Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

World's "wild" web sparks fears for the future

Filed under
Web

The web is turning into a hazardous environment, and there should be more tech-savvy politicians in government today so better legislation can be established, says an industry-renowned internet guru.

David Farber, distinguished career professor of computer science and public policy, school of computer science, Carnegie Mellon University, said: "The next 10 years will be as wild as the last 25."

Often described as the "grandfather of the internet", because his students went on to become pioneers of the digital medium, Farber spoke yesterday at a public lecture organised by the Singapore Management University's school of information systems.

He expressed concerns the web is developing into a platform that has the potential to do more harm than good.

The internet has evolved from "something that you can do nice things with" to something which people can use to do "not nice things", he said. "That's worrying."

Previously hackers generally wanted the right to boast of having discovered security loopholes but now they seek out vulnerabilities for personal gain, he added.

"It is not a nice environment," he said, noting that security must therefore remain a key focus for the industry.

Legislation will also remain a primary focus for governments, which are struggling to cope with the nature of the internet, Farber said. Things they could do before are getting tougher to do, he said. For example, in the United States there is no easy way to impose taxes for online transactions, when buyers can be located in different countries across the globe, he explained.

"Politicians don't like the internet... they don't like losing control," Farber said. He also lamented the current lack of tech-savvy politicians in office.

"[IT-related] laws are being made and broken by politicians who do not understand technology," he said, noting the US government as an example.

Participating in a panel discussion which followed Farber's lecture, Tan Geok Leng, CTO of technology group at the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), concurred with Farber's assessment that politicians worldwide are typically not fond of losing control.

But Tan noted that governments should also recognise that the internet is a strong vehicle for communications. "So the government has to ensure that the quality of information [on the web] is high so user trust can be maintained," he added.

Another panellist, Professor Lawrence Wong, executive director of Institute for Infocomm Research, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, noted another trend which he described as "the democratisation of the internet", where "anyone can now be a content creator".

"How do we then ensure the integrity of [each piece of] the content?" he said.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Matching databases to Linux distros

Relational database management systems (RDBMSs) aren’t the sort of thing to get most folk out of bed in the morning – unless, of course, you happen to think they’re one of the most brilliant concepts ever dreamed up. These days you can’t sneeze without someone turning it into a table value in a database somewhere - and in combination with the freely available Linux operating system, there’s no end to them. Most Linux distros make it almost trivial to add popular DBMSs to your system, such as MySQL and MariaDB, by bundling them in for free in their online app stores. But how do you tell which combination - which Linux distro and which DBMS - will give you the best performance? This week we've revved up the Labs servers to ask the question: what level of performance do you get from OS repository-sourced DBMSs? Read more

The Curious Case of Raspberry Pi Consumerism

I find the attitude of many within the Raspberry Pi community to be strange and offensive. I first discovered this odd phenomenon (odd because it contradicts the ethos of the project's academic foundations) back when it first started, as many within the Raspberry Pi community took an extremely hostile attitude toward academic freedom, apparently in defence of various parties' highly dubious intellectual monopolies (Broadcom and MPEG-LA, for example). I pointed out the irony and hypocrisy of their attitude at the time, explaining that they were more than happy to leech Free (as in freedom) Software for their own benefit, but then balked at the prospect of freely sharing the results, and in particular this contradicted their stated academic goal of facilitating better computer education in UK schools, an environment that rightly demands open access to knowledge. Read more

Google Chrome 38 Beta Brings New Guest Mode and Easier Incognito Mode Switching

The developers have explained that the user switching feature has been redesigned and it will make changing profiles and into the incognito mode a lot simple. They have also added a new experimental Guest mode, a new experimental UI for Chrome supervised users has been implemented, and numerous under-the-hood changes have been made for stability and performance. "This release adds support for the new element thanks to the hard work of community contributor Yoav Weiss, who was able to dedicate his time to implementing this feature in multiple rendering engines because of a successful crowd-funding campaign that raised more than 50% of its funding goal." Read more

PfSense 2.1.5 Is a Free and Powerful FreeBSD-Based Firewall Operating System

PfSense is a free network firewall distribution based on the FreeBSD, it comes with a custom kernel, and a few quite powerful applications that should make its users’ life a lot easier. Most of the firewall distros are Linux-based, but PfSense is a little bit different and is using FreeBSD. Regular users won't feel anything out of the ordinary, but it's an interesting choice for the base. The developers of PfSense are also saying that their distro has been successful in replacing a number of commercial firewalls such as Check Point, Cisco PIX, Cisco ASA, Juniper, Sonicwall, Netgear, Watchguard, Astar, and others. Read more