President Obama said in his speech last Friday...“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
We saw in Part I how the origin of 'rapid long distance communication', which is what the internet is, was first developed in the 19th Century by Samuel Morse. We also discovered how the United States Government stole it from him. Not a very good start to how the government helps us little folks along with our dreams.
The only government research that was done, having anything to do with the internet, can be traced only to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory which is government funded. The main thrust of this place was to enhance our air defense systems and was created in 1951. The Lincoln lab developed the magnetic core memory which revolutionized computing.
The actual 'father' of the modern internet concept was a man by the name of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, known affectionately as 'Lick'. I kid you not. He was the first to look beyond the present capabilities of computers and see the potential for interactive computing. Licklider didn't invent the internet, but his ideas of the possibility were the seeds that others picked up and ran with to get to the point where we are today.
Companies such as BBN (Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc.), where Licklider was the Vice President in 1957 and purchased the first PDP-1 computer from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) in 1960 where he conducted the first presentation of time-sharing on computers, were the forerunners of the internet, NOT the government. The PDP-1was an upgrade from the TX-0 that the MIT Lincoln Laboratory had developed as they worked on America's air defense system. However, it was from there that private corporations took the lead with the intelligence of men like Licklider.
It must be noted that Government research was not focused on its citizens where computer technology was concerned, at least not in the way that President Obama explained. the MIT Lincoln Laboratory had been instructed by the U.S. Department of Defense that its computers could ONLY be used for government business and that it would be considered illegal for any personal or profitable use to occur on those systems. After all, the government was looking at this technology on air defense, missile technology, military communication upgrades, etc. Allowing us to make money off of it wasn't even in the same stratosphere as what Obama said. Allowing us to even have ACCESS to it wasn't part of the government's plan.
Steve Jobs, Stephen Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne created Apple Computer in a garage, with the financial help of a private investor named Mike Markkula.
The fact is, that regardless of how the President spun his quote (by talking about teachers and others who helped people along the way), he was obviously espousing his belief that without the government, you can't lay claim to what you have accomplished in life. All that you have accomplished, each crown of accomplishment on your head, must be thrown at the feet of government. No matter that you took the risk, you put in the sacrifice, you put in the blood, sweat and tears...without the government...you could have done nothing. When he said, "You didn't build that!", it should have sent shivers down your spine just as it did mine.
IBM, Xerox, MITS, BBN, and DEC (among other private companies) are who really put in the research to bring the modern computer to the people of the world. Did they do it for mankind's good? Probably not. More than likely a capitalist company does those things to make money, and boy have they. But, on the flip side of the coin there are millions of people like me and you that make money on the internet every day, thanks to THEM. Not thanks to the government, but to THEM.
In fact, the government quickly held committee meetings on how they could charge taxes on e-commerce and internet usage, even on e-mails. A big thanks to Republicans and to President Bush who signed into law the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendment Act of 2007, that effectively forbids taxation of Internet service based on amount (bit tax), type (bandwidth) or use (email) in order to make the medium affordable and accessible for commercial and personal use. However, this ends in 2014, and you can bet your bottom dollar the 'spread-the wealth' types in Washington under Obama (if he wins) will be licking their chops over how much they can make once that Act expires. Right now, I'll wager, the government is looking at ways to tap into the resource rich market place which is the internet, already laying claim to doing and paying for the research that made it possible which is absolutely a BOGUS claim. And, thanks to the Supreme Court, the government can now tax us at will.
The power mongers in Washington D.C. do NOT have our best interests in the forefront. They are only seeking ways to maintain their power and prestige and money by remaining elite and keeping us all dependent on them. Listen to them when they turn away from their teleprompters and speech writers and really speak their mind. It's chilling to hear them and to see them unashamedly carry it out. What President Obama said last Friday should be a wake-up call to all of us. He cannot be allowed to win another term. If he does, we are a country undone.