by Antony Felix O. O. Simbowo
Published on: Sep 20, 2006
Type: Opinions

That the contribution of the cyber revolution to the global social, political, economic and cultural advancement is immense cannot be disputed. However, this advancement is mirrored against a background of cyber green card holders, that is, those to whom the Internet is a partial way of life. Most of them want the citizenship but few know how to use it properly. Then there are cyber permanent residents: those who professionalize their use of the internet and are genuine and honest. Finally the illegal immigrants, that is, those who ‘sneak’ into the cyber country to kill, to steal and to destroy. The purveyors of anarchy.

The computer-generated world has its own varietal parlance, which has evolved over the years since its introduction. The language used by the military and the intelligence is for example, different from that used by the ordinary Internet surfers, which is also different from that of engineering experts. Some aspects of the cyber language however, are shared across different professions in the cyber nation. Common words from ‘asl?’, ‘iggy bin’ to other more perverted ones reign in the Internet coupled with ‘emotion’ icons, litter the many Internet chat rooms in the virtual world. Showing ‘rage’, blowing a ‘kiss’ and ‘winking’ among a litany of other emotionally related human activities can now be easily performed in online chat rooms.

To avoid unnecessary harm and being tracked down, many browsers (or surfers) travel through the cyber country with assumed identities and aliases. Yet still, some prefer to go online with their true identities without a care. The Internet through cyber world networking has contributed immensely to development in the developing world. It is now easy to contact someone or an organization by just a touch of the keyboard. Telephony has been made cheaper due to the introduction of Voice Over Internet Protocols (VOIP).

Viewing someone has become easy too as the two of you can easily connect to each other via parallel video links. Trading at the New York Stock Exchange, the Japanese Nikkei or the London Stock Exchange, for example, can now just be done from either the comfort of your home or the reclining chair in your office. Conducting business across the globe has become far much easier and faster with the advent of the Internet.
Companies can now recruit their staff on-line and automatically sort through the applications without the hustle of going through mountains of papers as it was formerly during the era of the ‘snail mail’.

Non Governmental Organizations (NGOS), Community Based Organizations (CBOS), and other civic and development organizations in the developing world have also greatly benefited from this technology. News reporting and gathering has gone global. Through media streaming and buffering, it's now possible to listen to a radio station in a far off land, watch a television station or even participate in a live conference or music performance taking place on another continent.

These unfortunately are mired in a pool of dishonesty, evil intentions, pretexts, and other exhibitions of hideousness. That the trafficking of children and women has been carried under the umbrella of shadowy online organizations is appalling! Many perverts, serial killers, con-artists, terrorists and other hideous persons prowl the Internet world looking for their next prey. As a cyber citizen using assumed names, I have come across many hideous cyber wanderers ranging from fundamentalists, con-artists, fanatics, perverts, to genuine professionals and the honest.

Probably many have got e-mails sent by some son, daughter or relative of an important world personality promising millions of dollars if only you would give them your bank account details! The same case has been seen in the numerous conference invitations, which turn out to be scams as most of the ‘organizers’ are always untraceable after depositing participation and hotel reservation payments with them. Once, some years back, when I was not very much proficient in the street behaviour of the cyber planet, I was almost conned by masqueraders, who had ‘organized’ dual conferences in Africa and a developed country. All that was needed from me was to pay my hotel reservation fees.

Other unlucky folks have been swindled of millions more by con artists, like the case of fellows who after months of ‘depositing’ funds online in a fictitious bank in Scotland, went one morning and lined up outside a disused house waiting for the bank to open only to be told by the town’s residents that there was no such bank and the building had been out of use for a long time. Children, women and even men have been tricked online with false stories of plum jobs abroad only to travel and be put under restriction and forced into debilitating prostitution rings and hard labour sweat shops.

The United Nations has been angling for more control of the Internet in an attempt to wrest its hold from the United States government. While this may appear noble from the face of it, the impact it could have on freedom of individuals could be catastrophic.

These points serve to show just how much the Internet is need of proper policing tools to reduce the anarchic situation that currently pervades its operations. In this line, there is need for proper vetting systems to be put in place so as to curb evils such as human trafficking for forced labour and prostitution, and swindling among a plethora of other virulent activities. Otherwise, with the current laisser-faire rules in cyber policing, genuine cyber citizens will forever be in danger of being harmed, stalked or fleeced by the dishonest illegal immigrants in the cyber nation.

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