In the 21st Century, it’s hard to imagine our life without the internet, We are using the internet for different kinds of work whether it’s defense sector, healthcare or just posting memes on social media. but very few people actually know how the internet works or who owns our lovely internet!

The Birth of The Internet:

Back in 1966, the U.S. Defense Department had a branch related to the technology called Advanced Research Projects Agency, also knows as ARPA. ARPA was working on a revolutionary technology which is going to today’s Internet. At that time, ARPA was working on three different computer research and was using three different terminals to communicate with them. Robert Taylor decided to make a single computer network for the department to connect each project/research with one computer. Robert Taylor was working for the Pentagon as director of the Information Processing Techniques Office, which was a part of ARPA.

Mr. Taylor told his idea to Charlie Herzfeld, who was the head of ARPA, Charlie Herzfeld immanently liked his idea and agreed to fund this project. “Charlie Herzfeld took a million dollars out of the ballistic missile defense budget and put it into my budget right then and there.”, Robert Taylor recalled in an interview with The Times.

After a few months of research, Mr. Taylor was able to connect two or more computers to a single computer. At first, it was called ARPAnet and this was the birth of our loving Internet!

Internet Going Public!:

In the beginning, ARPA connected a few nearby universities to the ARPAnet for their research and development. And over the next few years, ARPAnet grew and connected almost all major universities in the United States.

ARPANet
ARPANET network map 1974 Source: Wikipedia.com

The ARPANET was also connected to several computing centers and supercomputers of that time. Although, The Department of Defence only agreed to connect the universities because they needed hardware and software resources to function properly. This is what helped us shape the modern Internet as we know it.

The Birth of the World Wide Web:

20 years later after the birth of the internet, an English scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee was working on a project in Geneva, Switzerland. Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first web browser and he was first to successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet. This was the time when he introduced the World Wide Web (www) to the world.

Sir Tim John Berners-Lee With World’s First Web Server

Currently, Mr. Lee is the director of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Which oversees the development of Web.

World Wide Web and The Internet often described as same things, but they aren’t the same thing. The Internet is the infrastructure of different networks and web works on top of this network, We can say that the WWW works like a portal which gives us access to the Internet. So the World Wide Web != The Internet.

What is The Internet and how does it work?

The internet is just a globally connected network of computers/servers, which are connected via telephone lines, cables, satellites and wireless connections. This network uses the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) technology to communicate with different computers, servers and devices in the network.

TCP/IP Data Flow
Source: packet-network.blogspot.com

The Internet uses the cables spread across the oceans to connect each part of the world except countries like North Korea to connect with the Internet. As of 2019, the length of cables lay in the oceans is 1.2 million kilometers.

Map of Internet cable
Source: www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/

Can You Kill The Internet?

Do you think that cutting the Internet cables in the oceans will kill the Internet? Well, it’s nearly impossible for one person to cut all the cables and if you manage to do so you won’t be able to kill the internet. Because in recent times a large part of the internet is run by wireless technology and Low-Earth orbit satellites. Companies like SpaceX and Amazon are planning to launch around 7000-8000 low earth orbit satellites to boost the Internet. So if you think you can kill the internet, think again!

Who Owns The Internet?

Well, The answer to this question is Nobody and Everybody, technically no one owns the Internet, it is itself is internally connected connections of many networks. It is completely decentralized means no Government, Organization or a person owns or control the internet. But the government has the ability to control the citizen’s access to the Internet. For example: In China all major social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. are banned and in North Korea, only a few people have access to the Internet.

In the year 2016 U.S. government officially gave the ownership of the database that contains the list of domain names of the Internet to a Non-profit Organization called The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The ICANN has been taking care of this database of 20 years now. ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the Central Internet Address pools and the Domain Name System (DNS).

Only 7 people of ICANN has access to that database and to actually gain access to that database, 5 out of 7 people have to use their master keys to gain assess. These 7 keys are also known as “keys to the Internet”. although these keys don’t have any control over the Internet, all these keys do is give access to the root of DNS.

Note: ICANN is the same company that releases domain name extensions such as .com, .co, .net, etc.