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Internet users can watch animals around an African waterhole, ships in the Panama Canal , traffic at a local roundabout or monitor their own premises, live and in real time.
Video chat rooms and video conferencing are also popular with many uses being found for personal webcams, with and without two-way sound.
YouTube was founded on 15 February and is now the leading website for free streaming video with more than two billion users. YouTube claims that its users watch hundreds of millions, and upload hundreds of thousands of videos daily.
The Internet has enabled new forms of social interaction, activities, and social associations. This phenomenon has given rise to the scholarly study of the sociology of the Internet.
However, in terms of penetration, China has [ when? The prevalent language for communication via the Internet has always been English.
This may be a result of the origin of the Internet, as well as the language's role as a lingua franca and as a world language. Early computer systems were limited to the characters in the American Standard Code for Information Interchange ASCII , a subset of the Latin alphabet.
However, some glitches such as mojibake incorrect display of some languages' characters still remain. In an American study in , the percentage of men using the Internet was very slightly ahead of the percentage of women, although this difference reversed in those under Men logged on more often, spent more time online, and were more likely to be broadband users, whereas women tended to make more use of opportunities to communicate such as email.
Men were more likely to use the Internet to pay bills, participate in auctions, and for recreation such as downloading music and videos.
Men and women were equally likely to use the Internet for shopping and banking. Several neologisms exist that refer to Internet users: Netizen as in "citizen of the net"  refers to those actively involved in improving online communities , the Internet in general or surrounding political affairs and rights such as free speech ,   Internaut refers to operators or technically highly capable users of the Internet,   digital citizen refers to a person using the Internet in order to engage in society, politics, and government participation.
The Internet allows greater flexibility in working hours and location, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections.
The Internet can be accessed almost anywhere by numerous means, including through mobile Internet devices. Mobile phones, datacards , handheld game consoles and cellular routers allow users to connect to the Internet wirelessly.
Within the limitations imposed by small screens and other limited facilities of such pocket-sized devices, the services of the Internet, including email and the web, may be available.
Service providers may restrict the services offered and mobile data charges may be significantly higher than other access methods. Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites.
Examples range from CBeebies , through school and high-school revision guides and virtual universities , to access to top-end scholarly literature through the likes of Google Scholar.
For distance education , help with homework and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time or just looking up more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere.
The Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education. Further, the Internet allows universities, in particular, researchers from the social and behavioral sciences, to conduct research remotely via virtual laboratories, with profound changes in reach and generalizability of findings as well as in communication between scientists and in the publication of results.
The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills have made collaborative work dramatically easier, with the help of collaborative software.
Not only can a group cheaply communicate and share ideas but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups more easily to form.
An example of this is the free software movement , which has produced, among other things, Linux , Mozilla Firefox , and OpenOffice. Internet chat, whether using an IRC chat room, an instant messaging system, or a social networking service, allows colleagues to stay in touch in a very convenient way while working at their computers during the day.
Messages can be exchanged even more quickly and conveniently than via email. These systems may allow files to be exchanged, drawings and images to be shared, or voice and video contact between team members.
Content management systems allow collaborating teams to work on shared sets of documents simultaneously without accidentally destroying each other's work.
Business and project teams can share calendars as well as documents and other information. Such collaboration occurs in a wide variety of areas including scientific research, software development, conference planning, political activism and creative writing.
Social and political collaboration is also becoming more widespread as both Internet access and computer literacy spread. The Internet allows computer users to remotely access other computers and information stores easily from any access point.
Access may be with computer security , i. This is encouraging new ways of working from home, collaboration and information sharing in many industries.
An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth.
These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information emailed to them from offices all over the world.
Some of these things were possible before the widespread use of the Internet, but the cost of private leased lines would have made many of them infeasible in practice.
An office worker away from their desk, perhaps on the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can access their emails, access their data using cloud computing , or open a remote desktop session into their office PC using a secure virtual private network VPN connection on the Internet.
This can give the worker complete access to all of their normal files and data, including email and other applications, while away from the office.
It has been referred to among system administrators as the Virtual Private Nightmare,  because it extends the secure perimeter of a corporate network into remote locations and its employees' homes.
By late s Internet has been described as "the main source of scientific information "for the majority of the global North population".
Many people use the World Wide Web to access news, weather and sports reports, to plan and book vacations and to pursue their personal interests.
People use chat , messaging and email to make and stay in touch with friends worldwide, sometimes in the same way as some previously had pen pals.
Social networking services such as Facebook have created new ways to socialize and interact. Users of these sites are able to add a wide variety of information to pages, to pursue common interests, and to connect with others.
It is also possible to find existing acquaintances, to allow communication among existing groups of people. Sites like LinkedIn foster commercial and business connections.
YouTube and Flickr specialize in users' videos and photographs. Social networking services are also widely used by businesses and other organizations to promote their brands, to market to their customers and to encourage posts to " go viral ".
A risk for both individuals and organizations writing posts especially public posts on social networking services, is that especially foolish or controversial posts occasionally lead to an unexpected and possibly large-scale backlash on social media from other Internet users.
