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The initial version of the internet was first started in 1962 by an MIT computer scientist named J.C.R. Licklider, who came up with the concept of a global computer network.  A few years later, he shared it with The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).  Leonard Kleinrock, Thomas Merrill, and Lawrence G. Roberts were responsible for contributions made in research on packet-switching theory.  This theory was the initial groundwork that orchestrated how the first-world WAN (Wide Area Network) would operate.  Roberts, after time, published a plan for the ARPANET, which later became a reality in 1969 and increased dramatically within a few years.  However, the rules of the internet are about to change.  Are you ready for what will happen?

Now that there was a stable beginning info structure, there needed to be a protocol allowing several networks to talk to each other.  Robert And Vinton, in 1973, made these additions by creating the basis for the initial communication rules referred to as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol).  This protocol helped to regulate traffic and ensure routing would still occur if another network went down.  While at Xerox, Robert Metcalfe developed a cabling system that allowed more significant amounts of data to flow over the network, which he called Alto Aloah and is today known as Ethernet.

In 1982 Dave Farber of the University of Delaware shared a project which is an inexpensive network using dial-up phone lines.  This discovery widened the reach of the internet and now allows for the facilitation of e-mail transatlanticly.  Also, in 1982,  the PhoneNet system was referred to as ARPANET and was the first commercial network known as Telenet.  In 1981, Metcalfe’s company called 3Com released that they now had Ethernet products for computer workstations and personal computers, thus allowing what we know today as LAN (Local Area Network).

The first person to register a domain name on the domain name system was in 1985.  Paul Mockapetris, Jon Postel, and Craig Partridge devised DNS (Domain Name System).  A DNS allows users to have a domain name linked to an IP address, making it easier to get to websites that will remember a number like x.x.x.x.  How many people do you know today that type in a number to get a website, probably no one regularly.

Several years passed, and Ted Nelson suggested using hypertext, the HTTP protocol, to manage and organize information.  The Unix operating system quickly became a choice for using TCP/IP networks.  Next, Tom Truscott and Steve Bellovin engineered a Unix-based system for sending data over phone lines via a dial-up connection, later known as the USENET.

USENET was the original flavor of the internet as it supported USENET NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol), allowing users to post and read messages on message boards and have updated feeds on new content.  USENET quickly got adopted as a Unix-to-Unix copy (UUCP) and as the first dial-up info structure.  In 1990, Tim Berners, and his colleagues at CERN, took down ARPANET.  Cern is a European Organization for Nuclear Research that operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.  Cern, now located in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, in 1954.  Tim and his colleagues at Cern also developed the first HTTP markup language known as HTML (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), thus starting the first stages of the WWW (World Wide Web). 

Around 1995, as Microsoft launched Windows 95, Amazon, Yahoo, and eBay jumped on board to deploy.  Now Internet Explorer has been released; Java is formulated, facilitating animation for websites.  Congress in 1996 passed the Communication Decency Act in response to illegal and adult content now on the internet.  Then Google was started in 1998, and by 1999 video and music piracy claims surfaced everywhere.  By 1999 first virus was deployed in1999, known as Melissa and was able to send itself out and re-infect everyone in your address book and all the ones it reaches.

Now it’s 2000, and the explosion of the dot com era has occurred.  Google now becomes more than a household name as everyone and their brother are using it to find anything, from businesses to a myriad of daily questions.  The internet has become more than a luxury but a necessity.  Thus, WIFi opens center stage.   Mobile device manufacturers quickly embraced this in 2005, and the first internet cat video dominated screens worldwide.

With the internet, many opportunities surface; however, increased speed brings about several challenges.  One challenge people are facing is malware, spyware and viruses, scam, fraud, and deceptive practices to steal identities.  Another matter is the ability for stalking to become digital and their attackers to harass, stalk and track their victims online.  Courts must now issue restraining orders for in-person and digital contact via phone, e-mail, social media, etc.

About thirty-two years later, the internet continues to grow exponentially, and more challenges are still surfacing.  The government has kept its hands-off legislation and rules concerning it but get ready for that to change.  On November 1, 2022, the EU (European Union), a new law they have passed, will take effect and change the internet forever.  The new DMA (Digital Markets Act) will be in full force.  The EU will force Amazon, Google, and Meta to make their platforms more interoperable in 2023.  These new changes will require them to restrict what users may be able to do with their devices and apps more actively than the current restrictions the US places.

According to the EU, and I quote,  If you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or the internet,” de Graaf says in a conference room with emerald green accents at the Irish consulate in San Francisco, where the EU’s office is initially located.  The DMA requires dominant platforms to let in smaller competitors.  It could also compel Meta’s WhatsApp to receive messages from competing apps like Signal or Telegram or prevent Amazon, Apple, and Google from preferencing their apps and services.

Although the DMA takes force next week, tech platforms don’t have to comply immediately.  The EU first must decide which companies are large and entrenched enough to be classified as “gatekeepers” subject to the toughest rules.  De Graaf expects that about a dozen companies will be in that group, to be announced in the spring.  Those gatekeepers will then have six months to come into compliance.

De Graaf has predicted a wave of lawsuits challenging Europe’s new rules for Big Tech but says he is in California to help make clear to Silicon Valley giants that the rules have changed.  The EU has previously levied big fines against Google, Apple, and others through antitrust investigations, a mechanism that put the burden of proof on bureaucrats, he says.  Under DMA, the onus is on the business to fall in line.  “The key message is that negotiations are over; we’re in a compliance situation,” de Graaf says.  “You may not like it, but that’s the way it is.”

Thus, it is clear that the EU is taking more proactive measures to protect people and their businesses from unfair practices.  It is also their goal to ensure that people can use their technology with the full benefits designed.