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Web History

- Building blocks of a historical-sociology of the internet -

dr. Albert Benschop

The Birth of the Internet from the fallout shelter

In 1962 Paul Baran wrote a Rand Corporation report On Distributed Communications in which he discusses how the U.S. military could protect its communication systems from serious attack. In this report he outlines the principle of 'redundancy of connectivity' and explores various models of forming non-vulnerable communication systems. He proposes a communication systems in which there would be no obvious central command and control point. All surviving points would be able to re-establish contact in the event of an attack on any one point. In this system damage to a part would not destroy the whole and its effect on the whole would be minimized. Baran proposed a national public utility to transport computer data, much in the way the telephone system transports voice data. In september 1969 the first ARPANET Information Message Processor was installed at UCLA. This could be seen as the birth of the Internet. So the internet started as a Cold War military project. But thirty years later the political scene has changed dramatically. Nowadays the biggest capitalist tycoon of the Western hemisphere, Bill Gates, wants to use old Russian nuclear missiles to wrap an Internetweb around the world. Gates' Teledesic Corporation in buying SS-18 rockets from the Russians. They are necessary to launch 22 satellites in the years 2000 and 2001. With these satellites Gates wants to construct a network of 840 satellites around the earth, which all owners of a PC in the world would give direct access to the internet.


Historical Resources

  1. A Brief History of the Internet written by people who made it.

  2. The History of the Net by: Henry Edward Hardy (Univ. Michigan)

  3. Naughton, John [2000]
    A Brief History of the Future: Origins of the Internet.
    Overlook Press.

  4. Netizens - On the history and impact of Usenet and the Internet by: Michael Hauben & Ronda Hauben.

  5. Noble, David F. [1999]
    The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention.
    New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

  6. In the SocioSite you'll find more knowledge resources on the History of the Internet.
Peculiarities SocioSite Subject Areas Society Search About us Contact

dr. Albert Benschop
Social & Behavioral Sciences
Sociology & Anthropology University of Amsterdam
Published: October, 1997
Last modified: 13th September, 2013