered to have begun in 1979. Its spirit of information sharing and discussion was the hallmark of its system and was reflected in the Internet as a whole. When personal computers were introduced in the late 1970s, a huge new and ever-expanding computer population was introduced to the Internet. E-mails were increasingly used, network discussions took place and in the 1980s, communities formed chat rooms. In 1986, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated the development of the NSFNET which, today, provides a major backbone communication service for the Internet. With its 45 megabit per second facilities, the NSFNET carries on the order of 12 billion packets per month between the networks it...
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