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The Origins of the internet can be traced to the 1960’s when the U.S. government, in collaboration with private commercial interests, began building one of the largest computer networks every created. The National Science Foundation provided most of the early funding, and soon other corporations and commercial entities throughout the world signed on, expanding the size of the network. Thanks to fiber optic technology and dial-up modems, the network was soon accessible through average phone lines. By the 1990’s, this network was opened to the public resulting in the commercialization of almost every aspect of human life and communication. As of 2011, it is estimated that 2/3rd’s f the earth’s population use the internet regularly.
This huge and partially uncontrollable global network has become a source of both concern and optimism for the U.S. government. On the positive side, the government has been able to use internet user rates and an indicator of economic health. Communication and business opportunities, including new sources of revenue and taxation, are all positive aspects of the internet in the eyes of the government.
However, there are serious drawback as well. Issues of privacy, usually argued under the 1st and 9th amendment, have continually come up when the government introduces new regulations. Intellectual property rights, especially in relation to foreign piracy, have also been a source of debate for the government. There have been calls for the U.S. to develop a National Broadband Policy, but as of right now this has yet to be fully realized.
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