The Information Age


The Information Age Essay, Research Paper

It is true that the world is no longer run by weapons. All over the world there is almost always a computer which controls, or participates in a daily task. Daily tasks which can range from the simple renting of a video, to controlling the systems of a Collins Class submarine. However, the extent of which society should rely on these machines and their information has often been debated. And with the spawn of the Internet comes the very sensitive issue of privacy. The ?Big Brothers? of the world, who rely on information, seem to encroach on everyone?s privacy, yet the tolerance of such encroachments is left up to personal opinion.

But when exactly should people draw the line? The ideal is that all people will realise when they hand out their most intimate details, therefore only providing the information to secure locations. But while the responsibility is placed on the honest citizen never to reveal their information, the companies, organisations, and even governments are only trusted to ?do the right thing?. In fact, the Freedom of Information Act created by the Australian government states that by law, statistics such as criminal records are free to be viewed by the general public. This not only removes privacy, but also adds an element of danger. On many occasions, vigilante groups have wreaked havoc on the lives of criminals (mostly pedophiles), simply because their criminal history had been publicly broadcast. In the past year alone, a British newspaper made the regrettable decision of printing names and addresses of known pedophiles in the local area, sparking numbers of acts of vandalism and assault on those who?s identities were revealed. Even a man, who was mistakenly labelled as a pedophile, was bashed and robbed as a result of the publications. While at the same time, police in Australia had already begun the launch of ?Crimenet?, an internet-based database which provided once private criminal information to who ever was willing to pay for it. Fortunately, the database was removed from the Internet after it was found that members of juries were accessing information on the database, creating an unfair bias against the defendant.

But even though these issues have been dealt with, there is no way of policing the trade of information in places such as the Internet. Companies are now able to access information on consumer preferences, and then smother target audiences with advertising. Employers are able to access personal information, allowing them to dismiss job seekers without even meeting them. Even government organisations, which the public has no choice but to trust, are free to sell the most personal of secrets to the highest bidder. So it seems that in a world of global villages, viruses, and unreliable governments, the information is safe only when it?s not shared at all.

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