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Internet Population Passes 1 Billion, and We're Still Afraid

We're learning this week that we have officially passed the one billion number in terms of people using the Internet. Eric Schonfeld writes in his article on TechCrunch that the number is probably higher than that.

One billion is a staggering number, even though it makes up only 15 to 22 percent of the world's population. Nevertheless, those one billion Internet users give us a lot to deal with on their own in terms of social and security issues on the web. Imagine the small number of these users that make up the spammers, malware authors, and hackers that plague the Internet. These few individuals have successfully gained control over our lives-both virtual and real.

While relatively minute in terms of numbers this group of people collectively holds the Internet hostage by fear on a daily basis. Consider the power these people wield over the Internet because of their ability to reach through our broadband connections, inflicting torture and misery on our lives. Consider the vast amounts of data that has been lost or stolen due to their programming skill, or the sheer volume of bandwidth that has been consumed by the junk emails they have crafted. We live in fear of what these few can accomplish, and like soldiers in a war-torn city we duck and cover as we maneuver around the Internet. We cleverly camouflage our email addresses and hide in virtual foxholes behind personal firewalls and spam filters. We survive the Internet as we might survive a battle, keeping low to present as small a target as possible.

We've become so dependent upon the Internet and the technologies it offers that we have been ensnared in a trap of our own design. We've made Internet technologies open and free and we are now a victim of their use. These relatively few in number has turned the Internet against us and manipulates this technological marvel for purposes of greed and evil. We are seemingly helpless to defend ourselves from these individuals, offering only the slightest of capabilities to slow the flow of misery into our virtual worlds.

Yes, our collective genius has handed to the world the Internet and all of its wonderful technology. Over one billion of us make use of this technology in our daily lives, and all but a few of us still cringe in fear every time we connect.

By Mike Dailey, IT Architect and Sr. Network Engineer

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