I love the Internet.
If the internet was a boyfriend, he would be the perfect one. He would give you anything you want; when you want it (I imagine this kind of internet is the fast kind). There would be no secrets between you; you can dictate the way he dresses, the way he talks, the way he acts. Best of all, he would assist you in everything. He can book your flights; keep your millions in check, and even save your favorite cartoons for you to watch.
For years, I have lived in this positive bubble, that the internet is my best friend and that anything in it was created for my entertainment and to make my life easier. Oh, I knew about the bad stuff; the pornography, illegal downloads, and privacy issues. But they were so far away from my own reality.
However; when THE Bill Gates admit these shortcomings himself, even I know my bubble must be popped, and pop it did.
In his essay, Shaping the Internet Age, Bill Gates outlines the challenges that the internet faces in order to move forward and be further accepted by people. He gave three challenges to be overcome for the further development of the internet: Protecting intellectual property, regulating global commerce, protecting individual privacy, and keeping the internet secure. These are all very sound, idealistic, even. Although I have no doubt that accomplishing these would certainly improve the internet, I would just like to add some of my own.
No freebies? No thanks!
Protecting intellectual property is really all well and good. Artists deserve their salaries, their creativity and talents should be rewarded. But one has to beg the question: Will the internet garner as much consumers as it does today when every downloadable thing has to be paid for?
Even now, many lament the loss of Limewire, as it has lost in court and will be soon shut down. What would happen when we lose torrents, or, god forbid, youtube? These all fall under the intellectual property category.
I know that a lot of website now ban stuff that does not have a proper license. I can honestly say that it did not bode well for them. Take for example; Mininova. Mininova is popular torrent, and one that was very popular with a lot of people that I know. Just recently, they began asking payments for their downloads, and as a result, all of my friends turned to Isohunt, Mininova’s rival torrent which STILL offers free downloads. This kind of reaction should be expected, and analyzed thoroughly.
Governments and other committees are certainly to be commended on their actions towards protecting children from objectionable websites. The problem is, there are different forms of decency and propriety all over the world, or even, in different households. What would be their future basis for censure?
I suppose they can allow the parents themselves to make that decision. But again, what is proper for one set of parents, may not be for another. One house may think that naked women are perfect models for anatomy, while another can think of it as forms of vulgarity.
One also has to ask if by censuring, do we also somehow withhold vital information?
There are many many more things to tackle, a lot more problems to handle regarding the internet. Heck, even its sub-problems have sub-problems. The good thing about it though, is that we have excellent people manoeuvring the wheel. Bravo to Bill Gates for understanding the present and future problems that the internet will face instead of being close-minded about it. After all, being one of the people who would benefit the most in the integration of the internet in society, he could just turn a blind eye to all of these. Hopefully, with Bill Gates leading, the internet will continue to be our best friends.
I wonder if good ol’ Bill can kill my viruses, too?