Integrity Matters
August 30, 2006

We need to make call to the Web police

Question: (E-256)

Dear Jim:

My personal and business e-mail is clogged with unsolicited filth, spam and intrusive advertising. Viruses are a constant threat. Who can help restore business and moral integrity to the Web?


No global authority has the power to control either the uses or abuses of the Internet. Only you can. It is an individual responsibility.

The World Wide Web stretches out before humanity as the next great frontier. Unfortunately, for everyone already plugged into and committed to the Internet's fantastic promise, there are criminals, con artists and ego-driven hackers who find pleasure and profit in messing up this marvelous mechanism.

Unless or until Internet users decide to self-police, unsavory characters (and businesses) will ride roughshod over the unsuspecting. It should be common knowledge that free markets - and the Internet and its users - must operate with integrity, a culture of compliance, or face increasing government oversight.

The good news is that anyone can instantaneously access global information, and that is also the bad news. Anyone with something to sell - whether legitimate, valuable, irrelevant, stolen, uplifting, filthy or frivolous - can reach out worldwide with one keystroke. To combat the ambiguity of Internet-driven communications, hundreds of "firewall" computer-security firms were created, and a battle continues between them and devious individuals bent on breaking through with time-wasting viruses and spam.

Firewalls have helped protect computers in large companies for years. Now, they're a critical component of home networks, as well.

In computing, a firewall is a piece of hardware and/or software that functions in a networked environment to prevent some communications forbidden by the security policy.

A firewall has the basic task of controlling traffic between different zones of trust. The ultimate goal is to provide controlled connectivity between zones of differing trust levels through the enforcement of a security policy and connectivity model based on the least privilege principle.

In the meantime, protect your computer - along with your personal and professional life - with appropriate filters. A lack of integrity stands to cripple the World Wide Web, perverting positive promise into nightmarish confusion.

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