ITGS Syllabus

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Topic 89

global access to information available on CD-ROMs versus Internet by Tommy

In the modern information age, the main source of information that most people tend to turn to is the internet. It is readily accessible to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. It is for this very reason that most people prefer to use the internet to quickly find information rather than going to their local library and checking in the reference section. Another way of storing information is CD-ROMS. Although they are not as accessible as the internet, they are much more compact and easier to store than books.

What are the issues associated with this subject?

The main issue of the internet lies in its strength. The internet’s accessibility is a double-edged sword. The fact that anyone can access it easily and read its content also means that anyone can create what is on the internet. Anyone can post up any information that they like, whether it is true or not.
CD-ROMS, however, tend to be safer because people who release CD-ROMS generally are respectable companies or educational institutes.

What are the ethical issues?

Ethically, there are problems with people deliberately posting up false information or offensive content. This is most clearly seen in so called “shock sites” such as Lemon Party or Tub Girl. Web sites like Wikipedia, where anyone can edit the information presented, often have problems with people editing the information so that it is all false or replacing it with offensive content.
There are also issues with people taking CD-ROMS, copying them, and then selling them for profit, which is a breach of copyright laws.

Who is responsible?

The people who are responsible here are the ones who post up the offensive content and to a certain extent, the people who fail to establish ways to stop people from posting offensive content.

What solutions can overcome the problem?

A solution to the problem of people posting false or offensive content on websites such as Wikipedia would be to force every change to an article to go through inspection before being allowed for public viewing. This way, bad changes to articles could be filtered out, and good changes would stay. The only problem with this would be the fact that hundreds of changes are made to Wikipedia articles everyday, and inspecting each and every one of them would be either impossible or take large amounts of work.

Solutions to the problem of shock sites are already in place. Filters have been set up in many offices and educational institutes to block out sites with offensive content. The downside to a solution like this is that many other sites are blocked as well, such as humor sites or certain site that are used for sex education. Because filters operate using certain programmed rules, they are not able to distinguish between legitimate websites and offensive ones. Another possible solution would be to put stricter rules on what kind of websites would be allowed and have a committee to approve new websites. With the number of websites currently on the World Wide Web however, such a feat would be near impossible. There would also be complaints about infringement of civil rights.

The problem of piracy could be solved by creating and enforcing stricter laws. Regular checks could be conducted on stores to see if they are selling pirated software or not. The problem with this is that piracy is so widespread.

A problem involving something as big as the internet probably has no good solutions that would take effect globally. The best solutions that we have are ones that only have a local impact.


Blogger Dwarkesh said...

I think a solution to increase the filtering of incoming articles for Wikipedia would be to allow only qualified personnels to post their opinions or facts that they think is important... this way it would be reliable and wouldnt be junk.... instead of checking each and every one of them...phw

January 27, 2007 7:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home