Regulating the Internet

•May 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Another obvious, yet critical aspect of the use of the Internet concerns the security issues that have been increased through time. There is a great concern on the fact that on an everyday basis, people share personal information, have money transfers and other transactions through the Internet. As known, the number of economic and other activities that take place on the Internet have now been increased in such extend that can be characterized as uncontrollable. The people use the Internet as a fastest and easiest way in order to facilitate their everyday life transactions. But this extended use of the Internet creates problems as many security issues arise. The incorrect and illegal use of the Internet does not facilitate transactions, and it makes them even more complicated and problematic. Through the use of viruses, hacking, identity thefts, cyber-terrorism, spyware and countless other illegal actions, the entire Internet system and its users have become increasingly exposed to information insecurity. Thousands of computer viruses and deliberate attacks from online hackers affect not only the Internet users, but more importantly they can affect organizations or even governments. The governments can be put in uncontrollable risk, when sensitive government information is accessed through hacking.

Cyber-security is a very important aspect for the correct use of the Internet. It is a main issue that has constantly been negotiated. It has been seen that individuals, companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, the European Union, they have all been concerned on the issue of the regulation of the Internet. The Internet is a very helpful tool, but to be able to benefit from it, someone has to guarantee security on all levels. Suggestions that the Internet should be regulated on a global level were made. In 2005 at the United Nations summit in Tunisia, it was proposed that the United Nations should take the control of global cyber-security. On the one hand, it can be supported that the United Nations could effectively be in charge of the Internet regulation. If that could happen, there would be only one central authority for the international control of the Internet. On the other hand, this proposal was rejected as the entire cyber –security responsibility could not be only on the hands of the United Nations. All countries have different ways of regulating and of handling their cyber-security issues and most importantly, they have different views on the Internet as a communication tool and on its content. The responsibility of the Internet governance was finally stayed -of course!- in hands of the American ICANN, the body that controls the administrative workings of the Internet such as the allocation of the domain names, situated in California.

The Communications Revolution and China

•May 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Internet is widely known for the freedom of the information flow that provides to its users. Governments in question though, are trying their best to control access to content that is often politically sensitive and restrict free speech. In countries like China, were some issues are politically sensitive, there was a need by the government to regulate the Internet. The ‘Great Firewall of China’ was the Chinese government’s attempt for controlling the Internet content. It has been supported, the Internet is clearly a significant long-term strategic threat to authoritarian regimes. News from the outside world brought by the Internet into nations subjugated by such regimes will clash with the distorted versions provided by their governments, eroding the credibility of their positions and encouraging unrest. Personal contact between people living under such governments and people living in the free world, conducted by e-mail, will also help to achieve a more accurate understanding on both ends and further undermine authoritarian controls. Some of the sensitive political and historical events, like the Tibetan independence and the episodes at the Tienanmen Square, are forbidden to be accessed by the Chinese citizens and generally by all Internet users living in China. Nevertheless, the restriction of the flow of information in China does not stop at the content of the Internet. Having a digital television through satellite is extremely rare in China, as the mass of the people are not permitted to have a digital television it their households. It is obvious that is it intended that people can not have free access to the new information communication technologies due to governmental issues. This leads us to the conclusion that fundamental inequalities of access prevent certain groups of people from gaining benefits from the biggest phenomenon of this century, the global communications revolution.

Does the global communications revolution lead to global democratisation?

•May 11, 2008 • 9 Comments

Part 2: The law making process changes

We all know that law making is not considered as an entirely democratic process. It is also known that the public has not the chance to elect the laws, but they are created and confirmed exclusively by the officials elected for that process. On that matter, the European Union has taken a step forward by trying to change that, and has created a new agenda, a pan-European E-strategy, that includes networking Europe. Through the creation of regional and transactional networks, for example ‘Eris@’ and ‘Telecities’ , people can shape, propose, implement and monitor policies! It is remarkable how over the last years there is a significant increase in the phenomenon of ‘e-rulemaking’. It is clear that through the Internet activities, and the modernisation of public administrations, the transparency of the rulemaking process increases, the public services are improved and genuine power is given on the hands of the mass.

