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Chronology of Events - 1960s

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The following is a chronological listing of significant events in the development of the field of Information Technology law between 1960 and 1969. For other time periods see:

1960 Edit

1960Hyperlinks are invented by Ted Nelson.

1960Project Xanadu, the first hypertext project, is founded by Ted Nelson.

1960AT&T introduces the Dataphone, the first commercial modem.

1960 — The packet-switching principle is developed by Paul Baran at RAND.

1960 — The first satellite weather image is produced.

1960Computer scientist John McCarthy opines that "computation may someday be organised as a public utility."

1960 — The first software patent application is filed by Charles D. Prater and James Wei of Mobil Oil Corp.[1]

1960COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) is developed at the Department of Defense by Grace M. Hopper.

March 1960 — J.C.R. Licklider publishes "Man-Computer Symbiosis." In this paper he envisioned:

[a] network of such [computers], connected to one another by wide-band communication lines [which provided] the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and [other] symbiotic functions.

October 1960 — UCLA hosts the First National Conference on Law and Electronics at Lake Arrowhead, California.

October 24, 1960 — The first patent for a head-mounted display is issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

November 1960 — Lawyer Roy N. Freed publishes the first article on computer law: "A Lawyer’s Guide Through the Computer Maze," in the The Practical Lawyer.

1961 Edit

1961 — General Motors begins using the first industrial robot, Unimate, in a New Jersey factory.

1961 — DECUS (the DIGITAL Computer Users Society) meets for the first time.

1961 — The MIT Computation Center develops the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).

1961 — The Wire Act is passed.

1961 — John Licklider publishes Galactic Networks.

1961 — The Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) assigns a Command and Control Project to ARPA.

January 1961 — Marvin Minsky publishes the first paper on artificial intelligence (Steps towards artificial intelligence) in 49 Proceedings of the IEEE 8 (Jan. 1961) (full-text).

May 31, 1961 — The first paper on packet switching theory, Leonard Kleinrock, Information Flow in Large Communication Nets, is published in RLE Quarterly Progress Report (full-text).

1962 Edit

1962 — Leonard Kleinrock writes Communication Nets, which describes the design for a packet-switching network; used for ARPANET.

1962 — The Communications Satellite Act of 1962 is passed by Congress.

1962 — William C. Dersch of IBM unveils the Shoebox Machine at the World's Fair. It is the first machine to understand 16 words and ten digits in spoken English.

February 1962 — Steve Russell invents SpaceWar!, the first game intended for computer use. Russell uses an MIT PDP-1 mainframe computer to design his game.

July 11, 1962 — The Telstar I satellite is launched.

August 1962 — The first paper on the concept of the Internet is published: J.C.R. Licklider & Welden Clark, On-Line Man Computer Communication (full-text).

September 1962 — Paul Baran (Rand Corporation) publishes "On Distributed Communications Networks," which described the Internet and digital packet switching

September 1962 — The PDP-1 operating system, the world's first timesharing system, is written by engineers at MIT and BBN.

October 1962DARPA is founded.

October 1962 — The Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) within DARPA, with a mandate to interconnect the U.S. Department of Defense's main computers at Cheyenne Mountain, the Pentagon, and SAC HQ.

1963 Edit

1963Passwords are established at MIT for use on the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).

1963 — The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is developed to standardize data exchange among computers.

1963 — Douglas Engelbart invents and patents the first computer mouse.

1963 — The Sketchpad graphics system is developed by Ivan Sutherland at MIT. It is the first instance of a graphical user interface.

1963 — Complimentary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology is developed by Frank Wanless at Fairchild Semiconductor.

1963 — A DoD study proposes a system of space satellites that would send signals continuously to receivers on the ground, which could be used to locate moving vehicles. The study lays out the GPS concept that we use today.

May 7, 1963 — The Telstar II satellite is launched.

July 26, 1963 — The first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom 2, is launched by NASA.

