Everyone should know the history of the Internet

Aug 31, 2009 8:16am


By Michael Kaiser, NCSA Executive Director

Do you know what happened on September 2, 1969 just 53 days after Apollo 11 landed on the moon and why it’s an important date in Internet history? Well, you should. We all should.

As we evolve into a digital culture, having an understanding of the Internet and how it works should be a basic competency we all share as “digital citizens.”  We should understand the significant historic milestones of Internet history and their impact on communication, commerce and community in the same way we have come to understand the importance of  the steam engine, the cotton gin and the assembly line in our transformation into an industrial society.

An article in Yahoo News provides a good starting point and enough information to answer a pop quiz. Read it and you will be able to answer such questions as the year one of the first Internet worms paralyzed a significant number of computers or the year the domain names (.com, .gov, .edu) were created.  You can dazzle your friends and win Internet trivia challenges with your new knowledge. More importantly, you can come away with a deeper understanding of the potential for the Internet, how it helps us build a strong economy and country and why we need to insure it remains secure.

Not to leave you hanging, on September 2, 1969, two computers at the University of California exchanged meaningless data in the first test of ARPNET – a communications service designed in the Cold War to transfer data after a nuclear attack; it was the predecessor to the Internet.

SSO (stay safe online),

Michael