The division between ‘North’ and ‘South’ in the digital information age

•May 9, 2008 • 5 Comments

We say ‘nowadays everyone uses the Internet’, ‘everyone is on Facebook’. We tend to generalize everything when it comes to the Internet. Not many people though consider the division between the North and the South, and do not consider the small number of people that actually use the Internet in the Southern hemisphere. The gap between the two hemispheres seems to be rather big.

Europe, North America and Asia account for the 92% of the International telecoms traffic whereas a large part of the world’s population has never made a phone call!! information on that can be found on Neilsen Netratings,

It seems that the South is left behind in the communications revolution and globalisation develops in the North western parts of this world. We should therefore be more critical when we use the words ‘global’ and ‘worldwide’ as a very large part of the population world that is not involved in it due to socioeconomic factors.

Does the global communications revolution lead to global democratisation?

•May 8, 2008 • 2 Comments

Part one:

Democracy is the representative and liberal political system were people equally express their political will and where people are the main actors for the creation of the basis for authority. There are many reasons why the contemporary democratic system can be characterized as problematic. It has often been criticized as too elitist in its structure, and seriously problematic only because its purer democracy is subverted by elites. the contemporary scene is mainly characterized by impetuosity and lack of interest by the people.

The new global communications offer the potential for new levels of interactivity and can transform the public’s role on the political scene. After the communications revolution, the public’s role has become more active as it has entered the sphere of political decision making. The public’s involvement into the political scene has been achieved mainly by a) the interactive communication services and b) attempts for e-voting procedures. the interactive communication services promise new ways of informing citizens and involving them in government decision making and rulemaking process. Mainly, it allows citizens to have a real say in the shaping and functioning of policies! most of the times this hapens through open, real time online dialogue . On some level, through interactive policy making, people can now have the opportunity and the feeling that they are creating innovative and promising forms of government.

Blogging in Iran is more popular than anywhere else in the world!

•May 8, 2008 • 3 Comments

I recently read an article about the number if bloggers in Iran. it seems that blogging is very popular there, surprisingly,statistics show that blogging in Iran is even more popular than anywhere else in the world!
But is the massive number of bloggers a real surprise? As young Iranians desperately need to find a way to raise their voice, blogs seem to serve their purpose pretty well as blogging is boundless and global.

Contrasted to Western countries that blogging is primarily for fun and for sharing knowledge, information, comments etc. in Iran it is a medium (probably one of very few) for free speech and for standing up on their beliefs, and having the chance to debate over crucial issues that concern the country.

The result of blogging in Iran is shocking: Bloggers have been jailed, in a desperate act by the government to suppress the medium for free speech.

Google Maps: a developing threat?

•March 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Over the last 3 years, a series of attacks lead to the conclusion that Google Maps can be a very ”helpful tool” to terrorists, extremists, protesters, activists etc.

From 2005 until now, Google Maps have been banned from more than 3 countries and their use has been significantly eliminated in another 4.

Especially in the U.S. the use of Google Maps has been considered to be a potential threat for the country, as the U.S. Defence Department recently discovered that someone could easily access military information, clearly see control points, barriers, facilities etc. and actually watch the military basis in a three dimensional ,360 degree view!

The pentagon has come to the conclusion that Google maps had to be banned at least from all military areas in the United States.

Google Maps are not only invasive for the countries defence but also in terms of privacy and security (e.g. Aerial views of Presidential areas, houses of MPs etc).

In particular serious concerns have been raised by the Presidents of India, South Korea, and Thailand, stating that Goole Maps are far too detailed and high resolution for sensitive locations and therefore, have demanded from Google for these sensitive areas to be shown blurry.



google-map.jpgFort Sam, Texas on Google Map