‘Oh, they have the Internet on computers now!’ is one of my favorite Homer Simpson quotes. CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet is the name of Homer’s new ISP and latest get-rich-quick scheme until he gets bought out by Bill Gates. (Episode 5F11, season 9)
It’s the get-rich-quick part of this episode that gets me to thinking about Internet security, safety, and responsible navigation on the information super-highway. This week I caught parts of two episodes of Danger in the Download from BBC Radio. It’s amazing to think that over a third of all humanity is online now. However, not everyone who’s online is a responsible, law-abiding, friendly person. Host Ed Butler described many of the vulnerabilities that the Internet has when it comes to security. Besides identity theft, there’s cyber attacks against corporate sites and individuals. Interviews with hackers reveal how susceptable we are to problems
We rely more and more on technology, and sometimes this is good because it makes our lives easier…but sometimes it’s a crutch. I’m still frustrated when I catch kids doing single-digit multiplication on a calculator. Danger in the Download describes a day when we’ll dial up our home appliances to prepare dinner for us while we commute from work. This is cool and convenient. The program also mentioned insulin users getting automated doses via the Internet, and how a hacker could wreak havoc with such information and power.
During my first year abroad, a student was found to be cyber-bullying another at my school. I can’t remember all the details, but the bully was expelled. I believe this may have happened while at school, and the school justified it’s actions through their Acceptable Use Policy. I must say I was impressed; I remember the principal telling me that they just printed the pages of nasty comments when confronting the bully. The school’s actions were justified, and I was glad that it took a side in the situation rather than 1) hemming and hawing about what to do or 2) backtracking on a clearly written policy.
I enjoyed Course 2 because I learned a lot about how to better cite sources, draft school policy, and explore ethical and moral behavior with technology. I’m already eager to get into Course 3.