Ethics And The Internet Essay

994 words - 4 pages

Computers, and the Internet by extension, are powerful tools of communication and information. Some have abused these tools, others seek to impose control in one way or another. It is an interesting irony that WWW has also come to mean the "Wild, Wild West." Like in the old times, anything goes and everybody just have to watch their backs. The law is not fast enough to keep up with technology. Many cases have no precedence. Complicating matters is the absence of geographical boundaries in cyberspace. Judges, politicians, and lawyers are in a quandary what rules to apply.Unlike Western movies, the bad guys in the Internet don't always wear black hats. Cyberporn, crackers, worm, e-commerce, copyright, warez, and MP3 are just a few terms in our growing Net vocabulary. These are hotly debated how loose or tight the Internet must be regulated.Cyberporn refers to materials found on the Internet, such as pornographic pictures and videos on pay sites to erotic discussions in newsgroup and chat rooms. Filters may give parents some peace of mind but it has been demonstrated that these also block access to non-porno sites such as universities or news sites. There is less concern over porn sites because most of these require credit cards. More threatening are pedophiles who befriend children in chat rooms and later arrange for personal meetings. Occasionally these cyber predators would send pornographic materials as e-mail attachments in the course of their correspondence with children. Federal agents, cops, and citizen volunteers have arrested many men by posing as minors in sting operations.Crackers is the term non-destructive hackers use when referring to those who break in systems with criminal intent. A lot of hackers are teenagers full of creativity, curiosity, and bravado. Hacking (finding weaknesses and faults in the network systems they break in) is a mental sport and challenge to them. Some leave digital graffiti to prove they have been there. They are at the very least, tresspassers. More worrisome to information technology security officers are those who are motivated by malice or greed to wreck havoc. This includes disgruntled employees or competitors.There are viruses and there are worms and there are Trojan Horses. Although not as threatening as real viruses, or even the Y2K bug, what is more annoying are virus hoaxes and myths. These are lumped together under urban legends, a special category of junk mail. If you have an e-mail account you will no doubt receive warning notices from well-meaning friends to watch out for "A Bug's Life" screensaver file along with the "Bill Gates Giveaway" hoax.There are also scam artists in the Internet who will entice you with work at home scams, easy loans, masters and doctoral degrees from diploma mills that are no more than a mailbox at a shopping mall, pyramid schemes, and miracle cures. Be wary of online auctions, too. A lot of consumers have been burned when they bid for computers and never heard from...

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