Responsible use of the Internet

According to cisco nowadays there were 3.26 billion internet users as of December 2015; over 40% of the world’s population is connected to the internet, and it is calculated that by 2017 there sill be more internet traffic than all prior years combined. This amazing growth means there are more people utilising the internet, which exposes people to more available information, education opportunities, better communication. Information is power, internet empowers people. Which brings us to the issue where these internet tools are used for stealing money, violating people’s privacy, planning other crimes; which also brings us to the issue where government or police or whichever authority tries to have control over the internet, over the users and survey traffic. Where does my freedom as as Internet user begin, and where does it end? When does internet surveillance becomes totalitarian control?

As stated before, the world wide web is constantly in expansion, to paint a better picture of where are we now, here are some facts:

Facebook has 1.55 billion active users, digital interactions influence retail rales up to 2.2 trillion dollars in 2015, 2.9 billion daily searches are made through Google, and there are currently 966 million websites nowadays. What all these number mean is that there are a whole bunch of us now on the internet, the web is on a whole new scale, it is a big community composed of smaller ones, there are some unspoken rules, other written ones and it is our duty to act on it responsibly. The internet could be a tool for learning, and evolution or a tool for committing crimes and harming others. As long as people keep using the internet for jeopardising people’s safety the authorities will have an excuse to limit freedom on the internet. And whether the government limit freedom for protection of the people, or for control, our rights as internet users will eventually be diminished.

One example is the case of the FBI and Apple where a federal judge ordered Apple to assist law enforcement with breaking into an iPhone owned by one off the San Bernardino shooters of December 2015, this event kickstarted a debate on wether Apple should assist on creating a backdoor and compromise their devices. Later on an interview Tim Cook stated that Apple refused to help because put millions of customers at risk, make them vulnerable and he felt like it trampled on civil liberties. Furthermore he stated “I believe that if you took privacy and you said, I’m willing to give up all of my privacy to be secure. So you weighted it as a zero. My own view is that encryption is a much better, much better world.” The CEO of Apple fought in order to protect their customers and civil liberties, I think this is important because on the other hand we have the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill which is a draft bill of the Parliament of the United Kingdom among others it introduces:

  • Introduce powers for the uk intelligence agencies and law enforcement for targeted interception of communications, bulk collection of communications data, and bulk interception of communications
  • Require communication service providers to retain internet connection records (which websites were visited but not the particular pages and not the full browsing history) for one year.
  • Allow police and intelligence officers to see the internet connection records, as part of a targeted and filtered investigation without a warrant.
  • Allow police and intelligence agencies to carry out targeted equipment interference, hacking into computers or devices to access the data.
  • Create a new criminal offence for unlawfully accessing internet data.

I think that this level of control is unacceptable right now, but at the same time when it weighs against the safety of the people theres not much to do, the point being, instead of encouraging bills to control and have surveillance over the internet, we should encourage freedom and responsible use of the world wide web.

Resources

Statt, Nick (16 February 2016 ) “Judge says Apple must helo the FBI break into San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone” http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/16/11027732/apple-iphone-encryption-fbi-san-bernardino-shooters/in/10800347 The Verge Retrieved 17 April 2016

Griffin, Andrew (1 March 2016). “UK spying laws: Government introduces law requiring WhatsApp and iMessage to break their own security”. The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 18 April 2016.

Gibbs, Nancy, Grossman, Lev (17 March 2016). “Here’s the Full Transcript of TIME’s Interview With Apple CEO Tim Cook” http://time.com/4261796/tim-cook-transcript/ Time Magazine Retrieved 18 April 2016.

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