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Chronology of Events - 2000s

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The following is a chronological listing of significant events in the development of the field of Information Technology law between 2000 and 2009. For other time periods see:

2000 Edit

2000 — Jack Kilby (Texas Instruments) receives the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the integrated circuit.

2000 — The Department of Defense ends the purposeful degradation of GPS, which results in GPS becoming ten times more accurate.

2000NIST chooses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for classified information.

2000 — LG announces plans for the first Internet-connected refrigerator, which will sense items stored inside it using barcode and RFID scanning.

January 1, 2000 — Many experts, governments and businesses feared that the change of century/millennium would cause serious problems with computer systems, since many legacy software programs shortened the year stored to only the last two digits, such as storing 99 for 1999. When the year 2000 came, the year 2000 would be shortened to 00, causing the computer to think it was 1900. Called the Year 2000 (Y2K) bug, extensive investments in software remediation resulted in only a few glitches, and no catastrophic system shutdowns.

January 10, 2000AOL acquires Time Warner (full-text). AOL shareholders take a 55% stake in the newly formed company.

March 2000 — At a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, ICANN adopts a process for external review of its decisions that utilizes outside experts, who will be selected at an unspecified later date. ICANN also approves a compromise whereby 5 at-large Board members will be chosen in regional online elections.

March 10, 2000 — The Dot-com bubble bursts, investment capital dries up and the Nasdaq stock index plunges.

April 21, 2000 — The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act becomes effective.

June 2000ICANN issues its second Status Report, which states that several of the tasks have been completed, but work on other tasks was still under way.

June 13, 2000 — The RIAA files a motion for preliminary injunction against Napster to block all major-label content from being exchanged on Napster.

July 2000 — At a meeting in Yokahama, Japan, ICANN’s Board approves a policy for the introduction of new top-level domains.

July 26, 2000 — U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel rules in favor of the RIAA and orders Napster to stop allowing copyrighted material to be exchanged on its service.

August 2000 — The Department of Commerce and ICANN approve MOU amendment 2, which deleted tasks related to membership mechanisms, public information, and registry competition and extended the MOU until September 2001. They also agree to extend the cooperative research and development agreement on root server stability and security through September 2001.

October 1, 2000 — Kevin Ashton, Sanjay Sarma and David Broke publish a white paper titled The Networked Physical World: Proposals for Engineering the Next Generation of Computing, Commerce & Automatic-Identification (full-text), in which they outlined their vision for the new MIT Auto-ID Center. The center

envisions a world in which all electronic devices are networked and every object, whether it is physical or electronic, is electronically tagged with information pertinent to that object. We envision the use of physical tags that allow remote, contactless interrogation of their contents; thus, enabling all physical objects to act as nodes in a networked physical world.

November 2000 — At a meeting in California, ICANN selects 7 new top-level domains: .biz (for use by businesses), .info (for general use), .pro (for use by professionals), .name (for use by individuals), .aero (for use by the air transport industry), .coop (for use by cooperatives), and .museum (for use by museums).

November 2000 — After months of legal proceedings, the French court rules Yahoo! must block French users from accessing Nazi memorabilia on its auction site.

November 16, 2000ICANN selects new TLDs: .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .pro.

2001 Edit

2001 — Hal Abelson, Lawrence Lessig and Eric Eldred co-found the Creative Commons.

2001 — The Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act is passed.

2001MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms is founded. It is an interdisciplinary initiative exploring the boundary between computer science and physical science.

2001 — Richard Clarke, White House cybersecurity adviser warns of an impending "digital Pearl Harbor" if industry does not take steps to improve cybersecurity.

January 2001 — Given its inability to block French users from accessing hate memorabilia in its auction site, Yahoo! removes those auctions entirely.

January 15, 2001Wikipedia is launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.

February 12, 2001 — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decides the Napster case, ruling that distributors of file sharing software can be held liable for copyright infringement.

March 2001 — The Department of Commerce enters into a second contract with ICANN regarding technical functions of the domain name system.

March 4, 2001 — Forwarding email in Australia becomes illegal with the passing of the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000, since it is seen as a technical infringement of personal copyright.

