If we give the Internet legitimacy, then the users of the Internet will be better able to protect themselves. This will also help create better citizens within the Internet. These citizens must understand that they are involved in the creation of a new paradigm. They are creating the digital persona. They may identify themselves as this digital persona, but they also must understand the implications of their actions in the physical world. There also needs to be a focus on information education. We now have loads of information sent at us, but who can process it all? What does it mean if my credit score is below 600? Sure, Iâ€™ll buy that product I canâ€™t afford because I have 3 months to pay it off. This kind of attitude will fail this generation financially, but the disconnect between having physical money, spending borrowed money, and earning credit prevents this generation from understanding the consequence of their actions. To know â€“ the best defense against the information wave known as the Internet.
Of course, part of the ability to educate will come when more are involved in the Internet itself. It is generally a middle-upper class phenomenon. It requires computers, electricity, connectivity, and a general ability to spend time learning how to use. In many parts of the world, including rural areas of the United States, this just isnâ€™t an option. Again, the least-advantaged are disenfranchised at the expense of the advantaged. Therefore increasing participation on the Internet will help in determining how information should be used. This is a global concern, but there isnâ€™t a global dialogue.
Open dialogue will, I predict, improve the quality of browsing as well as the information that companies can glean. Most of us have nothing to hide, and as a result are more than willing to share our buying patterns in hopes of getting similar products that we will like. However, that same group does not want their credit card number released onto the Internet for anyone to use. Another element of the governmentâ€™s participation is allowing the computers that the Internet runs on to be moved to international locations. America has no right to claim ownership over a global commodity like the Internet. Overall, participation is a key step to making sure that the use of information on the Internet is somehow regulated. If governments are unwilling to regulate, then the masses must do so.
I think that itâ€™s important to note that just because the Internet is a technical entity does not mean that a technical solution exists to all of its problems. This is the issue of the silver bullet that we discussed in class. Technological fixes turn into an â€œarms raceâ€ of build, break, repair – repeat. Technologies such as tor and Anonymizer allow the user to hide from where they are browsing. This protects the user, but does not allow the company to better serve their client. Should the user have to lose on certain offers because they are afraid of being tracked? In todayâ€™s Internet, the answer seems to be yes. Better rules, better software can be written, but someone will break it, and the cycle will continue. Technology is the foundation of the Internet, not the solution of the information problem on the Internet.