Happy Safer Internet Day!

12 02 2008

HolidaysToday is the fifth annual Safer Internet Day across Europe. Public events and school programs took place across the continent warning both children and parents of the many dangers on the internet. A large part of the programs warned about virtual friends and online acquaintances who may not always be who they pretend to be. Unfortunately, they all fail to recognize the biggest danger of the internet: the internet itself.

The internet is known far and wide as a killer of at least three South Koreans who remained online until their deaths, a stealer of time and money, and an unequal replacement for live social interaction. I thought it was fairly obvious that there are bad people in the world. I also thought it was fairly well-known that there are bad people on the internet. A government shouldn’t have to have a day dedicated to encouraging parents to control their children. If the parents wanted all the information they could have… well… just looked it up on the internet. What European continent (because Americans aren’t involved in this) needs to understand more is the negative effect the internet can have on the population as a whole. After all, governments should be focused more on the whole than the individual. It’s up to the individual to realize that a stranger on the internet isn’t any different than a stranger in the real world, unless of course the stranger on the internet is controlled by a computer, in which case the individual needs to learn to differentiate between reality and fantasy.

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When communism and chaos collide

30 01 2008

NewsRecently, China has been forced to face a conflict of its own interests. As a “communist” state, the government expresses a large amount of control over its people and attempts to regulate and censor every form of media released to the public. This has become increasingly important as the Shanghai Summer Olympics draw nearer and China wishes to create as good impression to the rest of the world as possible.

However, a meteor called the internet has crashed into the country and is wreaking havoc. China has nearly surpassed the U.S. as the country with the most people connected to the internet, and the business industry is realizing all the benefits of instant connection to resources and people. As we know, though, the internet is an uncontrollable monster. It can’t be regulated in the same way a newspaper of TV show can. Popular Chinese video upload sites, akin to YouTube, have made the government go ballistic as indecent and unacceptable videos are free for the world to see. It’s a nightmare of image control vs. economic growth. How does one find balance?

The owners of major internet companies in China are not as worried about the problem. That’s because they know (as well as we do) that the internet cannot be stopped once it has been set loose. They are hauling in loads of cash, laughing at the government as it chases after the beast with a butterfly net.