Faculty Scholarship

Document Type


Publication Date



There is a tendency to forget how young the Internet is. Modern computing and data trafficking are not even historical pre-teens. The personal computer was not widely available to consumers until the late 1970s, and the Internet was not fully commercialized until 1995.1 Less than two decades later, seventy-six percent of Americans own at least one personal computer and seventy-seven percent regularly rely on the Internet.2 Increasingly, businesses, schools, news organizations, and financial institutions offer their services exclusively online.3 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports a high level of integration and reliance, noting that “our economy and national security are fully dependent upon . . . the information infrastructure,” and that “the core of the information infrastructure upon which we depend is the Internet.”4 Not only are business and infrastructure web-reliant, but social interactions are now online affairs. More people spend more time online due to social networking, which represents one of the fastest growing sectors of Internet use.5 “[T]he time spent on these websites is growing three times faster than the overall Internet rate, and using social networking websites is currently the fourth most popular online activity.”6 Younger demographics more than their senior counterparts eschew traditional forums of social interaction in favor of social networking sites, leaving those without Internet access outside the social norm.7 “Increasingly, being connected to society means being connected to the Internet." 8 [excerpt]