Are We Ready For The Internet That Will Be?

A number of friends after the national election were happy since things on-line would go back to normal. This was not surprising since the Philippine Internet has become a 24 Seven Battle Royal- Street Brawl No Holds barred match these past few months. Blocked and unfollower seemed to be norm. The melee spread from twitter and blogs and then to Facebook. Again it is of no surprise a number of friends were looking forward to the return of a like intense and gentler Internet. But will it really come back to that and was it ever that?

Consider a this point only around a vast minority of Filipinos can access the Internet. The Internet Penetration Rate is at around 39 to 40 percent – around 40 million people can access the Internet while 60 million cannot. At this rate divergent views and beliefs have manifested itself and to number of old Internet users, those who could afford it, have expressed disapproval at the coarse language and divergent views that surfaced. Can you imagine when the number of people who have access to the Internet reaches 70 to 90 percent? Then this slice of the Internet: the Philippine Internet will be a diverse, discordant and lively place.

Will it be a place you … we can thrive in? Probably more and more enclaves for specific groups will be more. On-line places where one can air one’s view without being interrupted ot ridiculed. A safe echo-chamber. There online places and groups existing now.

But it is more than just a matter of difference in opinion. There are real dangers from crime and bullying. The more people join the more opportunity to do crime.

So what is the solution a more controlled Internet?

Yes and No

There should be and there are legal measures that can be taken when one is violated on-line – this is the use of cybercrime laws. However, to use one must learn what it is and in particular what the cybercrime law is in a country.

Also, there is a need to safeguard one’s person – identity and digital property against theft and attacks. We must learn to back-up our files, secure our privacy, protect our data and safeguard our websites/web platforms from attacks. This involves education, learning, practice our learning and investing in anti malware and spyware solutions.

Lastly (for now), we must toughen and prepare ourselves to a more divergent, divisive and discordant Internet; reminding ourselves it is still a forum of ideas.

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3 Responses to Are We Ready For The Internet That Will Be?

  1. Anna Margarita Bote says:

    Hi, Sir. 🙂

    I do agree that the rise of internet-users will produce more varied and diverse opinions but also real dangers will pave its way such as, as what you said, cyberbullying. I think more than the legal measures, one way to control the internet is for the internet users to practice internet etiquette. I don’t know if there already is a set rules or list of this but generally, internet users must always think first before they post something online. During the election period, during those times when people are fighting one another because of conflicting perspectives, I observed that, out of the many causes of the fights, problems rooted from fallacious arguments such as Ad Hominem, Hasty Generalizations, Ad Populum, and many more. I think, if people were more careful with their arguments, if they practiced giving more informed comments, the exchange of words would be less harsh than what really happened. Indeed, it would be better if we back our arguments up with credible sources from credible and reliable persons (I am really sorry for Mocha Uson 🙁 ), informed and critical thinking, and also, open-mindedness.

    The internet is a virtual world that could connect us to other people — those that we physically cannot reach. It is an exciting phenomenon! I guess things would be better if we’ll learn ethical conduct in using the internet.

  2. During our class discussion about the internet, I remember your argument, Sir Juned, that whatever right granted to you by the constitution is the same right you’re entitled to in the virtual world. I fully agree.

    What may be problematic, however, is that we don’t know how many of those 40 million people are actually aware of their rights and civil liberties and perhaps its only their conscience that currently informs them of what kind of content violates the rights of others. If this malignant ignorance persists, the passage of the cybercrime law may not fully serve its purpose of protecting ordinary netizens. Quite the contrary, it may be used by self-interested powers to tag any form of online criticism as libelous acts. In effect, the internet may no longer be a safe and open platform for sharing views, ideas and critical opinions. On this issue, I believe that legal measures must definitely safeguard people’s rights in the virtual world but not to the extent that the state stifles an individual’s right to freedom of expression.

  3. In relation to this article, I believe that cybercrime laws will help regulate the internet and make it a safe source of information and avenue for expression. However, to ensure that fast and affordable internet reaches far flung areas and serves people of all classes is another challenge. Bridging the digital divide is a necessary component for development because personally all these cybercrime laws and regulatory efforts would serve no purpose if internet is only accessed by a select few who are able and willing to pay.

    I think a good solution to ensure fast and affordable internet is a stricter implementation of the Philippine Competition Law that will ensure that imperfect competition that stifles the ICT industry in the country will be solved to the consumers’ benefit. If Globe and Smart continues to flex its economic muscles for their own profiteering intentions, no amount of CSR can dominate the inconveniences and compensate the widening divide between those with and without access.

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