The right to communicate

communicate
The history of the Internet is a debated subject, but what we do know for sure is that the US National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the establishment for national supercomputing centers at several universities and provided interconnectivity in 1986 with the NSFNET project. This was the beginning of the Internet as we know it today.

That said, why, then, is 1993 an even more important year in the history of the Internet?

On April 30, the directors at the CERN laboratories in Switzerland, one of Europe’s largest research facilities, made a statement that would change the world. They declared that the WWW technology created by Tim Berners Lee three years earlier would be made freely available to everyone; no fees or licences required. It was a stunning and visionary announcement, very much in line with the decisions of other Internet pioneers.

As the worldwide web grew from those early days, we started to understand the implications of access to, or lack of access to, the net. Even back in mid to late 90s, there were significant forums arguing the case for universal access. Some even went as far as suggesting access to the powerful information and communication features of the Internet should be a basic human right: the right to communicate.

That gave birth to the term Information Superhighway, coined by Vice President Al Gore in a 1994 speech describing the future of computers accessing and communicating over a worldwide network.

Today, that superhighway is alive, thriving and flowing faster than ever.

According to some findings, in 1998 there were 50 million Internet users; eleven years later that figure had climbed to 1 billion worldwide. Today, more than 3 billion people – a little over 40 percent of the world’s population – have an Internet connection.

Furthermore, in a 2014 BBC report quoting IBM, 2.5 exabytes (2.5 billion gigabytes) of data were generated every day in 2012.

Staggering numbers, but who owns these data? As we’ve written in the past, ownership can be a legal minefield because much depends on who hosts the data and the jurisdiction where they are stored. Unfortunately, digital property laws have not kept pace with technological change so, inevitably, much of the data traveling along the Information Highway will be lost.

This can be prevented, however, if people realise the value of their data – be it financial or sentimental – and take a proactive approach to ensure it is well protected.

Author: Planned Departure

Living and working in this digital era, our social media accounts – from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr to the likes of Pinterest – are increasing not only in number but also in volume. Additionally, many of us have domain names registered and libraries of movies, digital music and e-Books that can be of significant value. And let's not forget about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies! For the majority of us, these accounts and digital assets are likely to outlive us. And when we die, it is left up to family members and estate executors to sift through them all. Furthermore, even though they may have all the required passwords necessary for these accounts, many heirs will discover that they have no clear authority to access, or even to manage, the online accounts of their deceased loved ones. With the value of individuals' digital assets globally measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, planning for the protection of our digital assets has moved to centre stage. It is essential that our online and social media accounts are included as part of the estate planning process. Failure to do so may not only deprive those we leave behind of fond memories and (possibly) a little nest egg, it could also leave us vulnerable to postmortem identity theft if fraudsters get to use our personal details to apply for credit facilities whilst our accounts remain unguarded. Planned Departure resolves these issues. We provide you with the ability not only to protect your digital assets, but also to clearly indicate who can access your online accounts and who should benefit from them. Create piece of mind today by registering with us in one quick and easy process.

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