Is the Net Doomed – Supplemental Reading for Week 4

Bruce Sterling writing for PC World states that the Internet is “a fun-house reflection of the entire planet.” And to that end it has become the biggest crime scene in the history of the world. Spammers run rampant, viruses are everywhere, Phishing baits the hook, and now hackers can take over your PC, lock it with a password, and hold it for ransom until you fork over the dough. There is an estimate of over 1 billion people on the Net (according to the Computer Industry Almanac) and all the old real world crimes have moved into the virtual world. I have felt this way for a while. It seemed every time I turned on my Windows based machine, there was a new security patch that needed to be downloaded. Spam was out of control and I felt that my inbox had been taken over. I’ve always believed that this would happen to the Net but help out hope that maybe it wouldn’t. With the new technology of the Net, comes new ways to exploit people and generally make life not quite as much fun on the Net. It is currently a very difficult place to police and I believe that certain people know that and try to capitalize on it. Near anonymity emboldens people to try things they might have other wise never done. What to do? Well, who should be responsible – Federal or State officials? Sterling believes that before things will get better, we will all have to relearn the art of citizenship. Then all the major players in business and government will need to get together and hammer out solutions. Then we could look into that “fun-house” mirror and see the still untapped potential of the Net just waiting to be released.

Bruce Sterling "Is the Net Doomed?" PC World,  November 1, 2005, 111-114. (accessed October 26, 2005).

Document URL:    Proquest Offcampus Link

Brian Berry

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