Internet, a system architecture that has revolutionized communications and methods of commerce by allowing various computer networks around the world to interconnect. Sometimes referred to as a “network of networks,” the Internet emerged in the United States in the 1970s but did not become visible to the general public until the early 1990s. By the beginning of the 21st century, approximately 360 million people, or roughly 6 percent of the world’s population, were estimated to have access to the Internet.

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