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The invention of the Internet has changed the modern world in various aspects; these changes can be described as quite significant. The main impact was made on the communication systems that resulted in boosts in economic activities, interpersonal relations, etc. However, the Internet is, to some extent, characterized by a low level of identification. It relates to a person’s identification, goods’ identification, and other processes in this sphere. No one can be sure with whom he or she is exchanging messages in some social network or who the real author of the popular blog is. This situation led to the decrease of trust to the information found on the Internet and rather high levels of fraud in this system. These two interrelated concepts have an enormous impact on the daily life in the modern society.
The main principle of the early stage of the Internet existence was trust. It means that at that period, the Internet was a relatively simple system with the structure understandable almost to everyone. Before its massive commercialization, the Internet was used predominantly by researchers or certain government organizations; this sphere implies rather high level of trust between its representatives. However, the situation has changed drastically after the commercial interests entered the circle of the Internet activities. The Internet turned into the platform that is aimed at supporting billions of websites whose interests very often clash. People faced a different type of the Internet reality where the information given on the two linked websites can sometimes have a completely opposite nature and direction. It obviously led to the current distrust to the Internet as a reliable system. It is very difficult to detect a fraud on the Internet. As Grazioli and Jarvenpaa point out in their investigation, even experienced Internet users tend to overlook frauds. This issue is of great importance in the sphere of the Internet trade as “risk and trust have a strong and significant impact on the attitude toward the web store” (Grazioli & Jarvenpaa, 2000).
This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the ethical standards on the Internet are also very low. The troublesome areas are intellectual property rights, defense of private data, enormous quantities of pornography, gambling, etc. These problems are far-reaching although one of the most crucial issues is the ethics of interpersonal behavior on the Internet. It is especially disturbing in any educational communities (Rader, 2002). However, it must be admitted that little can be done to change the situation as the Internet is traditionally a territory without censorship, and this should remain as it is. Censorship can be applied only in extreme cases, like the threat of terrorist attacks and other issues of the national security. The way censorship exists, for instance, in China, is unacceptable. “China has the world’s most complex Internet censorship system, featuring IP blocking, keyword filtering, DNS hijacking and so on.” (Xu & Halderman, 2011). The fact that many Chinese have access to the Internet does not bring well-developed democracy into the country, but nevertheless it may facilitate certain political evolution (McKinnon, 2008). In the USA, there are some federal laws that regulate this situation, for example, Child Online Protection Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act and others, but no one forbids people to access the information on the Internet to the extent it happens in China. The principles of the Internet censorship in the USA are completely different.
To conclude, it must be highlighted that the problem with the Internet reliability is not likely to be solved in the nearest future, but people, organizations, and institutions of all levels should pay much more attention to the Internet ethics. Everyone must be ready to report cases of the Internet fraud to the corresponding authorities thus making the Internet a safer place. It will be a very long process; however it is quite realistic to introduce important changes into this sphere.
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