This Web page is an electronic companion to the book Learning to Use the World Wide Web, by Ernest C. Ackermann . It contains links to the Internet resources, sites, and services mentioned in the text.
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Legal Issues, Ethical Issues, Privacy, and Security
Privacy and Civil Liberties | Ethical Issues | Intellectual Property and Copyright | Access-What Type at What Cost? | Internet and World Wide Web Security

It's useful to take a brief look at the history of the Internet, which is related to some of these issues.

Some sites with links to histories are

The Internet and the World Wide Web have grown rapidly from a research project into something that involves millions of people worldwide. Much of the Internet's usefulness comes from the fact that it is shared by users, service providers, and others, in the sense that each depends on the other and needs to support the other. Hopefully, that sort of sharing and respect will continue. Your behavior, your expectations for others, and your activities will make the difference.

"It is important to realize that the Web is what we make it. 'We' being the people who read, the people who teach children how to surf the Web, the people who put information up on the Web. Particularly the people who make links.... The Web doesn't force anything down your throat. If you are worried that your children are going to read low-quality information, teach them. Teach them what to read. Teach them how to judge information." Tim Berners-Lee (Scientific American Dec 97)

  Privacy and Civil Liberties

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was formed in 1990 to, among other things, bring issues dealing with civil liberties related to computing and telecommunications technology to the attention of the public at large, legislators, and court and law enforcement officials. As a nonprofit public interest organization, EFF maintains collections of files and documents. You may want to visit the home page of the EFF or view the EFF's FTP archives . An excellent collection of Web documents and resources related to privacy is maintained by Lorrie Cranor.

Some good articles on privacy are

A complete and excellent resource for information about electronic privacy is

EPIC Online Guide to Privacy Resources ,maintained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Two other places you may want to look are

E-Mail Privacy

When you send a message by e-mail, the message is broken into packets and the packets are sent out over the Internet. The number of packets depends on the size of the message. Each message has the Internet address of the sender (your address) and the address of the recipient. Packets from a single message may take different routes to the destination, or may take different routes at different times. This works well for the Internet and for you since packets are generally sent through the best path depending on the traffic load on the Internet, the path doesn't depend on certain systems being in operation, and all you have to give is the address of the destination.

The packets making up an e-mail message may pass through several different systems before reaching their destination. This means there may be some places between you and the destination where the packets could be intercepted and examined.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act One example of a law to ensure the privacy of e-mail is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) passed in 1986 by Congress.

With public key encryption there are two keys, one public and the other private. The public key needs to be known. To send a message to a friend, you use her or his public key to encrypt the message. Your friend then uses her or his private key to decode the message after receiving it.

You can obtain a version of public key encryption software called PGP, Pretty Good Privacy.

To read more about PGP, look at

Sexually-Explicit Material and Pornography

There are a number of programs that can be installed on a computer to restrict the material that can be accessed on the World Wide Web. The programs work with lists of Web and ways of describing the content of Web pages to filter material. One source of information about these programs and related topics is PEDINFO Parental Control of Internet Access.

The culture of the Internet has fostered personal rights and liberties, so some argue it's content ought not be restricted or censored. There are laws banning or restricting pornography; some countries have more stringent laws than others and some laws restrict the distribution of the material.

For more material on these topics see

  Ethical Issues

Some resources for guidelines for Ethics and Net Etiquette

These Web pages contain links to lots of resources about proper etiquette and ethical behavior on the web or Internet.
Inappropriate Business Practices It is common to find advertising, marketing, and commercial activities readily available on the World Wide Web, and most of is done in a responsible manner. BUT
One particularly offensive means of advertising is called spamming. When used in this way the term means sending a message to many unrelated newsgroups or interest groups. It's not too hard to do, but it almost always is met with great opposition and feelings of hatred. One way to deal with it is to send a copy of the message and a complaint to

Some information about Spamming
Libel Some interesting resources about libel.

  Intellectual Property and Copyright

The notion of ownership of something, whether it has a physical form, does still make sense as intellectual property. There are a number of laws and agreements throughout the world to protect intellectual property rights. The right to copy or duplicate materials can be granted only by the owners of the information. This is called the copyright. Many documents on the Internet contain a statement that asserts the document is copyrighted and gives permission for distributing the document in an electronic form, provided it isn't sold or made part of some commercial venture. Even items that don't contain these statements are protected by the copyright laws of the United States, the Universal Copyright Convention, or the Berne Union. Most of the copyright conventions or statutes include a provision so that individuals may make copies of portions of a document for short-term use. If information is obtainable on the Internet, and there is no charge to access the information, it often can be shared in an electronic form. That certainly doesn't mean you can copy images or documents and make them available on the Internet, or make copies and share them in a printed form with others. Quite naturally, many of the folks who create or work at providing material available on the Internet, expect to get credit and be paid for their work.
Some links to information about Intellectual Property and Copyright

