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Cyber Citizenship Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Joshipura, India Nov 6, 2005
Technology   Opinions


The Internet has unleashed its power; it has brought about a revolution that is unmatched in human history. Truly speaking our life is becoming increasingly virtual. The world has transformed into a global village thanks to the World Wide Web. In such a scenario, we are suddenly faced with a new reality - Cyber Citizenship!

Cyber Citizenship, just as the citizenship of any country, comes with its own set of responsibilities, duties and rights. However, most of these responsibilities are moral and hence not necessary punishable under law like the real world. It is on the user's discretion on how he wants to use the ocean of knowledge and information that is available to him. It is in everybody's interest to ensure that we benefit the maximum from this invaluable treasure while at the same time ensuring our own safety.

And therefore, the first thing a Cyber Citizen must do is ensure his own security. Viruses, hacking and spam are major threats to online security. It is essential to have the latest anti-virus software installed on the system before going online, along with periodical updates as well to keep away from deadly computer viruses. One should reply to messages or open attachments only if they have come from a trustworthy source. Unsolicited emails are best left unanswered or purged! Thankfully most of the latest email services do have efficient anti-spam filtering mechanisms for a major part of email exchange today is accounted for by spam messages. We must remember that the cheats and frauds have also entered the virtual world like us and may try to steal our belongings like credit card numbers, other important information and commit crimes or frauds under our identity. It is not advisable to use sensitive and personal information on the Internet without proper verification that it would not be misused.

We should also exercise a certain level of decency in the virtual world. We have no right to invade others' privacy or share their personal information with anyone. One must remain honest and polite in all conversations. If somebody is not interested in continuing the conversation with us we should respect his/her wishes and not try to unduly harass him/her. It is important not to be carried away by the fact that we can remain anonymous online and we must not behave any less responsibly than in real life. It is vital not to get emotional online. If you are threatened or continuously troubled, the best way out is to report it to the law enforcing agencies for Cyber Crime has become a big headache and not reporting it would be indirectly supporting it. In no way should we try to support any illegal activity or endorse any explicit material on the Internet.

As more and more information becomes available on the Internet is essential to utilize it in the best way. Internet piracy is on the increase and so is plagiarism. Permission should be sought for using any copyrighted material from the rightful owner before using it for commercial gains or any other activity. Failure to do so may have legal implications and lowers our own credibility.

In spite of these dangers, the Internet is a vast resource whose potential has yet to be fully tapped. As Cyber Citizens we must try to use it for the betterment of human life and services. We must make movements in our individual countries to make the governments more aware of the consequences of cyber crimes and explain the need for legislation on such issues and stricter enforcement of cyber laws.

There are millions in the developing world where electricity is a luxury, forget about the net. We should strive to find its greater applications in practical life. It can be also used to enhance our security, in the real world! However, it is a fact that the Internet is a virtual world and it cannot replace human relations, emotions and feelings which will continue to exist.

Thus, Cyber Citizenship is a new concept but in the coming years would be common phenomenon. I feel that if all Cyber Citizens exercise a certain degree of caution and restraint we can enjoy all the benefits the net offers. If we exploit this citizenship to the fullest I believe we can make this world a better place to live in.



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