The Internet continues to provide a huge opportunity for knowledge, commerce, and collaboration. Yet, a growing consensus is that the Internet may become unusable. You may risk too much just by the very act of connecting. A different path is possible.
The problem is the desire to sell and exchange information about other people in their private lives and private use of the Internet. People will say, “what about Google, Facebook, and so on?” The difference is you don’t have to visit their websites or use websites tied to them. Whereas with the Internet connection itself, you have almost no alternative besides not using it at all. That is a huge problem.
A great future exist in selling information online. Content is and will be a big deal. However, it works on the principle of common carrier, common standards, and data that in no way compromises the integrity of one’s private life or liberty. People do expect respect of their private affairs which in no way ends due to the medium of expression.
Meanwhile opportunities for greater commerce exist regarding the Internet. The ability to deliver information to a mass audience of people is substantially greater than mere listing of who looked at what and why. Yet, that opportunity could die because the medium of exchange is not trusted. Trust is fundamental in business, between parties, and individuals deciding to turn on the connection and access a given source of content.
Do not kill opportunity for short-term gain. The long-term loss could be tragic. Wider opportunity begets opportunity. More ways to encourage greater, nobler uses of the Internet should be sought as it is an engine for amplifying the efforts of civilization.
See also: Protect Your Privacy Online.