Big Brother is Watching

You, the average Pathfinder reader, most plausibly have a regular and consistent access to the Internet.  It is very likely that when you get back home, you open Facebook.  When you need to research something for an essay, you probably use Google.  And when you are bored and have free time, you most likely visit irrelevant and time-wasting websites, simply for a quick laugh or something to pass the time.  What if I told you, though, that all of this was being monitored?  If you happened to search anything that would be an illegal and/or dangerous practice, whether it’s a joke or not, it is highly possible that the U.S. Government would use that information to put you away to jail.  In the world we live in with the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet, very little you do is private.  Big brother is always watching.

This ability that Internet Providers possess to monitor your Internet activity was originally put into plan to make sure that you, the Internet user, were not downloading and/or sharing anything illegally.  Of course, if the Internet service provider has the ability to monitor your downloading, what’s to say that they won’t monitor everything else? (Web searches, websites visited, et cetera).  This information can then be sent to Government agencies, and used against you.

The privacy issues do not stop there.  The Government, as of right now, very much wants to regulate the Internet more.  Starting on Dec. 3, the world’s Government will be participating in a closed-door meeting in Dubai, and regulation of the Internet is on the queue. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is holding a conference from Dec. 3-14 to revise an old treaty in which the people will not have a vote. Some proposals would allow governments to justify the censorship of free speech, or even cut off Internet access in their respective countries.  In other words, governments would have an unprecedented amount of power in the Internet.

The Internet accounts for 13 percent of America’s economic business output, stretching from sales to communication, from entertainment to retail.  Not since Alexander Graham Bell invented the Telephone has an invention offered so much potential to benefit mankind.

Several authoritarian regimes reportedly propose to ban anonymity from the web, making it easier to find and arrest dissidents. Others have proposed moving the responsibilities of the private sector system that manages domain names and I.P. addresses to the United Nations.

The Internet is no place for the Government.  When taking the values and ideas of personal safety to heart, people often support the regulation of the web.  However, Internet anonymity is one of the last private and safe havens the citizens have left in this country.  While Internet Providers have the ability to give your information to Government agencies, there still exists a certain amount of isolation and privacy.  However, that could all change in this meeting.  A Government-regulated Internet would change our country for the worse.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.