Access-What Type at What Cost?  
Getting Connected Getting connected to the Internet is an economic and technical issue. Many considerations go into the choice of a provider. Naturally, you're interested in the cost of the service, but the type of service needs to be specified, as it usually determines the cost. This is where technical issues come into play. Items to consider are the speed at which you access the Internet, the types of services provided, the fee structure, and associated costs for access. If you're going to use Netscape Navigator or some other graphical WWW browser, you'll need a full Internet connection, called an IP connection, to be able to run Internet application programs on your computer system. You'll probably want the connection to be at a higher speed, such as 14.4K, 28.8K, or 56K bits per second or greater. With an IP connection, the computer you use contains a network card with a cable connected to it, or your computer has SLIP or PPP access. (These are also discussed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.) Fee structures vary, and you need to choose what best fits your needs. Some providers charge a flat monthly or yearly fee, regardless of how much the connection is used, and others charge a base rate for a certain amount of hours per month, and then you pay extra if you're connected for a longer period of time. Some sites also allow a fixed amount of storage for files at the flat rate, and then charge extra if more is used. Finally, you need to consider any associated costs such as a start-up fee and communication charge-phone calls, modems, cable access fees, etc. What may turn out to be the most important item is support, someone to provide help and guidance when you or the users on your system need it.
Some resources in this area.
Access-One-Way or Two-Way? One thing that's made the Internet so lively and engaging is that it is a two-way connection. Anyone can be an information receiver or consumer, and just as importantly, anyone can be an information provider or producer. At the present time there is no central control of the Internet, so the topics discussed and ideas expressed range through a variety of subjects. Some of the topics are politically popular and some are not, some support actions of local governments, and others are critical of those actions. But the primary point is that the discussions go on. A network such as the Internet allows the people who use it to organize for or against national or international issues. Issues can be discussed and calls for action disseminated. If the Internet were run or designed in the same way as radio or television-essentially a one-way communication medium-it wouldn't be such a vigorous, interesting medium.

There are, of course, down sides to this two-way access without central control. This type of access has been used to offend and abuse others, and for uncontrolled marketing. Remember, the Internet is a cooperative venture -- people sharing resources, services, and ideas. There are appropriate places for discussions on all sorts of topics and for both commercial and non commercial activities.

Universal or Public Access

As the Internet grows in both the number of users and the physical structures needed to support it, it reaches a size sufficient to be called an infrastructure. An infrastructure is a basic service or facility necessary to support a community or society. If it is so important to society, then it seems reasonable that everyone should have access to it. This is the case in some parts of the world where access to the Internet is part of a national public utility. Many more nations deal with access to a voice network, the telephone network, in much the same way. As more persons learn about and use the Internet and World Wide Web in schools and their work, it's reasonable to provide Internet access to them when they leave those environments.


One successful means of providing community access to the Internet and the WWW is a Free-Net. A Free-Net allows anyone with a computer and modem to obtain a login account and have access to the Internet. Membership in a Free-Net is usually either free to members of the local community or within the means of members of the community. Several Free-Nets exist throughout the world. The first, the Cleveland Free-Net, was established in Cleveland, Ohio by T. M. Grundner and others as a means to deliver community health information.

Community Network A Free-Net or Community Network is an example of a community providing its own solutions to some of the problems of Internet access for all its members. An organization to coordinate information about community networks is the Organization for Community Networks. 

Internet Security

When you use a computer system connected to the Internet, you're able to reach a rich variety of sites and information. By the same token, any system connected to the Internet can be reached in some manner by any of the other computer systems connected to the Internet. Partaking of the material on the Internet also means that you have to be concerned about the security of your computer system and other systems.

You don't want unauthorized persons accessing your information or information belonging to others who share your system-you want to protect your system from malicious or unintentional actions that could destroy stored information or halt your system. You don't want others masquerading as you. You need to be concerned about the security of other systems so you can have some faith in the information you retrieve from those systems, and so you can conduct business transactions.

A lack of security results in damage, theft, and what may be worse in some cases, a lack of confidence or trust.

Hyperlinks to sites that have information about computer and Internet security

If you access the Internet by logging into a computer system, your primary defense against intrusion is your password. You need to choose a password that will be difficult to guess. This means choosing a password that's at least six characters long. You'll also want to use a password contain upper- and lowercase letters and some nonalphabetic characters. Additionally, the password shouldn't represent a word, and it shouldn't be something that's easy to identify with you such as a phone number, room number, birthdate, or license number.

Some Web resources about choosing good passwords

Because connecting a network to the Internet allows access to that network, system administrators and other persons concerned with network security are very concerned about making that connection. One device or part of a network that can help enhance security is called a firewall. To find out more about firewalls read Internet Firewalls Frequently Asked Questions

One type of program that causes problems for Internet users is called a virus. This doesn't necessarily copy your data or attempt to use your system. However, it can make it difficult or impossible to use your system. A virus is a piece of code or instructions that attaches itself to existing programs. Just like a biological virus, a computer virus can't run or exist on its own, but must be part of an executing program. When these programs are run, the added instructions are also executed. For more information on viruses, check the hyperlinks at Other Sources of Virus Information.

Internet security is very important to many users, as well it should be. We need to make sure that messages are private and that monetary transactions and data sources are secure. A good document to read about security and privacy is Identity, Privacy, and Anonymity on the Internet by L. Detweiler.

The Trail You Leave When You Use the Web. A brief description of log files kept by Web servers, cookies, and the information about how you use the Web that's saved in the browser's cache and history list.

Electronic Commerce

To see some papers and other resources dealing with electronic commerce, go the Web page ISWorld Net Electronic Commerce Course Page . Other information about commercial activities on the Internet is available through Commerce Net, and FinanceNet .

Some resources for Electronic Banking and Electronic Payment Systems:

Some other places you may want to visit
Internet & Web Essentials Learning to Use the Internet and the World Wide Web Searching and Researching on the World Wide Web

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FROM the fortune list ...

You cannot reason with a hungry belly; it has no ears. -- Greek Proverb.