What we now call the internet was first developed in the 1960s.
But it wasn't until 1990 that the world wide web was developed, and with it the web browser that made it easy for average folk to surf the net - which, of course, became such a persuasive pass time as the 1990s progressed.
And remarkably, the web was largely the invention of one man – and he wasn't Al Gore, or even an American, but Englishman Tim Berners-Lee (knighted in 2004).
Between 1980 and 1990, Sir Tim worked at CERN on a series of standards and technologies including URLs, HTML and concepts we take for granted today such as linking between pages.
Sir Tim will give a rare public lecture at 5.30pm today at Te Papa, as a guest of InternetNZ, speaking on "The value of an open internet and why it matters to New Zealand and the world."
The lecture is sold out, but Open New Zealand has arranged a series of live streams at venues in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (sign up to watch the livestream over the web here; you can also sign up to watch it with others at universities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch here).
InternetNZ community and collaboration lead Ellen Strickland says, “The live webstream is a fitting way for Sir Tim’s message to reach a broader audience, and we welcome Open New Zealand’s move to organise venues for people to come together and watch the lecture together."
InternetNZ policy lead Susan Chalmers says Sir Tim’s message about internet openness is critically important. Today’s internet has openness at its core. The protocols that make up the fabric of the internet allow anyone, anywhere to write new applications, develop new ideas and share them with the world.
“Sir Tim’s invention of the world wide web is a brilliant example of this. He did not need corporate approval to share the web with the world. He did not need to buy access to the technology. No government or regulator had to approve it before the public could use it.
“This openness is what makes the Internet so powerful. Innovation without permission, accessible to all, can change things for the better,” she says.