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Two decades of the web: a utopia no longer

Evgeny Morozov traces the development of the web from the laboratories of the Cold War to the world of venture capital and big money

By Evgeny Morozov   July 2011

The “virtual community”: an idea that was the antithesis of Cold War paranoia

The internet is a child with many fathers. It is an extremely complex multi-module technology and each module—from communication protocols to browsers—has a convoluted history. The internet’s earliest roots lie in the rise of cybernetics during the 1950s. Later breakthroughs included the invention of packet switching in the 1960s, a novel way for transmitting data by breaking it into chunks. Various university and government networks began to appear in the early 1970s, and were interlinked in the 1980s. The first browsers came on line in the early…

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