The Double-Edged Sword Effect of Information Digitization
The emergence of the Internet has certainly brought countless sparks and impetus to the human development revolution, but its gradually manifesting double-edged sword effect has also become a thorny problem (Metzger, 2000). Due to the innovation and birth of Web3.0 and interconnected technologies, the originally distant information has been transformed into the distance from the user’s fingertips to the device, and a huge amount of information transmission ends have formed a huge digital information network on the Internet. When surfing the digital network, people find that the management and dissemination of information on the Internet are very different from the real world. As a port for receiving information, users will receive a large amount of information, and some malicious information will also be transmitted to users through network channels, which will bring a negative impact on users’ experience (Marchant, 2017b).
All countries in the world adopt a multi-strategy comprehensive management model of government, enterprise, social interaction, law, technology, education, etc. to control malicious information on the Internet. The governance of the dissemination of malicious information on the network is a branch of network security (Stallings，2003). From point of my view, individuals, enterprises, and governments are obliged to maintain the network environment and jointly supervise and manage the dissemination and proliferation of malicious information.
Personal and Network Information Supervision
A digital person is the smallest unit of the virtual communitarian culture of the network information society. It is the beginning and end of each information transmission. Each individual participating in the information transmission should be responsible for the content sent and received (Leidner, 2022). From the perspective of history and technical determinism, the research and birth of new technologies have not created harmful information, and the value of network technology is given by society and culture, not the development and progress of technology that has led to the spread of malicious information. So the crux of the matter is not the technology itself, but the multifaceted factors of social, cultural, and educational attainment. Therefore, the key to the problem is not the technology itself, but various factors of social and cultural background and educational level.
“The Teenage Brain on Porn” by ABC News. All rights reserved. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/-9lzRWxgmyQ
American teenagers are exposed to online violence, pornography, and drug crimes, American parents protested and marched to let the government and enterprises strengthen the supervision of online information to avoid poisoning the growth of young people. Digital persons need to be vigilant about what they share online to protect their online security and privacy. The users in every online virtual communitarian must have the awareness to jointly maintain the network environment. Individuals who receive malicious information have a responsibility to report and hold the source of the information accountable. As far as individuals sending information are concerned, not only do they need to have the self-discipline to send real information that they can be responsible for, but they also need to register accounts with real names to disseminate information.
Enterprise and Network Information Supervision
Years of experience in using the Internet make it easy for us to find that no matter how we protect our network security and privacy, there will always be spam and scam calls that can accurately find and harass you (Jones et al, 2013). With events such as recent major data breaches and global cyber attacks, this belief is more evident than ever. In the case of cyberattacks and data breaches, companies and organizations are often seen as negligent. But people are now increasingly suspecting that the release of malicious information such as racial remarks and bullying is a deliberate acquiescence between the government and business. As early as Brzeziński’s tittytainment plan was proposed many years ago, it has highlighted the elite ruling class and capitalists’ efforts to consolidate their class status and the unscrupulous face of the purpose of power. A large amount of user privacy data is collected by oligarchic enterprises. At a time when big data continues to proliferate and expand, companies will use the collection of user data to issue targeted recommendations and product advertisements to them, but this engulfs users’ right to receive non-inclined information. The inaction of some companies in the supervision of bad information has also caused many sociology and communication scholars to have pessimistic thoughts on the Internet information revolution. The most typical platforms such as Google and Twitter have spread a lot of obscene content and racist remarks without strong supervision. Buckner (1965) concluded that malicious information will attract people’s curious attention, and this inappropriate information will always lead to crazy discussions and forwarding. From an economic point of view, these topics that can quickly detonate the heat of public discussion are also the fastest and easiest way for some platforms to accumulate click rate and capital, which is the underlying logic of why the streaming media industry holds a conservative attitude towards pornographic and violent information management. For example, xvedios, the world’s largest pornographic website, can quickly make a fortune within five years.
At this stage, these companies have reached cooperation with external content filtering service providers under the mandatory requirements of society and the government. AI supervision’s ability to analyze information content continues to learn over time, and it will also increase the screening efficiency of malicious information. Ultimately, it is more effective to control the transmission of bad information. Achieving this goal requires the cooperation of companies that follow the entrepreneurial culture. Only when Internet giants give up the capital benefits of pursuing bad information can they truly and effectively control the spread of malicious information.
Government and Network Information Supervision
Governments have a responsibility to ensure the security of their citizens’ online information. Governments can use laws and policies to regulate the behavior of businesses and individuals and how they use data to communicate information. However, whenever new regulations are enacted, there must be no loopholes or unintended consequences that could harm users. Regulations need clear guidelines to ensure that loopholes are not exploited by criminals and other bad actors. The government’s regulation of network information reflects strong geopolitical characteristics. For example, China has established the Great Firewall (GFW), which uses technical means to block the transmission of Internet content that does not meet the requirements of the Chinese government.
“Great Firewall of China” by Ishikawa Ken is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Under the social and cultural background of freedom and democracy, many countries advocate industry self-discipline to manage the dissemination of online information content. Less intervention and more self-discipline are common ideas of the current international community to manage online content. The openness of the network and the unsupervised nature of online behavior make the self-discipline of actors the key to solving the problem of information content security. The more typical ones are: (1) Australia implements a model that emphasizes the combination of industry self-discipline and the rule of law, to maximize the protection of consumers. (2) The UK Implementation Network Watch Foundation and the ISP Association cooperated to publish a document titled “Safety Networks: Classification, Reporting, Responsibility“, which was used as the basis for industry self-discipline.
People need governments and businesses to work together to address malicious information and cybersecurity. Following the high-profile cyber hack, President Biden issued an executive order in May 2021 on improving national cybersecurity, and the administration wants to make it harder to break into government and government contractor systems. It also requires IT providers to disclose any cybersecurity breaches and makes it easier for them to work with the government.
Prospects and Expectations for Information Networks
In the long run, it is arduous to eliminate harmful information on the Internet, purify the network environment, and strengthen the security management of Internet information content. Individuals participating in the transmission of information on the Internet need to play the role of reviewing and reporting information. Enterprises need to give up the benefits of bad information and actively cooperate with individuals and the government to suppress the environment from disseminating malicious information. The government must vigorously supervise the implementation of policies by enterprises, and provide certain educational guarantees to make the originator of bad information legal and self-disciplined.
Internet malicious information— a storm that disrupts your online life © by ZHISHAN LIU is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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