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Controlling The Internet

Controlling The Internet Controlling the Internet Censorship plays a role in everything that is portrayed on the Internet. However, due to the size and its rapid growth, it has become almost impossible to control. In respect to censorship in the Internet, we will be examining the issues of pornography, privacy, security, and the Napster debate. In 1989, the World Wide Web was developed. This new technology enabled Internet users to exchange information on a global scale. With no restrictions on what information could be shared, the Internet has become home to an assortment of web-sites consisting of topics that are shunned from the mainstream media.

For example, literature that was banned from high schools and colleges for content that contained sexually explicit, anti-religious or immoral material has been made available through web-sites such as Banned Books On-Line. Over the last decade, governments have struggled to regulate the content of the Internet. For example, in 1996 the Congress of the United States passed the Communications Decency Act, which made it a crime to transmit indecent material over the Internet. Materials such as child-pornography (which will be discussed later) were deemed offensive and thus distributors must be prosecuted. To help catch Internet content violators, organizations such as the Internet Police were created. Internet Police The Internet Police, help to regulate the Internet by; reporting illegal websites, pressuring governments to apply relevant legislation, block illegal material and report attempts by people to access child pornography.

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In response to the Communications Decency Act, many Internet users, industry experts and civil liberties groups were opposed to such censorship. Websites such as The Electronic Frontier Foundation were created to uphold the rights to digital free expression from political and legal threats. Anti-censorship followers feel the governments actions are infringing on their freedom of speech. When taken to the Supreme Court in 1997, the court was forced to abolish the Act because it was unconstitutional. Internet censorship can sometimes vary depending on the country.

For example, in communist countries such as China, Western ideologies conveyed on the Internet are seen as harmful to the solidarity of the Chinese government. As such, all E-mails leaving and entering the country are screened and edited by government officials. Sometimes messages are even deleted if they are seen as harmful to national interests. Recently, the Chinese government has tried to develop its own China World Web which will hope to censor any unwanted western messages. Security Issues Today, the Internet is more like the everyday world, with all of its promises and problems, than a reflection of academia or an island village. While it’s become a tremendous tool for commerce and information, the ‘Net has also become a home to thieves, terrorists and vandals.

The Internet provides concealment for malicious users. The remote nature of the ‘Net also creates a false sense of security. Many users log on in blissful ignorance, believing they’re okay because they can’t see or feel any threats. Even after learning their workstations or Web sites have been broken into multiple times, many fail to understand the threats lurking on the other end of the wire. Routinely are systems attacked from multiple vectors, worms carried in by e-mails, bandwidth consumed by floods of bogus traffic, and workstation CPUs hijacked through some unpatched vulnerability. Case Studies Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN).

Under E-SIGN, A signature, contract or other record relating to [a] transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form. For the first time, it’s not essential that a physical (wet) signature be inscribed onto paper to bind a commitment. E-SIGN is one of the most empowering ingredients for future e-commerce, especially for financial institutions. Visa International 19 million vendors and more than 1 billion cardholders. (sic) Consumers now want to know what’s being done to secure their online transactions.

Like never before, online shoppers are receptive to learning about things like smart cards, security protocols and digital wallets. This, in turn, prompts companies to develop technologies and services to meet this demand. Visa is taking a multifaceted approach to ensuring that consumers have the same confidence in the virtual world as in the physical world. In June 2000, Visa launched a Global Secure e-Commerce Initiative that employs technology, regulations and best practices to ensure that consumers can shop securely and conveniently on the Internet. In the U.S., Visa recently rolled out the smart Visa card, a payment card that features an embedded microchip.

While new to the U.S. market, Visa has seen a widespread acceptance of chip products in other regions, most notably Europe and Asia Pacific. 95% Credit Card Crime Goes Unpunished- North America Combat the Vandals The number of companies spending more than $1 million annually on computer security nearly doubled in the past year. Security budgets are up 188 percent over the last two years. Nevertheless, security breaches originating from both inside and outside corporations continues to grow as the threat of hackers and careless employees increases.

Results of this survey prove that spending millions of dollars adopting security practices doesn’t guarantee effectiveness. CEOs and CIOs need to focus on security solutions that fit their specific network needs. A large dollar amount alone will never guarantee network safety. On the heels of this year’s LOVEBUG and Life Stages viruses, the Information Security survey confirms that viruses and malware attacks are on the rise. Eight out of 10 companies were hit with a destructive virus this year. Porn O Graphy The Internet, as well as being a vast repository of useful information, is a vast repository of smut. Porn is everywhere.

Searching for the term sex yields millions of results. Governments are pressured by parents to clean up the Net, but due to the global nature of the Internet its all but impossible to block content from appearing. The solution that is most often implemented is software that filters the content appearing on the computer screen. Programs like Net Nanny and Cyber Sitter are designed to prevent young eyes from seeing graphic images or dangerous information. This tends to work quite well, but in some cases too well, blocking legitimate sites about sex education, or controversial sites like Planned Parenthood. The intrusions into personal freedom dont end after childhood.

Adults who use the Internet to download Pornography are under the illusion that the Internet is a completely anonymous forum. This is far from the truth. Users on the Internet leave their IP address, essentially a digital fingerprint that identifies their computer, at every site they visit. This information can easily be used to track down all sorts of data, including a users name, address, phone number, social security number, and possibly even credit card numbers. Who could be doing all this snooping, one might be tempted to ask? The biggest snoops, perhaps not surprisingly, are those who are mandated to protect us: the police. Recently a great deal of controvercy erupted over the admission by the FBI about the existence of a system called Carnivore, which can be used to monitor emails, downloads, web site visits, and other information about a specific user of the Internet, without that persons knowledge or consent.

Although the FBI assures us that this system will only be used in cases of criminal investigation and only with a court order, the possibility for abuse is glaringly obvious. While the intentions of the censorship advocates may be good, the restrictions of personal freedom that they propose are unbearable. Preventing the dissemination of hate literature, child pornography, bomb making recipes is all fine and good, but there is little evidence that any of these types of information are particularly prevalent on the Internet. The measures that governments and employers propose to prevent the spread of this material would entail leaving a small group of people, probably lawyers or software programmers, to decide what is and isnt appropriate for our viewing. The Napster Debate One of the main issues concerning control and the Internet is Napster.

Napster is the world’s leading person-to-person file sharing community and the fastest growing community in the history of the Internet, with over 38 million passionate mus …


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