The use of the Internet has sparked controversy, with different opinions on its advantages and disadvantages. This article delves into the origins of the Internet, including its founders and pioneers, as well as its benefits and drawbacks. It also explores suggestions for enhancing Internet protection and functionality.
The Internet, commonly known as “the Net,” is a worldwide network of computer networks that enables users to access information from any computer and sometimes communicate directly with other users (Internet, 2010).
Currently, companies such as AOL, Insight, Comcast, AT&T, among others have established infrastructure to offer internet access to individuals throughout the United States. The physical connection to the internet involves linking one or more computers to specialized servers.
The Internet, composed of servers enabling web page display and service access, is a collection of protocols known as TCP/IP. Its creation has profoundly influenced various aspects of our lives – encompassing its history, advantages and disadvantages, as well as its future. Despite widespread usage, only few possess knowledge on its origins.
Everything began when The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, its first artificial satellite, in 1957, showcasing their technological prowess. In reaction to this achievement, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower called upon the leading American scientists to develop a rival innovation. As a result, on February 7, 1958, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was established via the Department of Defense Directive 5105.41 and Public Law 85-325, establishing an actual network.
The first description of social interactions enabled through networking was written by J. C. R Licklider of MIT in August 1962. In a series of memos, he discussed his concept of a “Galactic Network” that would globally connect computers, allowing quick access to data and programs from any location (Banks, 2008, p. 2). In 1965, Licklider and Thomas Merril connected the TX-2 computer to the Q-32 in California using a low-speed dial-up telephone line, creating the first small wide-area computer network.
In 1972, Ray Tomlinson at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) created the initial software for sending and reading email messages. This development was driven by the necessity for a simple coordination mechanism among ARPANET developers (Banks, 2008, p. 4). In the late 1970s, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn decided to enhance the protocol to cater to the requirements of an open-architecture network environment. This upgraded protocol eventually became known as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). The term “Internet” was first mentioned in a conference paper authored by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.
Three years prior, in 1980, TCP/IP was adopted as a defense standard, allowing Defense to join the DARPA and paving the way for the separation of military and non-military communities. This development in Internet technology, as highlighted by Banks (2008, p. 13), played a significant role. By 1985, the Internet had become firmly established as a technological foundation supporting a wide range of researchers and developers. Additionally, it was increasingly utilized by various communities for everyday computer communications (Banks, 2008, p. 100). The Internet brought numerous benefits.
In today’s digital age, it is crucial for a company to utilize the Internet for promotion in order to stay competitive. The Internet offers businesses the ability to advertise their products, services, and brands, making it an essential platform for consumers when researching and comparing options. Recent studies indicate that teenagers and young adults spend more time online than watching TV. Furthermore, the Internet enables managers to enhance business performance by providing access to valuable resources such as land, employees, raw materials, and buildings (Gale, 2005 p. 74). Moreover, the Internet allows customers to engage in social interaction without having to be physically present. This can alleviate concerns about expressing opinions face-to-face and minimize conflicts within groups.
Technology allows us to express ideas without face-to-face interaction or humiliation, while the Internet enables global connections. For instance, I use the Internet to communicate with my family regularly in a cost-effective and convenient manner. It provides options to send various forms of media like photos, videos, and letters at a reasonable price. Additionally, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Sonic facilitate interactions between individuals from diverse regions (Laura, 2004, p. 48). Furthermore, the Internet benefits consumers by making product research on prices and services effortless. Gale (2005) reveals that one out of every five customers at Sears department store in America have already conducted online research for their electrical appliance purchase and know exactly what they will pay. Remarkably, three-quarters of Americans begin their search for new cars online before ultimately purchasing through traditional dealers.
The Internet offers assistance to customers on various important matters, including caring for someone with a major illness or medical condition, seeking information about such conditions, making significant financial decisions or investments, finding new homes, changing jobs, and purchasing personal computers (Gale, 2007). According to Gale (2007), 81% of Americans have turned to their core ties for help in these areas while 46% have sought assistance from their significant ties. In addition to this benefit, the Internet serves as an educational tool. It allows students and teachers to access additional resources such as virtual libraries, databases, and specialized individuals who can provide guidance. Teachers can also learn from professors worldwide to enhance their teaching methods. Moreover, online learning opportunities offered by the Internet disrupt the conventional method of attending on-campus classes.
Online support, such as tutoring, is available for individuals who cannot visit in person. This benefits those who need assistance but are unable to physically go to a specific location. Additionally, online classes through the internet can benefit employees with busy schedules by increasing their chances of successfully completing projects (Gale, 2007, p. 79).
In today’s world, students can access additional information on the internet in addition to knowledge provided by teachers. Furthermore, the internet enables teachers to interact with students simultaneously across different grades or classes and even from various states or locations.
