Thursday, July 24, 2008

Free Internet?

I had a couple of discussions today about wireless connections to the Internet. From the dining table in my home where I am currently sitting, I can 'see' 5 separate wireless networks including our own. Nearly all wireless network devices come with an option to encrypt and secure your network from other people. Putting aside for the moment the real concerns about your personal data security, the more common and likely danger is that someone who comes across an unencrypted network will 'steal' your Internet bandwidth.

I am one of those who believe that Internet access should be freely available to everyone. Access to information technology is one of the great dividers between the poor and the rich both locally and globally. We have a bank of 8 public access computers at Brunswick which get a good usage on weekdays, but many still face the barriers of low IT skills and still more are simply stumped by low literacy. If the Internet is going to provide a real information revolution that can be taken advantage of on a global scale, then we have much work to do.

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