The World Wide Web celebrated its 21st birthday Aug. 6, marking more than two decades of expanding digital freedom and creating an ever-growing amount of information at the fingertips of the world.
The actual birthday of the World Wide Web was Aug. 6, 1991, as an interconnected system opened around the globe, Gene Policinski of the First Amendment noted in an op-ed for Hernando Today. Though the World Wide Web has made it easier for people to read news, watch television and movies online or send adorable pictures of cats, Policinski said its implications for First Amendment freedom are the most important:
As it happens, you debuted as a publicly available and revolutionary communication service just a few months before the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the First Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, 1791. Thanks to you, the world – and the First Amendment’s five freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition – would never be viewed the same way again.
Though there have been some hiccups in internet freedom, Policinski noted that information on the web is ever-expanding with no real limitation in sight.
As CNET News noted last year on the 20th birthday of the World Wide Web, the web first debuted when Tim Berners-Lee posted a summary of a project for organizing information on a computer network through a “web” of hyperlinks.
As it reflected on the birthday of the World Wide Web, CNET News noted both the bad–like online predators and identity theft–and the good–like millions of jobs created–that the internet has brought to the world.