Internet chronology

1965: Lawrence Roberts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology creates the first network, linking computers in Massachusetts and California.

1969: The U.S. Defense Department creates a precursor to the Internet -- ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, to be used for communications in case of a nuclear war.

1971: While working on ARPANET, computer engineer Ray Tomlinson develops e-mail.

1973: First international connection to the ARPANET is made.

1974: Roberts, now a part of the ARPANET team, invites AT&T to run the network, in hope of keeping the Pentagon from governing its use. AT&T declines.

1981: ARPANET now has 213 connected network host computers.

1982: The term "Internet" is coined.

1986: The National Science Foundation establishes a network to link five U.S. university computer centers. Others, including the European Network, begin connecting.

1987: Congress passes the Computer Security Act, which establishes practices to improve the security and privacy of sensitive information in government computer systems.

1988: Robert Morris, son of a National Security Agency computer security expert, writes 99 lines of code and releases the first self-replicating virus. A federal judge sentences Morris to 400 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web, making it easier to share and find data on the Internet. ARPANET is dissolved and responsibility for the Internet given to the National Science Foundation.

1992: The Internet has more than a million hosts. The Internet Society is established, with more than 120 countries as members. Its goal is to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education and policy, and to ensure open development, evolution and use of the Internet.

1994: Berners-Lee thinks the Internet needs some oversight. He begins a forum where developers of servers and browsers could reach a consensus on how the Web should operate.

1995: The National Science Foundation begins to turn over Internet operations to commercial suppliers of networking services.

1996: Phone companies ask Congress to ban Internet phones. ... New Zealand declares computer discs "publications" that can be censored and seized by the government. ... China requires Internet users and service providers to register with the police. ... Saudi Arabia confines computer access to universities and hospitals.

1998: ICANN -- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- is developed with the U.S. Department of Commerce to operate the domain name system that assigns Web addresses to individuals, companies and other organizations.

2003: The first World Summit on the Information Society is held in Geneva to discuss global governance of the Internet and access for developing nations.

2006: Google sets up a Chinese search engine that will censor itself to satisfy the Chinese government. ... The ICANN contract is renewed for five years with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Other nations say such ties politicize what should be a neutral, global computer network.

2007: Internet hosts exceed 489,774,000.