The internet, the very thing that connects us to the World Wide Web and allows us to have an identity via our computers, tablets, smart phone, and many other devices. It grants us the ability to search for news articles, materials regarding our education and access a long list of data stored in this long and never ending universe that is deemed the internet. Nowadays we seem to be, for the lack a better word, abusing this right to have access to the internet. Many may be thinking” speak for yourself”, so I surely will. I am a user (has anyone seen Tron?). I am occasionally an abuser. I abuse my time and my energy spent on the internet. Take this very day. I completed a midterm, my smart serve, and started a project for my other class, now you would think hours of being on my computer, searching up answers and providing necessary material for all my work, I would take a break. Do something that is not on my laptop…literally anything. However you, my friend, are wrong. I watched 6 back to back episodes of Shark Tank to enhance my knowledge of my major (yes that is my excuse and I am sticking to it). I got so into it that even when I was starting this blog I was still listening to Kevin O’Leary’s voice telling poor entrepreneurs that their company valuation is absolutely ridiculous. Pardon me getting into minor details but that is to the extent that I am an abuser. I not only abuse my time, effort, and probably the internet bill but I am physically abusing my body to a point where I can no longer sit and write this. I have to be lying down in bed, making my poor back suffer due to my procrastination skills. Moving on, I would like to give my opinion very bluntly, the internet is controlling our destiny.
I would like to begin with a set of stats. Currently Google has 1.873 trillion searches annually, converting to 5.134 billion daily. There are roughly 7.13 billion people residing on planet earth to date of that digit 2.41 billion people use the internet. That is 34% of the overall population of planet earth. Though to many of you this number may seem smaller than expected, it must be taken into consideration that developing nations do not have the same access that we have to computers and internet alike. I say this from experience. I am Persian and while visiting Iran two years ago I made the most horrible mistake of taking an online course. The internet was so unbelievably slow that without exaggeration I can say that it took a minimum amount of 15 minutes for my Courselink page to load. This was my experience at an Internet Café. At my family’s house the page never loaded. I was forced to drop the course due to my many 0s. From what I hear nowadays the speed has increased (developing nations tend to grow at inconsistent rates), however many websites are blocked off from use due to the political tension and struggle of power that occurs. The country likes to prohibit users from accessing websites which may cause a conflict of interest to the nation and a negative image to foreign countries. Back to Google, the long list of numbers finally translates to a total of 777 searches per internet user on a yearly basis. This is only an average and by no means a representation of one single person.
The internet allows for access to many websites that we tend to use on a daily basis, with 1.1 billion users (still) on Facebook and half a billion users on Twitter. We use these social media websites to not only connect to others but to share personal information with others. In this point and time you do not even need to know what a person’s full name is if you have any other form of information about them. They are likely to have Facebook and if over 21 possibly LinkedIn (225 million users) which makes it possible for anyone to access information about people existing in the World Wide Web. And the sad part is that we allow it. We give permission for our lives to be viewed and the information to be accessible. Why do we do this? The answer to this could be taken from a required article posted for CIS (“Can you really be addicted to the internet?”). Maybe it is that hint of pleasure we get when someone likes our picture or a status that we so carefully thought out to be either funny or insightful or that little hint of human mechanism that wants to be accepted by his/her own kind and social circle. Nevertheless the issue of privacy has increased and Google has tapped into our identity in social media websites. Search your name and most of you are bound to see a picture of yourself on Google Images (unless your actual name is John Smith then there may be a few…or more). This is simply a lack of privacy law providing other users information on you or me or anyone with anything on the web. The World Wide Web is increasingly becoming a stalkers paradise. The funny thing is that stalking has probably decreased because people have access to everything and it’s like the saying where you only want something because it’s unknown. Nothing is now unknown. No mystery, nor ambiguity.
However, instead of taking a step back to ensure a more private web for users Google has actually prepared a new service called Google Mine which will track information and items of a user and share them with their circle of Google+ friends. This new program will keep you on track to what your friends are doing and sharing so you could be constantly updated. This goes against users’ demand, 79% of which are concerned about privacy of their online identity. With internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. there is a huge disconnect between what people are allowing for usage vs. what they want to share. I believe users should have the ability to share information that is available for use without having that information become a process and a source of marketing for huge moguls. Privacy laws should be increased by hands of authorities to limit the use of information by internet powerhouses to be used for advantageous reasons that will be determining the future of the internet for us. Internet moguls can fight back and blame the user allowing the release of information but that would be pretty ignorant. A teenager starting a Facebook account by no means provides an enormous company with POWER to access information in which she is not aware of. As individuals we care about our identity whereas most companies view us as numbers and statistics. There is no emotional involvement for safety purposes because we are all just an atom of something way bigger. When such companies are so in tune with what people want they know exactly how to get them back. Take Instagram for example, it recently introduced the video aspect of the app which could originally be found on Vine. They did this to keep in the market and to further keep the interest of their audience. There will never be a full loss of power by these moguls because they now have access to information and the trends that occur, while users are increased or decreased, and the world has become so public that people express ideas toward this on other websites. Twitter has become a world where people can literally share exactly what they are doing. This is a world where no one is ever shut off. Even when we sleep others are awake doing what we do all day long. So even when we sleep kids, someone is always getting watched and someone is always watching.