Privatization of the New Communication Channel:
Computer Networks and the Internet


With the popularity of company web sites and the proliferation of the "dot-com" corporations it is difficult to think of the Internet as anything but a commercial medium. Despite this difficulty, there was a time when the Internet was a network dedicated to government and research communication. In these times commercial speech was not allowed on the network. The physical network of the Internet was eventually given by the government to computer businesses. This transition to a private network has many social implications. In order for these implications to be placed in a larger context, it is necessary to examine the history of the Internet up to the commercialization. By looking at exactly how the Internet became commercialized it is apparent that the government has largely succeeded in creating a network that operates for the greatest good of society.


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