Wednesday 15 March 2006

Accessing The Global Village Of Internet

Earlier this month the city of Toronto in Canada announced a plan to implement citywide wireless hotspot access to the internet. The plan would use radio access transmitting points mounted on street lamps to provide of a blanket of WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) coverage throughout the city to the public. The service would be run by a municipal-industry partnership between the city and Toronto Hydro. Such an initiative is similar to those already introduced in several other cities in North America, including San Francisco and Philadelphia. If successful, this framework will bring Toronto one step closer to the true vision of the Global Village put forth by Marshall McLuhan in 1961. Yet, while the ideal of a Global Village has been thoroughly debated to date, the practice to which this vision should be carried out has not been properly eluded. This is because any mass exposure of new technology is prone to be abused by a few individuals attempting to take advantage of the innocent public who is less familiar with such technology. For an electronic medium such as the internet, policing against such frauds and abuses on a global scale may not likely be possible. Without due diligence to implement measures ahead that will protect the public, I am afraid that this Global Village can easily be poisoned and all of us who live in it will pay an unwanted price for a technology that we still do not fully understand.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Tech • Under World
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