The Impact of the Internet on Society

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The Impact of the Internet on Society

The Internet is, quite literally, a network of networks. It is comprised of ten thousands of interconnected networks spanning the globe. The computers that form the Internet range from huge mainframes in research establishments to modest PCs in people's homes and offices. Despite the recent hype, the Internet is not a new phenomenon. Its roots lie in a collection of computers that were linked together in the 1970s to form the US Department of Defense's communications systems. Fearing the consequences of nuclear attack, there was no central computer holding vast amounts of data, rather the information was dispersed across thousands of machines. A set of rules, of protocols, known as TCP/IP was developed to allow disparate devices to work together. The original network has long since been upgraded and expanded and TCP/IP is now a "de facto" standard.

Millions of people worldwide are using the Internet to share information, make new associations and communicate. Individuals and businesses, from students and journalists, to consultants, programmers and corporate giants are all harnessing the power of the Internet. For many businesses the Internet is becoming integral to their operations. Imagine the ability to send and receive data: messages, notes, letters, documents, pictures, video, sound- just about any form of communication, as effortlessly as making a phone call. It is easy to understand why the Internet is rapidly becoming the corporate communications medium. Using the mouse on your computer, the familiar point-and-click functionality gives you access to electronic mail for sending and receiving data, and file transfer for copying files from one computer to another. Telnet services allow you to establish connections with systems on the other side of the world as if they were just next door.

This flood of information is a beautiful thing and it can only open the minds of society. With the explosion of the World Wide Web, anyone could publish his or her ideas to the world. Before, in order to be heard one would have to go through publishers who were willing to invest in his ideas to get something put into print. With the advent of the Internet, anyone who has something to say can be heard by the world. By letting everyone speak their mind, this opens up all new ways of thinking to anyone who is willing to ...

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Websites

• http://www.privacy.org

• http://www.epic.org

• http://www.cnil.fr

• http://www2.echo.lu:legal/en/dataport/directiv/directiv.html

• http://www.usq.edu/au/dec

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