This is also a risk in relation to controversial offline behavior, if it is widely made known. The nature of this backlash can range widely from counter-arguments and public mockery, through insults and hate speech , to, in extreme cases, rape and death threats.
The online disinhibition effect describes the tendency of many individuals to behave more stridently or offensively online than they would in person.
A significant number of feminist women have been the target of various forms of harassment in response to posts they have made on social media, and Twitter in particular has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to aid victims of online abuse.
For organizations, such a backlash can cause overall brand damage , especially if reported by the media. However, this is not always the case, as any brand damage in the eyes of people with an opposing opinion to that presented by the organization could sometimes be outweighed by strengthening the brand in the eyes of others.
Furthermore, if an organization or individual gives in to demands that others perceive as wrong-headed, that can then provoke a counter-backlash.
Some websites, such as Reddit , have rules forbidding the posting of personal information of individuals also known as doxxing , due to concerns about such postings leading to mobs of large numbers of Internet users directing harassment at the specific individuals thereby identified.
In particular, the Reddit rule forbidding the posting of personal information is widely understood to imply that all identifying photos and names must be censored in Facebook screenshots posted to Reddit.
However, the interpretation of this rule in relation to public Twitter posts is less clear, and in any case, like-minded people online have many other ways they can use to direct each other's attention to public social media posts they disagree with.
Children also face dangers online such as cyberbullying and approaches by sexual predators , who sometimes pose as children themselves.
Children may also encounter material which they may find upsetting, or material which their parents consider to be not age-appropriate. Due to naivety, they may also post personal information about themselves online, which could put them or their families at risk unless warned not to do so.
The most popular social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter, commonly forbid users under the age of However, these policies are typically trivial to circumvent by registering an account with a false birth date, and a significant number of children aged under 13 join such sites anyway.
Social networking services for younger children, which claim to provide better levels of protection for children, also exist.
The Internet has been a major outlet for leisure activity since its inception, with entertaining social experiments such as MUDs and MOOs being conducted on university servers, and humor-related Usenet groups receiving much traffic.
Although many governments have attempted to restrict both industries' use of the Internet, in general, this has failed to stop their widespread popularity.
Another area of leisure activity on the Internet is multiplayer gaming. These range from MMORPG to first-person shooters , from role-playing video games to online gambling.
While online gaming has been around since the s, modern modes of online gaming began with subscription services such as GameSpy and MPlayer.
Many people use the Internet to access and download music, movies and other works for their enjoyment and relaxation. Free and fee-based services exist for all of these activities, using centralized servers and distributed peer-to-peer technologies.
Some of these sources exercise more care with respect to the original artists' copyrights than others. Internet usage has been correlated to users' loneliness.
A book claimed that the Internet consolidates most aspects of human endeavor into singular arenas of which all of humanity are potential members and competitors, with fundamentally negative impacts on mental health as a result.
While successes in each field of activity are pervasively visible and trumpeted, they are reserved for an extremely thin sliver of the world's most exceptional, leaving everyone else behind.
Whereas, before the Internet, expectations of success in any field were supported by reasonable probabilities of achievement at the village, suburb, city or even state level, the same expectations in the Internet world are virtually certain to bring disappointment today: there is always someone else, somewhere on the planet, who can do better and take the now one-and-only top spot.
Cybersectarianism is a new organizational form which involves: "highly dispersed small groups of practitioners that may remain largely anonymous within the larger social context and operate in relative secrecy, while still linked remotely to a larger network of believers who share a set of practices and texts, and often a common devotion to a particular leader.
Overseas supporters provide funding and support; domestic practitioners distribute tracts, participate in acts of resistance, and share information on the internal situation with outsiders.
Collectively, members and practitioners of such sects construct viable virtual communities of faith, exchanging personal testimonies and engaging in the collective study via email, on-line chat rooms, and web-based message boards.
Cyberslacking can become a drain on corporate resources; the average UK employee spent 57 minutes a day surfing the Web while at work, according to a study by Peninsula Business Services.
Nicholas G. Carr believes that Internet use has other effects on individuals , for instance improving skills of scan-reading and interfering with the deep thinking that leads to true creativity.
Electronic business e-business encompasses business processes spanning the entire value chain : purchasing, supply chain management , marketing , sales , customer service, and business relationship.
E-commerce seeks to add revenue streams using the Internet to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners.
While much has been written of the economic advantages of Internet-enabled commerce , there is also evidence that some aspects of the Internet such as maps and location-aware services may serve to reinforce economic inequality and the digital divide.
Author Andrew Keen , a long-time critic of the social transformations caused by the Internet, has focused on the economic effects of consolidation from Internet businesses.
Telecommuting is the performance within a traditional worker and employer relationship when it is facilitated by tools such as groupware , virtual private networks , conference calling , videoconferencing , and VoIP so that work may be performed from any location, most conveniently the worker's home.
It can be efficient and useful for companies as it allows workers to communicate over long distances, saving significant amounts of travel time and cost.
As broadband Internet connections become commonplace, more workers have adequate bandwidth at home to use these tools to link their home to their corporate intranet and internal communication networks.
Wikis have also been used in the academic community for sharing and dissemination of information across institutional and international boundaries.
