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Long Range Effects of the Internet on Society

Whenever any major development in society is conceived, such as when phoneswere introduced, problems ensue. The internet, because of it’s modern nature is not really well dealt with when it comes to existing legislation. The solutions to anyproblems with the ‘net are so complex that any legislation that could ensue might threatento infringe upon the rights and privileges that Americans enjoy today.

Virtualcommunities could help citizens revitalize democracy, or they could be luring us into anattractively packaged substitute for democratic discourse. “(Rheingold 276) “What if thehopes for a quick technological fix of what is wrong with democracy constitute nothingmore than another way to distract the attention of the suckers while the big boys divideup the power and the loot. “(Rheingold 278) “All too often the regulatory and policymechanisms of government have been subverted by the industries they exist to control.

Although this takeover has not usually been intended by the formulators of thesemechanisms or the laws setting up agencies, many factors lead to this corporatedomination when the regulation involves a rapidly changing area. “(Hiltz 445) Accordingto Rheingold, everything is eventually somehow commodified. “The First Amendmentof the Constitution’s Bill of Rights protects the citizens from government interference intheir communications-the rights of speech, press, and assembly are communicationrights.

Without those rights, there is no public sphere. Ask any citizen of Prague, Budapest, or Moscow. “(Rheingold 282) “Just as the ability to read and write and freelycommunicate gives power to communicate gives power to citizens that protects themfrom the powers of the state, the ability to surveil, to invade the citizen’s privacy, givesthe state the power to confuse, coerce and control citizens.

Uneducated citizens cannotrule themselves, but tyrannies can control even educated populations, givensophisticated means of surveillance. Rheingold 289) “This assault on privacy, invisibleto most, takes place in the broad daylight of everyday life. The weapons are cashregisters and credit cards. When Big Brother arrives, don’t be surprised if he looks like agrocery clerk, because privacy has been turning into a commodity, courtesy of betterand better information networks, for years. “(Rheingold 291)

“The most insidious attackson our rights to a reasonable degree of privacy might come not from a politicaldictatorship but from the marketplace. But high technology is often very good atrendering laws moot. “(Rheingold 294) “While a few people will get better informationvia high-bandwidth supernetworks, the majority of the population, if history is anyguide, are likely to become more precisely befuddled, more exactly manipulated. “(Rheingold 297) Hyper realists believe that, “The replacement of democracy with aglobal mercantile state that exerts control through the media-assisted manipulation ofdesire rather than the more orthodox means of surveillance and control”(Rheingold 297) is the path of the future.

In 1978 there were people predicting what the future was tobring. “Privacy and security are well known issues. What is new … is the indirectknowledge about individuals that can be gained by the records of an individual’s activity: who the person communicates with; what types of discussion are enjoyed; with whombusiness is done or transactions are made; hoe he or she votes on issues or answerspolls. “(Hiltz 457) According to Bill Clinton, yesterday the laws of America caught upwith the technology of today.

This statement has exposed the problems with legislatingtechnology. He went on to say that this bill has been ten years in the making. In this dayand age, when technology advances at an exponential rate, how can society afford to bestifled under inadequate legislation? There is little legislation, besides that whichprotects children and personal safety, that governs society’s relationships. Although thecurrent legislation does not directly attempt to do this, it in effect does.

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