Internet History

International Journal of Technoethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 45-64, 2011

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 Last revised: 4 Oct 2013

See all articles by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Middle East Study Centre; University of Hull

Date Written: 2011


The aim of this essay is to outline and analyze milestones in the history of the Internet. As technology advances, it presents new societal and ethical challenges. Section II concerns the formative years (1957-1984). The early Internet was devised and implemented in American research units, universities, and telecommunication companies that had vision and interest in cutting-edge research. Section III discusses the entry of the Internet into the commercial phase (1984-1989). It was facilitated by the upgrading of backbone links, the writing of new software programs and the growing number of interconnected international networks. Section IV concerns the massive expansion of the Internet into a global network during the 1990s when business and personal computers with different operating systems joined the universal network. Section V discusses the instant and growing success of social networking, sites that enable Netusers to share information, photos, private journals, hobbies and personal as well as commercial interests with networks of mutual friends and colleagues.

The most interesting part of the essay is concerned with the popular myth that the Department of Defense scientists thought that if the Soviet were capable to launch satellites, they might as well be capable to launch long-distance nuclear missiles. I refute this myth, arguing that ARPANET was not related to building a network resistant to nuclear war.

Keywords: Internet, history, ARPANET, ICANN, innovation, open architecture, packet switching, social networking

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael and Cohen-Almagor, Raphael, Internet History (2011). International Journal of Technoethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 45-64, 2011 , Available at SSRN:

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Contact Author)

University of Hull ( email )

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United Kingdom

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Middle East Study Centre ( email )

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