Monday, September 13, 2010

Article Review

I recently read an article titled Battle for the Soul of the Internet. It explains the issues surrounding the internet. There seems to be a conflict of interest between the different types of internet users. The article explains the origin of the internet and the purpose that the original users had for it. And then goes on to explain how the newcomers to the internet are handling it and their conflict with the "internet regulars".

The internet was originally designed as a way for members of the Defense Department to communicate with each other in the event of a nuclear attack. The internet eventually expanded to other government agencies, universities and corporations.  Hackers and graduate students were the main users of the internet at this time and used it to develop new ways to connect with each other and pass time. The internet of their day had very little semblance to the one we know now. It was not very user friendly and required a knowledge of unix and specific hardware. The "founders" of the internet followed something of an unwritten code and shared the burden of funding the internet and policing its use. Conflict arose when companies started cashing in on the commercial value of the internet by selling access to the it to the average joe. These new users, or "newbies", didn't understand the rules of the internet and flooded it with useless posts, questions, and essentially spam. 

This article also describes some of the current issues facing the internet including pornography, privacy, and misinformation. Although this article was written in 2005, these issues are still very relevant today. The issue with pornography is that the internet is designed to not censor people. When you try to delete something or block it the internet self repairs. Some people are attempting to counter that by posting messages expressing their distaste.  Privacy, another hot topic, has been fueled by the use of the Clipper chip. This chip was designed by the government to encrypt data and make it so that only the government could "snoop". Founders of the internet feel that this goes against the anarchist philosophy of the internet. And finally, the internet is faced with a plethora of misinformation because of the ease of publishing information. Essentially anyone can post something on the internet and claim that it is accurate. 

To read the article go to

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