1964 Edit

1964MIT researchers develop the Multics time-sharing system that was a predecessor to the UNIX operating system.

1964 — Marshall McLuhan publishes Understanding Media:

"[B]y means of electric media, we set up a dynamic by which all previous technologies — including cities — will be translated into information systems."

1964IBM introduces the first word processor.

1964 — The CDC 6600, the first "supercomputer," is designed by Seymour Cray and built by Control Data Corporation.

1964 — John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz develop "Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Language" (BASIC).

1964INTELSAT is established.

1964 — The compact cassette tape cartridge is introduced in the United Statesby Phillips.

May 1964 — Dartmouth University launches the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System, which allowed remote access.

August 19, 1964 — The first geostationary communications satellite, Syncom 3, is launched by NASA.

1965 Edit

1965 — The FCC approves MCI Microwave Communications' application for long-range communications using a microwave link between St. Louis and Chicago

1965 — In "A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate," Ted Nelson coins the terms "hypertext," which refers to text that is not necessarily linear, and "hypermedia."

1965 — Donald Davies of the British National Physical Laboratory (NPL) begins thinking about packet networks and coins the term "packet."

1965 — Alan Kay at MIT develops the idea for a notebook computer.

1965 — Paul Baran gets funding from the U.S. Air Force to experiment with a block switching network to protect communications during an nuclear war. However, he withdraws his proposal when the project is shifted to military managers.

1965 — Hearings are held by the U.S. House of Representatives, Special Subcommittee on Invasion of Privacy by Computers.

1965 — The Brooks Act of 1965 is passed. It gives the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)) responsibilities for developing automatic data processing standards and guidelines pertaining to federal computer systems.

April 19, 1965 — Gordon Moore declares that computing power will double every 18 months, a prediction that is known as Moore's Law.

October 1965 — The first network communication experiment using packet-switching technology is directed by Larry Roberts at MIT Lincoln Lab.

April 8, 1965 — The President's Commission on the Patent System is established by Executive Order 11215 to address a range of patent issues.

1966 Edit

1966 — IBM develops DRAM ("Dynamic Random Access Memory"), which allows fast, compact, reliable and inexpensive data storage on computer systems. By the mid-1970s, DRAM becomes the standard for virtually all computers.

1966 — Eliza, a script-driven interpreter which simulates a nondirective therapist, is launched.

1966 — The Federal Communications Commission initiates Computer Inquiry I.

1966 — Karl Steinbuch, a German computer science pioneer, said:

"In a few decades time, computers will be interwoven into almost every industrial product."

February 1966ARPANET is founded.

September 6, 1966 — The U.S. Freedom of Information Act is enacted.

October 1966 — Thomas Marill & Lawrence G. Roberts publish "Towards a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers," which is the first ARPANET plan.

November 17, 1966 — The President's Commission on the Patent System releases its report — "To Promote the Progress of . . . Useful Arts" In the Age of Exploding Technology.

1967 Edit

1967 — Ralph Baer writes the first video game (called Chase) to be played on a television set.

1967 — Senator Ribikoff introduces computer crime legislation in Congress.

1967 — The floppy disk, read-write drive is developed by A. Shugart at IBM.

1967 — The head-mounted display is developed by Ivan Sutherland at MIT.

1967 — The U.S. Senate holds hearings on computer privacy.

June 27, 1967 — Douglas C. Engelbart files a patent on the mouse.

October 1967 — Lawrence G. Roberts presents the paper "Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication," at the Proceedings of the First ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles, Gaithersburg, Tennessee.


October 1967 — The ARPANet plans are published.

November 1967 — B. A. Marron and P. A. D. de Maine publish Automatic data compression in the Communications of the ACM, stating that "The 'information explosion' noted in recent years makes it essential that storage requirements for all information be kept to a minimum."

December 6, 1967 — The Defense Department issues a $19,800 contract for the purpose of studying the "design and specification of a computer network."