May 2001ICANN and the Department of Commerce approve MOU amendment 3, which conforms the MOU with the Department's new agreement with VeriSign (formerly Network Solutions.)

June 5, 2001 — Nevada becomes the first U.S. state to vote to legalize online gambling.

June 22, 2001 — The Council of Europe finalizes an international cybercrime treaty. This is the first treaty addressing criminal offenses committed over the Internet.

July 2001ICANN issues its third Status Report, which states that most of the tasks in the MOU are either complete or well on their way to completion.

July 2001 — A federal judge rules that Napster must remain offline until it can prevent copyrighted material from being shared by its users.

August 2001ICANN's At-Large Membership Study Committee issues a preliminary report that recommends creating a new at-large supporting organization. The new organization would be open to anyone with a domain name and would elect 6 members of ICANN’s Board of Directors.

September 2001 — The Department of Commerce and ICANN agree to extend the MOU through September 2002 and the cooperative research and development agreement through June 2002 (amendment 4).

October 2001 — The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, a group charged with developing a national cybersecurity strategy, is established.

Oct. 26, 2001 — President Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act.

November 2001 — Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, ICANN devotes the bulk of its annual meeting to security issues. The At-large Membership Study Committee releases its final report, which retains the Board reorganization first proposed in August 2001.

November 9, 2001 — The Council of Europe adopts an international cybercrime treaty. This is the first treaty addressing criminal offenses committed over the Internet.

2002 Edit

2002 — President Bush secretly authorizes the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor international phone calls without a warrant. Previously, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 required a warrant.

2002 — The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 (TEACH) provides for the use of copyrighted works by accredited nonprofit educational institutions in distance education.

2002 — MIT offers free online access to materials for select courses (MIT Open Courseware).

2002 — The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, as unconstitutional.

2002 — A federal court holds that the Children's Internet Protection Act, at least as it applies to libraries, is facially unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment.

2002 — The Federal Communications Commission concludes that Internet over Cable is an information service.

2002DARPA begins work on its Total Information Awareness System, combining biometrics, language processing, predictive modeling and database technologies.

February 2002ICANN's president releases a proposal for the reform of ICANN.

March 2002 — At a Board meeting in Ghana, ICANN’s Board refers the president's proposal and questions about at-large representation and outside review to an internal Committee on ICANN Evolution and Reform.

March 18, 2002 — Chana Schoenberger publishes an article in Forbes entitled The Internet of Things (full-text).

April 2002 — The U.S. Department of Commerce exercises an option in its contract with ICANN regarding the technical functions of the domain name system, extending it through September 2002.

April 2002 — Jim Waldo, Harvard CTO, publishes "Virtual Organizations, Pervasive Computing, and an Infrastructure for Networking at the Edge," in the Journal of Information Systems Frontiers:

the Internet is becoming the communication fabric for devices to talk to services, which in turn talk to other services. Humans are quickly becoming a minority on the Internet, and the majority stakeholders are computational entities that are interacting with other computational entities without human intervention.

May 1, 2002 — Hundreds of Internet radio stations observe a "Day of Silence" in protest of proposed song royalty rate increases.

October 2002BitTorrent 1.0 is publicly distributed.

Nov. 2002 — President Bush signs the "Cybersecurity Research & Development Act," which calls for $900 million over five years for cybersecurity research and education.

December 3, 2002 — A new U.S. law creates a kids-safe, "dot-kids" domain ( to be implemented in 2003.

December 4, 2002 — The Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 is enacted.

December 22, 2002Microsoft and Sun settle their dispute over Java. Microsoft obtains a Java license provided it maintains compatibility with Sun's version.

2003 Edit

2003 — The Department of Homeland Security begins operations, creates the National Cyber Security Division.

2003 — Two automated devices, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers are launched to Mars.

2003 — The World Summit on the Information Society is held.

2003 — The CAN-SPAM Act signed into law.

2003 — The FCC's Internet over Cable Order reversed by the Ninth Circuit.

January 25, 2003 — The SQL Slammer worm, one of the largest and fastest spreading distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) ever, takes about 10 minutes to spread worldwide and take down 5 of the 13 DNS root servers along with tens of thousands of other servers.

