Can the Internet Be Trusted?

November 2001
by Reid Goldsborough

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Did you know that under Bill 602P, the federal government will levy an “alternative postage fee” of five cents for every e-mail message you send?


The legislation, currently pending, would compensate the U.S. Postal Service for lost business from the growing popularity of e-mail. The government would bill your Internet Service Provider, which would in turn bill you.


This was the essence of an e-mail alert I recently received, with the sender urging me to write my Congressional representative in protest and to forward the alert to everyone in my e-mail address book.


Sure, it’s all bogus, an Internet hoax and urban legend that’s been circulating for years. But these kinds of info scams do snag their victims, wasting time and draining productivity.


This is just one way that the Internet is abused as an information medium. The e-mail with the “inside” information about a stock, the Web site with “unbiased” medical advice that’s silently sponsored by a pharmaceutical or herbal company, the Internet discussion group “troll” who deliberately posts inflammatory opinions to start arguments–all are examples of information abuse.


The Internet is not unique here. People, businesses, and governments have been abusing information delivery channels from time immemorial. Microsoft Corp., combining elements of both old and new, recently embarrassed itself…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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