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.