ISLAMABAD ( MEDIA )
On March 12, the internet will turn 25. More accurately, the form of internet that we know today will turn 25. Before March 1989, it was possible to transfer data between computers connected by a network. But websites, which make data more widely accessible, had not yet been developed. It was from a paper written by Tim Berners-Lee, who had been influenced by predecessors with similar ideas it must be said, that web pages first evolved.
From its quiet beginning in 1985, the Internet has grown to 80 million .coms and well over 200 million websites. E-commerce is the driving force behind rapid innovations, new products, services and business models and redefining our roles as consumers and citizens. The 25th anniversary of the .com will be the subject of a policy forum headlined by former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday at Reagan Building in which ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson will participate, www.25yearsof.com.
ITIF’s new report arrives in an important week in the development of the Internet’s infrastructure, with the FCC announcing its long-awaited recommendations on the national broadband plan.
Among the findings in the report are the following:
- Of the roughly 250 million websites about 80 million are .coms. Even after the collapse of the .dom bubble, the number of domain names grows by an average of 668,000 a month.
- The .coms alone account for some $400 million in economic benefits to businesses and consumers and that figure will likely double in the next ten years.
- Despite high-profile failures in the dot-com bubble burst, typical survival rates for these new businesses were actually higher than normal and spectacular success stories have followed.
- Only about 25 percent of the world’s 6.7 billion participate in the dot-com economy but is changing – 73 million Chinese became Internet users in 2007 alone.
Since then, the internet has become one of the most globally influential creations of all times. There is an ever growing number of users who trawl through millions of web pages on a daily basis. It has been rightly seen and used as a great way to set up and operate businesses. For many regular users, life without the internet has become unimaginable.
In both technological terms and the way in which we relate to it, the internet has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Its widening reach has been hailed as a reason to celebrate connectivity and accessibility to information by all. But it has also been seen as a cause for alarm, particularly by governments and other organisations that seek to limit or control information flow.
Questions about who owns this entity, and therefore must regulate it, are being frequently raised these days. Considering that in addition to all the positives, the internet is also used to perpetrate crimes and publicise what many view as ethically objectionable content, this is not surprising.
If there is one thing beyond all others that is intrinsically linked with the internet, it is the widespread dissemination and consumption of pornography. From garden variety smut to disturbing images of child abuse, everything is available online. This has left conservative governments scrambling to stop the inflow. Authorities working towards destroying, or at least limiting, access to child porn and other such content have also had an uphill battle against the absolutely enormous and constantly growing pile of data available.