Wrap-Up

internet

Privacy concerns are the main issues I have with the internet. The level of censorship online heavily influences how much privacy each individual can have. As this project comes to a close, I would like to discuss some pros and cons of internet censorship.

Pros:

  • It can control illegal activities
  • Lessens the risk of identity theft
  • Can strengthen national security
  • Ability to protect children accessing mature information

Cons:

  • Invasion of privacy
  • Can be used by malicious governments in negative ways i.e. hiding information
  • Expensive and can take a toll on businesses
  • People can control their own usage
  • Difficult to enforce

In my ideal world, the Internet would continue to be uncensored, with education as a top priority. If we work to educate youth on safe Internet practices and potential risks, we can hope that the Internet will remain a free and open space for generations to come. Privacy matters and I would like to share some reasons why you should care about it. Privacy limits the government’s power, allows for freedom of speech, gives the user control over their life, and allows you to choose what you do and do not want to share with others. These are just some of the many reasons, but I encourage you to take some time and research this topic and decide what side you stand on. Should we regulate the Internet? Should we continue with the way things are? These are questions that are important to think about, particularly with the recent election. We can make our voices heard through reaching out to our government officials. To close, take some time to further educate yourself and decide what you would do if you ruled the Internet?

Below are some resources you can go to to learn about Internet privacy and regulation:

https://www.fcc.gov/general/open-internet

http://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/state-laws-related-to-internet-privacy.aspx

https://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality

http://www.internetsociety.org/regulation

http://whatisnetneutrality.org/timeline

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Policy Changes

What if I ruled the Internet? Ideally, I would like to see a free and open Internet with limited government regulation. However, I believe it is important for users to feel like the Internet is a safe environment that provides equal opportunity for use.

I believe the government or FCC could work to develop educational content, particularly for young users. This content can help inform people how to safely and respectfully use the internet. For example, the education could include what is illegal to post on the internet and why i.e. child pornography or copyrighted materials. They could also have cybersecurity classes so that individuals could learn how to protect themselves from the dangers of the Internet, such as hackers.

A specific action the government could take would be to set a standard for the privacy settings on all computer software. These privacy standards could help to prevent hackers and other illegal activity. It can also prevent unknown cookies and bugs from websites. There standards would not significantly affect Internet users, but would provide an overall safer environment with the use of universal standards.

What I think should be continued in the future is the idea of an “Open Internet.” One that is fair and free for all. Companies should not be allowed to establish “pay to play” schemes in order to allow quicker access for those that pay. Along with this, they should not be allowed to slow down Internet traffic based on the content or device. For example, Netflix should not be slower than XFinity On Demand because Comcast is paying Internet service providers.

A free and open internet is essential for the growth of industry and our economy. The FCC should be allowed to regulate the internet, but only using this authority to prevent any threats to Internet openness and illegal activity.

The following TedX Talk explains why we must protect a free, open, and neutral network. I would definitely take the time to watch this video and Mr. Ammori really hits why net neutrality is important to all Internet users.

And on the other hand… This news network explains the other side of net neutrality: government involvement. Government regulation can lead to too much involvement and less privacy and freedom.

So, what do we do? This conversation will continue for years to come as this debate is ever-changing. What is important is that these policies are constantly being reviewed and discussed to allow for the best possible Internet experience for everyone.

 

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Policies for Internet Regulation

This week I will be discussing the current policies for regulating the Internet, and what they do and not cover. Next week I will explain specific policy changes that can be introduced to improve upon these policies.

Law Professor, Tim Wu in 2003, first coined the term “Net neutrality”. However, the Senate did not consider passing a law for net neutrality until 2006. Many companies at the time were blocking Internet signals for companies that generated less revenue; this is when the FCC decided to step in. In 2008, Barack Obama stepped in; he was one of the biggest advocates for Internet regulation policy change at the time. In 2010, the FCC introduced the “Open Internet Policy,” which called for transparency, no blocking, and no unreasonable discrimination. The D.C. Circuit Court overturned these rules in 2014 because they claimed the FCC couldn’t classify the Internet as an information service if it wants to treat Internet access like a telecommunications service. After serious public backlash towards the FCC and major Internet providers and endorsements from President Obama and other notable politicians, a resolution was finally passed. In February of 2015, the FCC passed Title II, rules protecting an open Internet and applying to both wired and wireless Internet connections. The Open Internet Order was issued soon after and banned paid prioritization, blocking, and throttling.

As you can see, policies regarding Internet regulation in the United States have been changing for years. While I support Title II and the Open Internet Order, there are some possible consequences:

  • Higher broadband prices
  • Slower speeds
  • Less innovation
  • Fewer options for American consumers

In my opinion, here’s what the current policies do not cover:

  • Material infringing copyright will be easily shared using P2P software.
  • Internet service providers and governments won’t be able to block or filter these contents, if net neutrality is fully respected
  • More difficult to monitor and control controversial adult content

Make sure to check back next week as I explain the policy changes I would like to see in the future.

o-net-neutrality-facebook

 

References:

 Lott, Maxim. “New Obama Internet Regulations Mean New Taxes and Less Service, Critics Say.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 13 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2016. <http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/03/13/new-obama-internet-regulations-mean-new-taxes-and-less-service-critics-say.html&gt;.

“Whatisnetneutrality.” A Timeline of Net Neutrality. Federal Communication Commission, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016. <http://whatisnetneutrality.org/timeline&gt;.

