Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Internet safety

Yesterday was Safer Internet Day - I find it interesting that this coincided with another campaign: The Day We Fight Back. Because the future of the internet is under threat from many different angles, all stemming from the darker side of human nature.

There are those who would use the internet to bully and harass individuals for their own gratification, as Steve Wheeler discussed in his post. We all need to consider how to fight back against these threats from those who just can't behave sociably, no matter the technology. But there are much more pervasive, long-term threats looming in the background.

Above all, the promise of the internet is that of free and open sharing of information, promoting an exciting future that supports development of knowledge without artificially imposed restrictions. But governments seem to be happy to bulldoze over human rights in the name of national security, and while we may feel safer for this, without some appropriate principles in place, none of us would feel safe in sharing any information, thus devaluing the potential of the medium.

There are also threats looming from the corporate sector - some have warned of an internet apocalypse with the US and EU ready to hand corporations the right to impose selective speeds on internet traffic according to ability to pay. This would erode human rights everywhere, from developing countries to global activism against greed and recklessness.

I hope you had a safe day with the internet - and may you continue to do so.