To The Daily Sun,
Steve Earle needs another history lesson. The Internet was first created through the work of a Defense Department agency called the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA which is now DARPA, www.darpa.mil. This organization was created by the military immediately following the Russian launch of Sputnik. Funding from ARPA allowed researchers to experiment with methods for computers to communicate with each other.
Going online in Cold War 1969, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), originally linked only four separate computer sites at U.S. universities and research institutes, where it was used primarily by scientists for the U.S. Defense Department's agenda. In the early 1970s, other nations joined ARPANET and within a decade it was widely accessible to researchers, administrators and their students. Then the National Science Foundation, another government foundation at www.nsf.gov, was tasked with linking the users of ARPANET. That net system was then dismantled in 1990 and since then it is the government's National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) that now serves as the technical backbone for all Internet communications in the United States.
It was DARPA who provided the communications network linking the country in the event that a military attack destroyed conventional communications systems. DARPA has been involved in military and intelligence projects from the start. In 1958 ARPA was involved with rocket development, specifically the Saturn V moon rocket and the Atlas-Centaur launch system. ARPA was also a critical player in the development and launches of the first weather, television and infrared satellites. Those duties were transferred to NASA in 1959. The now declassified Corona photo-reconnaissance spy satellite program, was jointly funded by DARPA and the Central Intelligence Agency.
As with most of the great technology we have, the Internet was "invented" by the government for military reasons and we became the beneficiaries. War has the same affect on modern technology, government creations eventually become mainstream and privatized. But government did the legwork.
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