Internet – the Ethics of Virtual Communities

To encourage the exploitation of the opportunities offered by the Internet and new online technologies, measures are needed to promote their use in greater safety and to protect the last user against unsolicited content.
Awareness-raising actions should cover a wide range of categories of illegal, unsolicited and harmful content (including, for example, content considered inappropriate for children) and, where appropriate, take into account related aspects of consumer protection, data and information and network security  protection (viruses / unsolicited messages). These actions need to address content distributed on the World Wide Web, as well as new forms of interactive information and communication created by the fast spread of the Internet and mobile telephony.

Internet censorship is undoubtedly a complex issue, despite the fact that the Internet is by definition an uncontrollable environment, in constant motion, and attempts to control and regulate are not lacking. Attempting to limit access to the Internet is considered a violation of the right to freedom of expression and certainly of human rights.

Ethical principles remain relatively constant, regardless of the area of problems to which they apply. However, in any field, especially in the field of information technology, new, unique issues arise, such as those relating to confidentiality and property rights. By storing personal information on networked computers that could be accessed by anyone, the right to privacy is violated more than ever in history. Everyone needs to be concerned about their own security, protecting their account with passwords and possibly using encryption software such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). PGP is a free encryption application that allows you to encrypt files before sending them. The receiver must also install the PGP package.

PGP is a program package designed to protect e-mail and files by classical encryption and public keys. With its help, secure ways of communication between people can be established, without the need to change some encryption keys. PGP includes a secure key management system, data authentication by digital signature and data compression. It works on different platforms: UNIX, VAX / VMS and others.

PGP meets three fundamental requirements:

a) the private feature of e-mail, which means that only the designated receiver of the letter can read its contents;
b) authentication of the sender;
c) authentication of messages, is the certainty that the messages have not been modified by other persons.

The Internet is a virtual world (cyberspace) and within it the laws of the real world should apply. This suggests the difficulty of implementing the legislation on the Internet. The Internet is a network of networks and each network can have its own rules and laws, and the Internet is not above the law. The set of rules that establish a discipline of conversation in the virtual space is called netiquette.

Copyright must also be respected, even if the information on the Internet is public, and legislation in the field of electronic communications has not developed at the same time as technology.



prof. Anca Maria Pop

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