INTERNET CENSORSHIP





Censoring the Internet The internet offers a huge wealth of information both good and bad, unfortunately the vary nature of the internet makes policing this new domain practically impossible. The internet began as a small university network in the United States and has blossomed into a vast telecommunications network spanning the globe. Today the internet is ruled by no governing body and it is an open society for ideas to be developed and shared in. Unfortunately every society has its seedy underside and the internet is no exception. To fully understand the many layers to this problem, an understanding of net history is required. Some thirty years ago the RAND corporation, Americas first and foremost Cold War think-tank faced a strange strategic problem. The cold war had spawned technologies that allowed countries with nuclear capability to target multiple cities with one missile fired from the other side of the world. Post-nuclear America would need a command and control network, linked from city to city, state to state and base to base. No matter how thoroughly that network was armored or protected, its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impact of atomic bombs. A nuclear bombardment would reduce any network to tatters. Any central authority would be an obvious and immediate target for enemy missiles. The center of a network would be the first place to go. So RAND mulled over this puzzle in deep military secrecy and arrived at their solution. In 1964 their proposed ideas became public. Their network would have no central authority, and it would be designed from the beginning to operate while in tatters. All the nodes in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes, each node having its own authority to originate, pass and receive messages. The messages themselves would be divided into packets, each packet separately addressed. Each packet would begin at some specified source node and end at some other specified destination node. The particular route that the packet took would be unimportant, only the final results counted. Each packet would be tossed around like a hot potato from node to node, more or less in the direction of its destination, until it ended up in the proper place. If big chunks of the network were blown away, which wouldn\'t matter, the packets would still stay airborne, moving across the field by whatever nodes happened to survive. This system was efficient in any means (especially when compared to the phone system), but it was extremely tough. In the 1960\'s this concept was thrown around by RAND, MIT and UCLA. In 1969 the first such node was installed in UCLA. By December of 69, there were four nodes on the network, which was called ARPANET, after its Pentagon sponsor. The nodes of the network were high-speed supercomputers. (supercomputers at the time, desktop machines now) Thanks to APRANET scientists and researchers could share one another\'s computer facilities over long-distances. By the second year of its operation however, APRANET\'s users had warped the high cost, computer sharing network into a dedicated, high-speed, federally subsidized electronic post office. The main bulk of traffic on ARPANET was not long-distance computing, it was news and personal messages. The incredibly expensive network using the fastest computers on the planet was a message base for gossip and schmooze. Throughout the 70s this very fact made the network grow, its software allowed many different types of computers to become part of the network. Since the network was decentralized it was difficult to stop people from barging in and linking up. In fact nobody wanted to stop them from joining up and this branching complex of networks came to be known as the internet. In 1984 the National Science Foundation got into the act, and the new NSFNET set a blistering pace for technical advancement, linking newer, faster, shinier supercomputers through thicker, faster links. ARPANET formally expired in 1989, a victim of its own success, but its users scarcely noticed as ARPANET\'s functions not only continued but improved. In 1971 only four nodes existed, today tens of thousands of nodes make up the network and 35 million of users make up the internet community. The internet is and institution that resists institutionalization. The internet community, belonging to everyone