We live in the digital age, with the Internet growing exponentially and with our lives becoming more online every day. It is easy to believe that the development of technology has happened primarily in recent times, given this explosion of information technology.
However, that is far from the truth. Indeed, technology, in all of its various facets, has been emerging over the course of millennia. Let’s take a look at just some key technology invention dates from earliest to most recent: Continue reading “The History of Technology — Past, Present and Future”
Before the explosion of online communications, our world necessarily was smaller and who we came in contact with tended to people we already knew. Then our ability to reach out and communicate with others expanded dramatically and exponentially as we all started traveling at warp speed down the information superhighway.
We learned that not only could we interact with people locally, but with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks we could be communicating with people across the country and even in countries on the other side of the globe. Part of the fun was our ability to communicate anonymously, using pseudonyms.
We could be informal, we could be creative, and we could reinvent ourselves. Indeed, most of us probably remember the cartoon with a dog in front of a monitor and a keyboard that had a caption which read: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Case law developed making clear that First Amendment protections extended to the right to speak freely and even anonymously on the Internet.
All well and good, right? Perhaps for the most part. The Internet has provided a medium that has led to many beneficial communications and interactions for personal, business, and other purposes. However, human nature is not always pure. From the beginning of human history, it seems there always have been some people intent on mischief and even violent behavior. And unfortunately, with the increased ability for people to contact others via the Internet, there also is a heightened possibility for such contacts to lead to terrible results.
Continue reading “Be Afraid, Very Afraid Of Who You Meet Online?”
Do you ever get up in the morning, feeling sluggish and just not up to the tasks that await you? For most of us, the answer is yes, at least once in a while.
And does it ever seem that your Internet connection is having a bad hair day? Specifically, does it feel like it takes forever for Web pages to download, reminding you of the days of 32k and 56k dial-up modems?
If so, do you just sit there passively and hope and pray that the connection will improve? Well, there might be something you can do to give your Internet connection that coffee jolt that it needs to step up its game.
Case in point: There I was, trying to open Web pages so that I could accomplish work tasks remotely from my home computer last week. I kid you not, everything online was taking forever! Continue reading “The Need for Speed Online: Don’t Just Sit There!”
While the Internet provides many obvious advantages to people in this digital age, it can also enable a dark side for those intent on mischievous and criminal online behavior. “Revenge porn” is part of that dark side.
So, what is revenge porn? It usually consists of a nude photograph or video which is publicly shared online (most frequently by an ex-lover of the nude subject) for the purpose of spiteful humiliation.
The nude photograph or video generally is recorded when the couple is in a positive relationship, and then later is shown to the world on the Internet after the relationship has crumbled, most often by the male posting nude content of his female ex.
There also are revenge porn ransom websites. Specifically, such a website posts nude photos and videos provided by ex-lovers of their former lovers, and then offers to take down the content if paid a certain amount of money. The Federal Trade Commission has been seeking to root out these types of websites.
Continue reading “FTC Seeks to Thwart ‘Revenge Porn’”
When it comes to privacy, a lyric from a Joni Mitchell song seems apt: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Indeed, as technology has moved forward, it seems that practically every semblance of privacy has disappeared.
Let’s recount just a few of the ways that privacy has gone by the wayside.
From the Workplace to Cyberspace
For starters, there is very little privacy in the workplace. Most employers have employees sign policies stating that the business equipment that employees use is company property and that employers can monitor communications using that equipment. Employees are told upfront that they do not have expectations of privacy when using company phones, computers, and other devices.
In addition, practically everyone is living their life, at least to some extent, on the Internet. As a consequence, all sorts of private information is shared in cyberspace. When making online purchases, for example, credit card and home address information is shared. When making such purchases, consumers agree to the terms of service of the providers. At times, those terms of service allow for the further sharing of information provided, and can also lead to targeted advertising. Continue reading “Where Has All the Privacy Gone?”
It just is not realistically possible for countries to be isolationist in this current era. Indeed, the entire world is interconnected by the Internet and other technologies.
Consider this fact that shows how the world is becoming smaller as we group together even more closely: 3,000 years ago there were about 600,000 independent world communities; now there are fewer than 200 such communities.
And when a disease breaks out like Ebola in Africa, with our means of transportation, such a disease can show up and infect people in distant other places.
Continue reading “It’s a Small World After All”
Internet ads can be annoying. At times, for example, you may be seeking to read an article or watch a video clip online, but first you have to click off an advertisement that is in the way, or you have to wait out a video ad before you can watch the video content of your choosing.
Perhaps these ads once in a while may be successful in gaining your interest to buy the advertised products, but certainly most of the time these ads simply are a nuisance and a waste of time.
Continue reading “Police Banner ‘Ads’ Warn About Potentially Pirated Content”
Here in the United States, we are accustomed to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution.
Indeed, this freedom has been interpreted by the courts to include the freedom to speak freely on the Internet, even anonymously. (However, if such speech causes harm, it is possible that anonymity will be unmasked so that the victim of the speech can seek legal redress).
Unfortunately, other countries are not as open in terms of safeguarding the ability of people to speak their minds — and in this case, Turkey is among them.
Continue reading “Talking Turkey: Is New Internet Law a Danger to Democracy?”
In the early days of the Internet, an editorial cartoon from The New Yorker depicted a dog in front of a computer monitor and keyboard with a caption that read “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The point was that people could behave however they liked online without others knowing their true identity.
But is that really true? Au contraire my canine friends.
Continue reading “Can You Really Remain Anonymous On The Internet?”
Last week, you were informed about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updating advertising disclosure guidance for search engines. But there’s more! On July 1, new FTC rules went into effect that are intended to provide greater privacy protection for children online. Indeed, the rules are supposed to afford increased safeguards when it comes to data such as geo-location and social media information.
By way of background, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) became operative in 2000, in the early days of the commercial Internet. The law was designed to enable parents to control personal information collected from these young children in hopes that COPPA would prevent children under the age of 13 from being targeted via personalized online marketing messages.
Continue reading “COPPA Now Includes Greater Protections For Kids Online”