The Internet is a worldwide collection of computer networks, cooperating with each other to exchange data using a common software standard. Through telephone wires and satellite links, Internet users can share information in a variety of forms. The size, scope and design of the Internet allows users to:

  • connect easily through ordinary personal computers and local phone numbers;
  • exchange electronic mail (E-mail) with friends and colleagues with accounts on the Internet;
  • post information for others to access, and update it frequently;
  • access multimedia information that includes sound, photographic images and even video; and
  • access diverse perspectives from around the world.
  • An additional attribute of the Internet is that it lacks a central authority—in other words, there is no "Internet, Inc." that controls the Internet. Beyond the various governing boards that work to establish policies and standards, the Internet is bound by few rules and answers to no single organization.

In February 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Communications Decency Act, which provides criminal penalties for those who post or transmit "indecent" material via the Internet. This law, however, has been challenged in U.S. courts by those who feel it would unfairly prohibit many legitimate uses of the Internet, and was ruled unconstitutional in July 1996. The federal government, however, is preparing an appeal. For the latest status of the CDA, go to or


A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content. Hyperlinks present in resources enable users easily to navigate their browsers to related resources. A web browser can also be defined as an application software or program designed to enable users to access, retrieve and view documents and other resources on the Internet.

Some common browsers are:

  • Internet Explorer (Windows Only)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera