A personal reflection on good and evil on the Internet
Many of the Internet’s idealistic young prophets saw the Internet as the ultimate instrument for the sharing of opinion and information. The Internet, they claimed, would serve as a worldwide Agora, the ancient Greek forum in which all opinions would be heard and consensus reached by open argument. In reality hate utterances on the Internet can easily be blocked. Every Internet message is forwarded by a provider who has only to “pull the plug” to silence the sender. Among the evils is the use of the Internet to trade in child pornography, seduce children, preach hate, engage in fraudulent sales, plant false rumours, and anonymously bully and slander classmates. The Times report suggests that “there’s a huge amount of online activity devoted to cultivating horrific impulses towards women” that lurks in the darkest corners of the Internet that needs to be cleared out. Some may argue that the Internet is too ubiquitous, too diverse to be controlled.