 Dailydot. “Why Net Neutrality Activists Are Pushing for Title II Classification for ISPs.” The Daily Dot. N.p., 20 May 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2016. <http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/what-is-title-ii-net-neutrality-fcc/&gt;.

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Risks on the Internet

Last week I discussed government regulation of the Internet and why this can be a good and bad thing. Government regulation can help to protect us from the many dangers associated with Internet use. This week I will explain some of the major risks you are taking when you choose to use the Internet.

#1 Identity Theft 

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An estimated 17.6 million Americans (7% of the population age 16 or older) were victims of identity theft in 2014. This problem is more common than many people think and is often a result of criminals taking our information from the Internet. Criminals can steal our credit card and other financial information off websites. The majority of people that are victims of identity theft face financial loss. Victims of identity theft can experience high levels of emotional distress. They may even face legal repercussions if there is criminal activity associated with your stolen identity. If there is no Internet regulation, this could continue to be a severe problem.

#2 Hackers 

Hackers can access private information by bypassing the security of servers. They may use viruses and spywares to illegally gain access to a network. Another way they can access an individual’s information directly, is to use their password. People often use common and easily identifiable passwords that put their information at risk. Internet users that use the same password for many different accounts put themselves at a higher risk. Using antivirus software and a firewall can help protect your internet safety, but it is not full proof.

#3 Scams 

Along with hackers and identity theft, is the threat of scams. Cyber criminals use a variety of techniques in the hopes of scamming people for money and information. Sending emails is a common route criminals take. They send fake financial information, money laundering schemes, phishing emails, and more. Too often people are tricked by these con artists, leading them to be the victims of scamming. The individual can lose money, personal privacy, and face emotional distress. Fake antivirus software is another major scam to be aware of. I personally have fallen victim to this more than once. You can read more about popular online scams and how to avoid them here: https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/top-online-scams/

#4 Lack of Privacy 

Your information is constantly tracked by online sites and you may not even realize. Too often we do not read the “Terms and Conditions,” particularly on social networking sites. This leaves us susceptible to sharing our information with companies, the government, and other unknown individuals. Privacy is the most pressing concern in my opinion. I will suggest government policies to help with this issue in the future.

Check out this TedTalk  “Everyday cybercrime- and what you can do about it”

 

References 

Carr, Andrew. “The Danger of Hackers.” The Danger of Hackers. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

@heimdalsecurity. “Top Online Scams Used by Cyber Criminals to Trick You [Updated].” Heimdal Security Blog. N.p., 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

“How Identity Theft Occurs.” Detection, Prevention, and Security Identity Theft Handbook(2015): 27-44. Victims of Identity Theft. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sept. 2015. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

Morgan, Jacob. “Privacy Is Completely and Utterly Dead, And We Killed It.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

 

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Government Regulation of the Internet?

This week I would like to discuss the overall idea of government regulation of the Internet. This topic is highly controversial, as there are many conflicting ideas on what is in the best interest of the public. One side favors government regulation to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all Internet users. While the other argues for more personal freedom and privacy. There are various concerns and because the Internet is a worldwide phenomenon, it is imperative that the issue is addressed. Should the government regulate the Internet? Should they enforce net neutrality? How much involvement is too much and is this involvement in the best interest of the public? There are so many questions regarding government regulation of the Internet, making this debate relevant and important.

One concept I would like to address is net neutrality. Often referred to as “Open Internet,” The Federal Communications Commission introduced these regulations on February 26, 2015. According to the FCC this means that “consumers can go where they want, when they want.” This also means that these rules “protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to legal online content.” They work to ensure that Internet access providers do not allow faster Internet speeds for certain content providers and not for others. In my opinion, these regulations are necessary to provide equal Internet access to everyone. However, some people argue against net neutrality. Josh Steimle, a contributor to Forbes online explains that he wants more competition, more privacy, and more freedom. Government regulation diminishes the ability for their to be strong competition among telecom giants. Regulations act as barriers to entry and can add to an already struggling economy. Further, in order for the government to regulate the Internet, they must view the content. To many this is seen as an invasion of privacy. Less regulation would provide more freedom when using the Internet.

However, having no regulation comes at a price.Without it, illegal activity can go unnoticed and unmonitored. There is the constant threat of terrorism, hacking, and sharing illegal content. For example, child pornography is something that should absolutely be addressed and legal action taken against those who are responsible.  In today’s world we are facing the threat of terrorism online, and in the real world. ISIS and other major organizations often recruit online, regulating their activity can help save the lives of many. In my opinion, there should be some form of regulation. Regulation is necessary for the Internet to remain a safe, open, and fair place for all users, but the argument should lend more towards the type of regulation and to what degree.

I hope to continue developing this argument in the coming weeks and to suggest policies that the government could enact to best regulate the Internet.

References:

“Open Internet.” Federal Communications Commission. FCC, 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016. <https://www.fcc.gov/general/open-internet&gt;

Steimle, Josh. “Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 May 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2014/05/14/am-i-the-only-techie-against-net-neutrality/#44419aa8352e&gt;.

 

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Topic Selection

I have chosen to discuss the various way that the internet is influenced by individuals, the industry as a whole, technology, the government, hackers, and more. Throughout the next 5 weeks, this blog will focus on government regulation of the internet and particular policies that affect its’ users. Specific ways that the internet has been influenced in the past, present, and future are all of importance. I will describe policy change I would like to see “If I Ruled The Internet,” based on privacy concerns that I have. The problems as a result of using the internet, as well as proposed solutions for these problems, will be explained over the next few weeks. Follow me on this journey of researching privacy concerns in relation to internet use.