Let that sink in for a minute.
The man was eventually able to clear his name, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on his defense. Computer forensics were able to show that the computer was visiting sites and downloading material at an inhuman rate of speed, making it impossible for a person to be driving it.
Apparently, it’s common for courts to skip detailed computer analysis like this due to high cost. Yikes.
Stories about the perils of the Internet are incredibly common in all forms of media, and I’m sure everyone has at least one personal story about a virus or a scam that nabbed you. The open nature of our beloved intertubes has created a dangerous place where the uneducated can really get hurt.
So, how to fix this, assuming it needs to be fixed?
I think it’s safe to assume that sometime in the next decade, anonymous online activity will virtually disappear. Court precedents over the past few years have shown less tolerance for people hiding behind anonymity.
Right, wrong or indifferent, it’s only a matter of time before the old joke about nobody knowing you’re a dog goes extinct. Generally speaking, I’m in favor of educating people, rather than creating a police state to protect the innocent.
Along those lines, I’ve often thought that people should have to take a course in general interwebs safety before they can do any damage to themselves or others. The natural extension of this is a licensing process, just like the one every teenager goes through to get a driver’s license.
There are a lot of moving parts here, and I haven’t got it all figured out yet. Still, this feels like an issue that’s going to get worse before it gets better, which usually means sweeping action of some kind.
Am I wrong to think this is a problem that needs a solution of some kind? Most people are hopelessly uninformed about what can happen to them online, just from harmless browsing. Case in point, Chet’s post about his neighbor’s virus problem.
But maybe this is a survival of the fittest case, i.e. if you don’t keep you machine updated and take reasonable precautions, you reap what you sow.
So maybe it doesn’t need to be fixed.
What do you think? Find the comments.