April 23, 2003Skype is released.

April 28, 2003 — Apple's iTunes Store is launched.

May 2003LinkedIn is launched.

July 2003 — The French Ministry of Culture bans the use of the word "e-mail" by government ministries, and adopts the use of the more French-sounding "courriel".

July 2003Myspace is launched.

July 1, 2003 — The European Union requires all Internet companies to collect value added tax (VAT) on digital downloads.

August 11, 2003 — The Blaster worm was launched to exploit a vulnerability in a number of Microsoft Windows operating systems.

September 8, 2003 — The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sues 261 individuals for alleged copyright infringement by distributing copyrighted music files over peer-to-peer networks.

2004 Edit

2004ICANN authorizes new gTLDs: .asia, .cat, .jobs, .mobi, .tel, and .travel.

2004 — The FCC issues the Fiber to the Home Order.

January 1, 2004 — The CAN-SPAM Act goes into effect.

February 2004 — The FCC rules that electric power companies can use their wiring to provide Internet services, including voice over IP (VOIP). It also ruled that companies that provide computer-to-computer VOIP service are not subject to the same regulations as telephone companies.

February 4, 2004 — Mark Zuckerburg launches Facebook from his college dorm room.

December 2004Digg launches.

2005 Edit

2005 — The One Laptop Per Child project begins. Its goal is to provide low cost, education-designed laptops to children around the world at a very low cost (US$100 per unit).

2005 — The U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) releases its report on Internet governance.

2005 — The Federal Communications Commission issues its Internet over DSL Order, declaring it an information service.

2005 — The U.S. Supreme Court, in FCC v. BrandX, affirms that the FCC can categorize Internet over cable as an information service.

February 15, 2005YouTube is launched by three former PayPal employees.

March 7, 2005Congress reauthorizes the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 with some changes, including allowing greater rights to librarians and others who received certain types of subpoenas.

April 23, 2005 — The first video is uploaded to YouTube.

July 19, 2005MySpace is purchased by NewsCorp and made part of the Fox Interactive Media division.

October 2005 — Sony BMG surreptitiously installs malware (known as a rootkit) on its customers' personal computers when they play certain music CDs on their computers.

December 7, (European Union) launches.

2006 Edit

2006Western Union discontinues telegram service.

2006Amazon launches Elastic Compute Cloud, an infrastructure-as-a-service.

2006 — The Federal Communications Commission imposes the obligations of CALEA, Universal service and 911 on VoIP services.

2006 — The U.S. Senate ratifies the Convention on Cybercrime.

May 10, 2006ICANN board votes against .xxx TLD.

July 2006 — The free social networking site Twitter is launched.

August 11, 2006 — The final software patent on the GIF format expires.

September 26, 2006Facebook is launched to the public.

October 6, 2006 — The Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 is enacted.

October 2006Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction.

2007 Edit

2007Apple launches the first "iPhone".

2007 — The Federal Communications Commission rules that Internet over Wireless is an information service.

February 2007Apple surpasses one billion iTunes downloads.

March 4, 2007 — Estonia becomes the first country to conduct an election over the Internet.

May 29, 2007Google Street View launches.

November 19, releases its first Kindle in the United States.

December 2007Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 signed by President Bush.

2008 Edit

2008 — A San Francisco federal judge orders the disabling of, a website that discloses confidential information.

2008 — A group of companies launch the IPSO Alliance to promote the use of the Internet Protocol (IP) in networks of smart objects and to enable the Internet of Things.

2008 — The number of devices connected to the Internet exceeds the human population of the planet for the first time (~6.6 billion).

2008 — The FCC approves opening the use of the white space spectrum.

July 2008Congress passes the FISA Amendments Act, which expands the federal government's surveillance powers and gives immunity to telecom companies that assist in a warrantless surveillance program.

December 2008 — The number of Internet users in the world surpasses one billion for the first time.

2009 Edit

2009 — The U.S. Department of Commerce relaxes its control over ICANN in favor of a multi-national oversight group.

2009Bitcoin is introduced.

2009 — The number of devices connected to the Internet exceeds the total population of the world.

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