Every new technology has raised privacy issues. Today Internet is raising new issues about privacy and security among others. Right now there are many legal and ethical battles going on about the Internet and yet there are not consolidated laws regulating the Internet. In other words the Internet is self-regulated. Many organizations are trying to come up with laws that will regulate the World Wide Web. On the other hand there are private citizens and organizations that argue that the Internet should be self-regulated. The Internet revolution it’s starting to overwhelm us.
It’s antiquating our laws, reshuffling our economy, reordering our priorities and redefining our workplaces. The principles of the actual world are difficult, if not finally impossible, to apply to the Internet. Legislators and citizens are trying to apply the Constitution to the Internet, but the major problem is applying this document to the World Wide Web. For many citizens of the actual world, this is not a problem; they say just apply the constitution as we do to the actual world. For others however, this kind of thinking is part of the problem.
Just applying it to a virtual world, they argue, is an unjust application that really, in the long run, cannot be implemented. The ethic of sharing information is a major challenge to what we, in constitutional and economic terms, have considered the very concept of property or proprietary goods to be. Private information has been shared even with out the Internet, but now it’s easier for organizations to access and collect personal information. Everywhere we look, things are looking back at us, and they’re taking notes.
Government and law enforcement agencies are using sophisticated programs to monitor email, and file transfers of both private citizens and organizations. This can’t be argued because we can’t go against the government. About the private websites that capture every mouse click and report the results to giant direct-marketing databases, is and issue that almost every Internet user is concerned. Many legal battles will go on for the next few years to safeguard consumer sensitive information. Internet is becoming the most efficient tool to gather detailed personal information.
This summer the new Financial Services Modernization Act will allow insurance, security, and banking companies to affiliate and share consumer information such as payments for medical services and entertainment, political, religious and banking and credit card records. Many organizations are arguing about this type of laws that are allowing sharing personal information among them. This is an invasion of privacy for some but right now there are no laws that can protect us from that. The only way to protect us is with programs that will safeguard consumer information.
For the next years new improved programs will come up in order to protect the consumer privacy when using the Internet. This is like fighting fire with fire. In some way we need to learn to protect us and deal with it, and educate ourselves about the threats we might find when using the Internet, and the information that web pages gather from us. Protecting children of being exposed to explicit material is a concern of every parent. Today there are programs that filter adult sites such as Net Nanny and Cyber Patrol. These applications are vulnerable because they can’t filter all pornographic sites.
The way these applications work is by filtering all those sites that contain words like sex included in their websites. Sometimes adult “urls” have trick names that cannot be filtered by programs. I think this can be solved if all pornographic sites have a pattern in their web site address. Just like they exist . edu for education and . com for commercial, I think a good idea is to have another extension for adult sites, for example . xxx. With this format I think government can regulate adult sites and specialized search engines programs will filter a greater percentage of these sites.
Some people would think about forcing Internet service providers (ISP) about being penalize about the content they carry, but ISP are common carries such as telephone companies or even bookstores, that are not responsible for the content of the message they carry. The responsibility for any censorship should rests not with a central authority but with the administrators of private and public computer networks. Many congressional leaders will push ethical legislations. New amendments will be done to the Constitution, to make the Internet highway as safe as possible for kids and families to travel.
Just as we have laws against dumping garbage on the interstate, we ought to have similar laws for the information super-highway. Congress will need to create and toughen penalties for people who violate those laws for example people who actively transmit illegally pornographic and harassing material. Computers are a unique medium because children often have much more knowledge about how they operate than their parents. Actions should be taken to protect children from obscenity, pornography and indecency in the Internet. Just as we have laws against murder and we have laws against speeding. We still have murder and we still have speeding.
But I think that we very likely would have more murders and more speeders if we didn’t have laws as a deterrent. Internet is growing constantly and is becoming a hard to regulate the entire world networks and every country has it’s own laws, policies, and ethical values. Until this day we have come up with technical standards for the entire Internet but there are not yet ethical standards that rule the World Wide Web. Governments of the world should nurture laws and standards for ethical issues for this huge network. Also we need to be aware of Internet threats and learn how to protect our privacy when using the Internet.