Queens , New York has used a wiki to allow citizens to collaborate on the design and planning of a local park. The Internet has achieved new relevance as a political tool.
The presidential campaign of Howard Dean in in the United States was notable for its success in soliciting donation via the Internet.
Many political groups use the Internet to achieve a new method of organizing for carrying out their mission, having given rise to Internet activism , most notably practiced by rebels in the Arab Spring.
Many have understood the Internet as an extension of the Habermasian notion of the public sphere , observing how network communication technologies provide something like a global civic forum.
However, incidents of politically motivated Internet censorship have now been recorded in many countries, including western democracies.
The spread of low-cost Internet access in developing countries has opened up new possibilities for peer-to-peer charities, which allow individuals to contribute small amounts to charitable projects for other individuals.
Websites, such as DonorsChoose and GlobalGiving , allow small-scale donors to direct funds to individual projects of their choice.
A popular twist on Internet-based philanthropy is the use of peer-to-peer lending for charitable purposes.
Kiva pioneered this concept in , offering the first web-based service to publish individual loan profiles for funding. Kiva raises funds for local intermediary microfinance organizations which post stories and updates on behalf of the borrowers.
Kiva falls short of being a pure peer-to-peer charity, in that loans are disbursed before being funded by lenders and borrowers do not communicate with lenders themselves.
Internet resources, hardware, and software components are the target of criminal or malicious attempts to gain unauthorized control to cause interruptions, commit fraud, engage in blackmail or access private information.
Malware is malicious software used and distributed via the Internet. It includes computer viruses which are copied with the help of humans, computer worms which copy themselves automatically, software for denial of service attacks , ransomware , botnets , and spyware that reports on the activity and typing of users.
Usually, these activities constitute cybercrime. Defense theorists have also speculated about the possibilities of hackers using cyber warfare using similar methods on a large scale.
The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet.
Computers communicate over the Internet by breaking up messages emails, images, videos, web pages, files, etc. Packet Capture Appliance intercepts these packets as they are traveling through the network, in order to examine their contents using other programs.
A packet capture is an information gathering tool, but not an analysis tool. That is it gathers "messages" but it does not analyze them and figure out what they mean.
Under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act all U. The large amount of data gathered from packet capturing requires surveillance software that filters and reports relevant information, such as the use of certain words or phrases, the access of certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or chat with certain parties.
The required hardware and software was allegedly installed by German Siemens AG and Finnish Nokia. Some governments, such as those of Burma , Iran , North Korea , Mainland China , Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates , restrict access to content on the Internet within their territories, especially to political and religious content, with domain name and keyword filters.
In Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, major Internet service providers have voluntarily agreed to restrict access to sites listed by authorities.
While this list of forbidden resources is supposed to contain only known child pornography sites, the content of the list is secret.
Many free or commercially available software programs, called content-control software are available to users to block offensive websites on individual computers or networks, in order to limit access by children to pornographic material or depiction of violence.
As the Internet is a heterogeneous network, the physical characteristics, including for example the data transfer rates of connections, vary widely.
It exhibits emergent phenomena that depend on its large-scale organization. The volume of Internet traffic is difficult to measure, because no single point of measurement exists in the multi-tiered, non-hierarchical topology.
Traffic data may be estimated from the aggregate volume through the peering points of the Tier 1 network providers, but traffic that stays local in large provider networks may not be accounted for.
An Internet blackout or outage can be caused by local signalling interruptions. Disruptions of submarine communications cables may cause blackouts or slowdowns to large areas, such as in the submarine cable disruption.
In some countries, certain parts of the Internet are blocked via censorship. The Internet provides a capability so powerful and general that it can be used for almost any purpose that depends on information, and it is accessible by every individual who connects to one of its constituent networks.
It supports access to digital information by many applications, including the World Wide Web. See electronic commerce. The first computer networks were dedicated special-purpose systems such as SABRE an airline reservation system and AUTODIN I a defense command-and-control system , both designed and implemented in the late s and early s.
By the early s computer manufacturers had begun to use semiconductor technology in commercial products, and both conventional batch-processing and time-sharing systems were in place in many large, technologically advanced companies.
Host-to-host interactions were envisioned , along with access to specialized resources such as supercomputers and mass storage systems and interactive access by remote users to the computational powers of time-sharing systems located elsewhere.
These ideas were first realized in ARPANET , which established the first host-to-host network connection on October 29, It was created by the Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA of the U.
Department of Defense. ARPANET was one of the first general-purpose computer networks. It connected time-sharing computers at government-supported research sites, principally universities in the United States , and it soon became a critical piece of infrastructure for the computer science research community in the United States.
How does it affect us? The Internet is constantly in flux and understanding and measuring it is a challenge. Check out these resources for Internet statistics, trends, and demographics.
NSRC Connectivity Providers Database International networking developments and Internet connectivity providers, with major emphasis on countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Oceania.
RIPE Atlas Analyses and Use Cases A global network of probes that measure Internet connectivity and reachability, providing an understanding of the state of the Internet in real time.
Internet World Stats The big picture of world Internet users and population statistics. Internet Traffic Report The flow of data around the world.
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