Monday, February 16, 2009

The New York Times asks, "Do we need a new internet?"

Thanks to D. Lowry (@bbcrfc on Twitter) for bringing this article from the New York Times to my attention through Twitter, Do we need a new Internet? Just yesterday, while visiting a moodle tutorial site, I had a Norton's anti-virus offer pop up on my screen. I didn't think much about it as I closed it and went on with my tutorial; once I was finished viewing the lesson, I took a much needed break. When I returned to my computer, I was surprised to see Norton's telling me my computer's status was still good and that I now had a Norton's Icon (see attached image) installed on my desktop. Is this related to the New York Times Article? I have to admit I am apprehensive about it at this time. (If anyone knows, please comment!)

The article suggests we need a new more secure internet that would force us to accept the loss of some anonymity for the sake of security. Is this a bad idea? Those of us involved in social networking are giving up a certain amount of our privacy already so if it is a trade off between a more secure network and a loss of some personal information, I'm not sure it is bad. On the other hand, those who argue it should be protected make me wonder what are they hiding?

I guess the other side of the coin is what happens when when we have abusive forms of government that use information posted by individuals punitively? In such situations, the ability to hide your identity in the electronic world might be the difference between life and death. What is the answer then? How do we protect our personal identity and ourselves online?

I understand so little about how virus' get started and about how to protect my computer from them. It seems like the anti-virus programs are only somewhat successful in protecting our machines; and it seems like there are malicious individuals in the cyber world who are ready to make people miserable by abusing the system and the people who use it. I know if this were our telephone system, governments around the world would be anxious to fix it; there would be a public outcry to do something to eliminate the hidden hazards.

I thank god we have some very intelligent people working to oppose the abusers; where would we be without them? I also think, maybe, the time has come for a new internet. I know I'd be prepared to sacrifice some of my identity for the sake of using the internet the way it was intended without the needless fears that we are warning children about, but fall victim to ourselves!


Kim said...

Your posting poses some interesting concepts to ponder. I like my anonymity and I have nothing to hide - I lead a very boring life but I like it that way and I wouldn't want my information to find its way into the wrong hands. I'm also very suspitious. Who want information about me and why???

bbcrfc said...

I am glad that I was able to provide you with a link that got you writing. You bring up some good point, it definitely leaves one to think. too me this speaks volumes to the notion that we need to teach net/tech responsibility to our students. Keep up the great posts.