Despite the popular myth that the Internet was invented by Al Gore (a myth started by Al Gore) the Internet was, in fact, an American invention. The launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, is reported to have lead to the creation of the ARPANET in 1958. By all accounts, the ARPANET net was the precursor to today’s Internet.
The Internet has remained largely controlled by the United States or U.S. industries from that point forward. Adoption rates for the modern Internet first exploded in the U.S. and today North American represents roughly 237 million Internet users – which means that the penetration rate for this region stands at around 71 percent. This is a shift that may have important implications for VPS hosting and managed dedicated server companies competing in a world economy.
In times past it was actually odd to see a website in any language other than English. One would gaze at it – imagining the information that it conveyed to a far-off and culturally distant neighbor on planet earth.
Today things are vastly different. As pointed out in the New York Times today, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/business/30pipes.html, the majority of the world’s Internet traffic now routes around the U.S. and not through it. A key driver of this trend is presumed to the passage of The Patriot Act – which ostensibly expands the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies for the stated purpose of fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad. Among the provisions of The Patriot Act are those that permit the government to inspect email and online customer records in pursuit of terrorism. A certain school of thought argues that this transparency has lead to a cooling on foreign entities storing customer data and records in the U.S. – opting instead for international destinations.
Whatever the specific reasons, the era of U.S. dominance on the Internet are at an end. Let’s hope that the rest of the world will carry forward the Internet torch in a way that best serves the entire global community.
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