Trust on the Internet
I am continually amazed how trusting people are on the Internet. They seem to think everyone is wonderful and will not harm them in any way – an attitude they would consider naive in the ordinary world. They remind me of converts to a new religion. The Internet has opened up a whole new world for them, one that seems perfect – almost like the Kingdom of Heaven.
This kingdom, however, is populated by the same kinds of people found anywhere – and some of these have found a hunting ground full of gullible people who keep telling each other the Net is nothing to worry about – and a media that says more-or-less the same thing: there is nothing to worry about in the Promised Land.
Let me lay it on you: the Net can be a dangerous place, and you should be as careful there as anywhere. You wouldn’t give the keys to your house to anyone, and you should protect your space on the Net just as carefully – and even more carefully, because the keys there can be counterfeited more easily.
You may say “But I have nothing to hide. Why should I bother?” Everybody has things to hide, that’s what privacy is about. Lots of people want to know everything about you – and will do anything to find you out. And once that happens, you will no longer exist in your private world – but only in the data banks of the powers that be. If we don’t have boundaries, we don’t exist.
This seems counter-intuitive to many people in the net generation: they feel everyone should know everything about them, because that is the only way they can be. The more of them is out there, the more of them there is.
To my mind, nothing could be worse. It is a new form of suicide: suicide by sublimation into a new world that promises to become all – but in reality destroys all.