The internet is often referred to as the birth of a global mind, and has been famously described by Bill Gates as being the town square for the global village of tomorrow. Human beings are attracted to novelty and the great unknown; we have never confined ourselves within our caves, our villages, even our nations. As Jason Silva said- we transcend our limits. We go to the moon, and we create the Internet. The merits of the internet are vast and multifarious in nature, and they scarce need introduction.
And yet, to stand against the notion that the cyber world is nothing but a fertile ground for criminals, I would like to present a cost-benefit analysis of the virtual world, to highlight just how erroneous and mistaken the propounds Of this motion are. In doing so, put forward a two-pronged approach to the benefits of the internet, from, firstly, the general uses, to, secondly, the specific ways it helps us in resolving crimes. Since the boom in its usage in the sass, the internet has revolutionized the societies it has penetrated.
It provides an unprecedented free flow of information, with the result that the entire world’s knowledge is now merely a modem or a wife network away. It is now possible to disseminate information about any topic under the sun, leading to a larger and more accessible knowledge-base than was ever possible before. Consider, for instance, online education portals that allow one to study any course of their choice. Consider, also, how easy it has become to fulfill our daily needs – clothes, books, even groceries can be bought on any e commerce site.
Job opportunities are easily found, news can be read as it breaks, and different view-points can now be presented on the same platform. Social networking is now being used both as a way of keeping in touch, and as a way for prominent figures to maintain a public image. Moving to the second branch of benefits, the internet has, in more than a few ways, helped curb criminal activity. Take, for instance, the case of Offer Khan from Lithuania, who was caught via social media, while trying to sell his own grandson, or Deanne Stencils, who was arrested for shooting a high school tuned, and caught because of a Misplace picture.
The connection between crimes and cyber activity has also been examined in studies, such as in the Virginia University paper on Using Twitter to Predict Crime, or the CAP Social Media sun,’eye, which found that 95% agencies surveyed already used social media in some capacity, to combat crime. Having established its benefits, we now examine the cyber world for the double-edged sword that it is said to be. Improved communication facilitates exchange of sensitive information, and hypocrisies like hacking are certainly a possibility.
However, I would like to put forward a three-pronged argument to this. Firstly, where there are people in a non-utopian world, there must be crimes. Human society is founded on both good and evil, and while the cyber world may facilitate easier communication, it is important to note that even without the internet, crimes such as pedophilia, drug peddling, and acts of terrorism have always existed. Thus, it cannot be called a ‘breeding ground for criminals’ as crime depends n other conducive factors, such as poverty, disparity, or conflicts in ideals.
Secondly, to say that the virtual world makes such crimes easier would be a fallacy, because human degeneracy will always find a way around the legal system. I contend that it is thus better to have such actions carried out on a platform where they can be apprehended; for example, the IP addresses of those accessing child pornography websites are recorded down, to trace the culprits. This would have been wholly impossible without the internet, thus paving these crimes shrouded in darkness, as they had been for centuries before.
Thirdly, cybercafés are specifically covered under statute law; in India, under the Information Technology Act of 2000. While it has been criticized for inefficacy, it is imperative to note that cyber laws in India are still in a relatively nascent stage, and continue to evolve to keep pace with the society. In conclusion, it is of paramount importance that we recognize the myriads of reasons by which the benefits of the internet far Outweigh any perceived costs. Thank you.