According to Gale (2005, p. 50), around 100 million American adults utilized the Internet for health care information in 2003. The Internet has transformed the manner in which individuals can investigate diseases and treatments, empowering them to be more knowledgeable. Consequently, this promotes enhanced communication and comprehension between patients and doctors during appointments. Additionally, physicians themselves can gain advantages from the Internet as it offers access to a wider array of information sources.
Doctors have the ability to seek advice from doctors worldwide and access experiments in specific areas. However, the Internet also has its drawbacks. One such drawback is the threat of cyber terrorism. The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) defines cyber terrorism as criminal acts carried out through computers that cause violence, death, and destruction, with the goal of instilling fear to pressure a government into changing its policies. Some experts suggest that cyber terrorism can also be utilized to create fear and promote sales of antivirus software.
Experts claim that fear can be beneficial for certain companies. Some individuals argue that an Internet attack may be unlikely since it was created to handle catastrophic situations. Others liken a cyber attack to the actions of a small group that would not garner much attention. Professor Dorothy Denning (Bocij, 2006, p. 5) posited that terrorists would be more inclined to employ traditional modes of attack, such as weapons, rather than computers. For instance, bombs or viruses.
She believes that attackers do not use computers because it is more difficult to cause significant damage using them. Instead, if bombs are used, the resulting damage would be more severe (Bocij, 2006, p. 5).
The Internet also has a drawback in the form of malicious software or malware such as viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. These programs collectively aim to steal, alter, or delete transmitted information through the Internet. It should be noted that all viruses have the potential to harm or modify data in different ways.
When a computer is initially infected with a virus, it creates a duplicate of itself on the hard disk or another location, potentially overwriting important data and causing instability. This can result in users losing their data if the machine crashes. According to Bocij (p. 33), analyzing the average cost of incidents is one way to measure virus damage. Microsoft reported that approximately 6 percent of business computers experienced data loss in 1998, according to Bocij’s research. Bocij estimated that a virus attack costs around $2,500 (p. 40). Business clients are often targeted by viruses due to having multiple systems, which increases the probability of infection for thousands of individuals working with computers and leads to millions being spent on removing viruses or lost work hours caused by these viruses.
For many people, personal data such as family photos, financial records, correspondence, emails, credit card information, and school or college projects are highly valuable content stored on their computers.
Although many people fail to take basic precautions such as installing antivirus software, it is crucial to remember that the Internet is not responsible for identity theft. However, identity theft has become closely linked with the online world. Caslon Analytics’ report provides examples of identity theft occurrences throughout history, including mentions in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible relating to deceptive prophets.
According to Bocij (2006, p. 85), individuals can collect someone’s information by searching through their personal documents, such as daily mail, receipts, and data from companies or government databases. Another method of identity theft includes stealing passwords and using them for criminal activities. The Internet enables skilled individuals to carry out thefts internationally. Americans should be cautious as they are at risk not only from fellow Americans but also from criminals in regions like Europe and the Far East. In general, the future of the Internet raises concerns regarding personal security.
In the future, purchasing items will undergo a complete transformation where waiting in lines will no longer be necessary and customer satisfaction will be of utmost importance. The Internet will provide access to superior catalogs that display products in various sizes and shapes. Through virtual product testing, we can determine if they meet our requirements from the comfort of our own spaces such as home, office, or even while traveling on an airplane. However, it is important to acknowledge that some individuals still enjoy traditional shopping as it serves as entertainment for them. Nonetheless, businesses can greatly benefit from online sales by cutting costs and offering competitive prices for their products and services.
The Internet has the potential to foster a more inclusive global democracy by empowering people in underdeveloped nations and enhancing their quality of life. Restricting access to democratic sources like television, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet enables governments to control individuals’ thoughts and beliefs. The Cuban government has employed this strategy following its revolution. However, through introducing alternative voting systems and educating individuals about freedom of expression, the Internet plays a crucial role in educating people about the fundamental principles of democracy.
The Internet enables Cubans to globally share information and shape people’s viewpoints. With the growing demand for Internet usage, ideas are easily accessible to anyone who has access. In addition to traditional sources like news media, magazines, and books, individuals now have the chance to collect information from the Internet. This implies that doctors, engineers, politicians, and housewives can publish and exchange their thoughts without limitations of time or place.
Overall, the Internet’s remarkable expansion is a crucial element of the information revolution. Despite this, its potential danger to society cannot be ignored, including cyber terrorism, identity theft, and malwares. Nevertheless, individuals can avoid these actions by taking proper precautions. In general, the Internet provides numerous benefits to both society and businesses. Recently, we have observed how it has revolutionized communication and interaction among people.
The internet remains a positive and valuable tool that will undoubtedly enhance education, information exchange, and commerce in the future. Additionally, the internet will enrich various aspects of our daily lives (Banks, 2008; Bocij, 2006; Egendorf, 2004).
The text above consists of a list of references with their respective publishing information. These references include books and articles about the internet and technology, as well as a website link. The source of the information is Greenhaven Press from Farmington Hills, MI, Enslow Publishers, Inc. from Berkely Heights, NJ, and TechTarget website.