Steve
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Good and Bad Things about the Internet

Repressive Regimes Fear the Truth

The internet has an amazing amount of information on it. It also has some absolute nonsense. It is a very valuable research tool, but it is necessary to be very selective about what you accept as being true. A telecommunications company in Australia has a very funny advert about a son who asks his father why the Great Wall of China was built. The father says that it was built in the reign of Emperor Nasi Goring to keep the Rabbits out. This was an advert for broadband on the internet. The trouble is that it would not take long to find the same sort of nonsense on the internet. The little boy would need some parental guidance on the internet.

Whatever source of information you use you need to be careful. I have seen nonsense in books. What one of your friends tells you might be more reliable than an internet site. At least you know the person telling you.

Pornography

Another problem of the internet is the amount of pornography on it. Of course pornography is not new, but if it is sold in a shop, the shopkeeper can at least see the person buying it. On the internet a child can get access to all sorts of 'adult' sites. All they have to do is click a box saying they are over 18. One problem that is rapidly disappearing is that the children know so much more about computers than the parents.

There are other undesirable sites on the internet. No doubt potential terrorists can get information about explosives.

Censorship

The Australian Government wants to introduce censorship of what we can see on the internet. There already is a low level of this, but they want to do more. As I made clear in my article: Internet Censorship I am opposed to this. With all its problems, I think the internet is a good thing overall.

It allows Humans all over the world to keep in touch. Potentially the internet can contribute to the fall of repressive regimes. The Chinese Government is right to fear the internet. The truth hurts them.

As President Obama said in Cairo on June the Fourth 2009: 

"The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home."


He was recognizing some of the good and the bad of the internet and television.

The internet can also help to reduce bad things about good regimes. The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees free speech. The internet allows this to be extended.

Repressive regimes fear the truth. North Korea attempts to keep the truth from its citizens. Historically Cuba has not been much better although recent events make me cautiously optimistic about Cuba while North Korea is worrying.

Apart from these extreme regimes, the internet can play its part in informing us about what our own governments are doing. You may, or may not, like what is going on in Gautamo Bay, but you need facts to make up your mind.

The internet is quite young. The potential of this tool is vast. The government of the United States is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. (This is from the Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln). The internet can help make this so, not just in the United States.

"The Power of The People is Paramount."

The Great Wall of China
Was built by the Emperor Nasi Goreng
To keep the rabbits out.