The New Media Institute (NMI) is a research and fact finding organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of issues surrounding the Internet and other forms new media communications. NMI works directly with the news media, researchers, academics, government and industry professionals and serves as a primary resource of facts, statistics and analysis.

History of the Internet

History of the Internet - 1990s

1990: ARPANET, thought outdated and obsolete is decommissioned. During the same year, Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and other CERN scientists begin to create the first actual incarnation of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee and his colleagues developed a shared format for hypertext documents which was named hypertext markup language or HTML. In addition to HTML, Berners-Lee and others created uniform resource locator (URL) as a standard address format that could specify the computer being targeted and the type of information being requested. URL and HTML significantly increased the possibility of interaction between users and networks across the Internet. URL also made different Internet services such as Usenet news accessible to all users employing the system.

1991: Senator Al Gore sponsors the High Performance Computing Act which establishes the National Research and Education Network.

1993: The Whitehouse and the United Nations go online and develop an official internet presence.

1994: Jeff Bezos designs the business plan for Amazon.com.

1995: Bill Gates authors the now famous memo, The Coming Internet Tidal Wave. By 1995, the bulk of US internet traffic is routed through interconnected network service providers and Microsoft Windows 95 is launched. 1995 proves to be an eventful year in the formation of contemporary internet culture because it also sees the official launch of the online bookstore Amazon.com, the internet search engine Yahoo, online auction site Ebay, the Internet Explorer web browser by Microsoft, and the creation by Sun Microsystems of the Java programming language which allows for the programming of animation on websites giving rise to a new level of internet interactivity.

1996: The United States Congress passes the Communications Decency Act which is seen as a direct assault by censors on the ideals of free speech and information as promoted online. Congress passes the act in response to perceived public concern over the increased availability of pornography and other graphic and controversial matter made possible by the spread of the internet and cyberspace. The Communications Decency Act or Telecommunications Reform Act was an attempt by the US government to extend congressional oversight of laws aimed at regulated radio and television to the internet. John Perry Barlow responds with his now famous essay A Declaration of Independence for Cyberspace. Barlows essay is an impassioned declaration of cyberspace and the internet as realms of freedom and liberty that is not subject to the authority of national governments.

1998: Google Inc. is founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page to promote and oversee their new search engine which will rival yahoo.

1999: The dawn of internet music and video piracy controversies rises with the introduction of the Napster file-sharing software by Shawn Fanning, a college student. During the same year, the Internet encounters the first malicious computer virus capable of automatically copying and sending itself to all email addresses listed in an infected users address book.


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