A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB AND THE INTERNET
| Part 6
The commercial exploitation of the web has become a growing facet of the world economy, particularly in the last several years. In June 1999 NUA Internet Surveys estimated that 179 million people are connected to the Internet worldwide. A recent study by the University of Texas sponsored by Cisco Systems estimated that the "Internet Economy" generated $300 billion in revenue in the United States alone.
The work of lawyers will be a cornerstone in bettering our understanding of the future of the Internet. Here are several ways we anticipate our work to transform as a result of the Web and Internet:
The entertainment world is not the only niche undergoing change as a result of digital communications technology. The Internet has created a new kind of collaborative working environment for the legal profession by allowing multiple authors in various locations to write and produce documents. Internet access has also promoted free communication between lawyers and their clients.
The complexity of managing information requires intense consideration, since it can be generated with new rapidity thanks to digital communications technology. Moreover, the speed with which information is generated naturally leads to concerns regarding its the legitimacy, accuracy, and fidelity. The recognition, selection, analysis, and synthesis of data have become essential tasks for all parties involved in legal affairs.
Emerging technologies and media tools have added new dimensions to the educational experiences used in training members of the legal profession. Online reference sources, simulated court experiences, and portfolio assessment of skills are all innovations in law education.
Emerging almost daily are new areas full of legal challenges. You may already have purchased merchandise online or perhaps you have questioned the validity of a piece of heath advice found on the Web. These areas, and many others like them require our scrutiny. Much of this new information falls into two domains, financial and societal. Issues that demand further examination from the financial world include the management of banking regulations and electronic fund transfers, networked systems security, ownership of content including intellectual property and copyright laws, Internet fraud, and tax evasion.
Some of the legal questions facing society as a result of emerging technologies include harmful web content, validation of information, the digital divide issues, privacy and Freedom of Information Act issues, and healthcare issues. Legal scholars from all over the United States and around the world have been addressing these concerns and are forging the road toward new governing laws.
The one thing that will remain constant will be the asymptotic growth of information and knowledge. By the year 2030 it is estimated that the total body of human knowledge will double every 72 days. With such quantum leaps in published knowledge, subject matter expertise, and content, every corporation in the United States and abroad will rely on emerging law to ensure their survival.