December 18, 1967 — The U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision in Katz v. U.S., where Justice Harlan set forth the test for determining whether an individual has a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

1968 Edit

1968 — Prof. Marvin Minsky develops the octopus-like Tentacle Arm.

1968 — Intel is established by Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Andy Grove.

April 1968 — J.C.R. Licklider and Robert W. Taylor publish The Computer as a Communication Device in Science and Technology:

To appreciate the importance of the new computer-aided communication can have, one must consider the dynamics of "critical mass," as it applies to cooperation in creative endeavor. Take any problem worthy of the name, and you find only a few people who can contribute effectively to its solution. Those people must be brought into close intellectual partnership so that their ideas can come into contact with one another. But bring these people together physically in one place to form a team, and you have trouble, for the most creative people are often not the best team players, and there are not enough top positions in a single organization to keep them all happy. Let them go their separate ways, and each creates his own empire, large or small, and devotes more time to the role of emperor than to the role of problem solver. The principals still get together at meetings. They still visit one another. But the time scale of their communication stretches out, and the correlations among mental models degenerate between meetings so that it may take a year to do a week's communicating. There has to be some way of facilitating communication among people without bringing them together in one place.

June 19, 1968Congress enacts the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. Title III allows wiretaps based upon a warrant.


June 21, 1968 — A contract is issued by ARPA with the purpose of designing, constructing, installing, testing, and maintaining four Interface Message Processors (IMPs) that will link computers at the Stanford Research Institute, UC-Santa Barbara, UCLA, and the University of Utah. The contract promises that these IMPs would:

Provide the communications capability required for the ARPA computer research facilities but . . . also be a unique prototype of future communications systems.

June 26, 1968 — The FCC issues its Carterfone decision, which allows the direct connection of devices to the AT&T network. This creates an opportunity for competitors to manufacture and distribute devices that connect to the telephone network.

August 1968Request for quotation for ARPANet is sent out to build the first switch.

December 9, 1968 — "The Mother of All Demos" is a name given retrospectively to Douglas Engelbart's demonstration of experimental computer technologies that are now commonplace. The live demonstration introduced the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, bootstrapping, and a collaborative real-time editor.

December 1968 — The ARPANet contract is given to Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1969 Edit

1969 — D. Ritchie and K. Thompson at AT&T Bell Laboratories develop the UNIX operating system to make porting software applications easier. It was first licensed to universities, and later to corporations. It then became the backbone of the Internet.

1969CompuServe, the first commercial online service, is established.

1969 — Gary Starkweather invents the laser printer at Xerox.

1969 — The National Bureau of Standards establishes the Center for Computer Science and Technology.

January 17, 1969U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark charges IBM with unlawful monopolization of the computer industry, and requests the federal courts break it up. (13 years later, the U.S. Justice Department will drop the case.)

June 23, 1969 — IBM announces a new marketing policy that charges separately for most systems engineering activities, future computer programs, and customer education courses. This "unbundling" gives rise to a multibillion-dollar software and services industry.

July 20, 1969 — The Apollo 11 spacecraft lands Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.


Leonard Kleinrock and the Interface Message Processor (IMP)

September 1, 1969 — The first Internet node is installed at the UCLA Network Measurement Center by Leonard Kleinrock and colleagues (full-text).

October 1, 1969 — Node 2 of the Internet is installed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

October 29, 1969 — The first data packets are sent from UCLA to SRI. The first attempt results in the system crashing as the letter G of LOGIN is entered.[2]

November 1, 1969 — Node 3 of the Internet is installed at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

November 21, 1969 — The first computer-to-computer login takes place between SRI and UCLA.

December 5, 1969 — Node 4 of the Internet is installed at the University of Utah.

December 5, 1969ARPANet (the Advanced Research Projects Agency network) goes live, connecting four major U.S. universities.

References Edit

  1. See In re Prater & Wei, 415 F.2d 1378 (C.C.P.A. 1968) (full-text).
  2. Leonard Kleinrock, "The Day the Infant Internet Uttered its First Words" (full-text).

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