She is the editor and publisher of the widely respected computer newsletter Release 1. 0. She served as a reporter for Forbes Magazine for four years and is a chairperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She is on the board of the Sante Fe Institute and the Global Business network and the Institute for East/West Studies. Dyson’s view on cyberspace regulations is that government regulations are counter productive and virtually impossible. I agree with her in that cyberspace is a new frontier of learning that cannot single handedly be controlled by the U. S. government.
Our society needs to implement our own powers of individual responsibility in this wonderful, enlightening, yet sometimes detrimental intellectual frontier. Dyson compares how cyberspace is virtually the same as real estate. She states that “ you could think of cyberspace as a giant and unbounded world of virtual real estate”(420). The key words in her observation are the words that Americans have a deep love for in their genes and psyche: an unbounded world. That’s what cyberspace is. It is even bigger than that; it is an unbounded new frontier! And we can explore this unbounded new frontier from any comfort that suits us.
Cyberspace is like any really great book one can go any where he or she wants to go, be whomever he or she wants to be, learn whatever he or she cares to learn about, and be fascinated beyond one’s limits of imagination, all from the comfort of an old, beloved, beat-up, Lazy Boy recliner! One can explore every interest, curiosity, desire to learn about unknown people, places, things, with the touch of his or her fingers. However, with all new frontiers there are dangers and drawbacks. Referencing Dyson’s analogy to cyberspace and real estate, some places, such as parks, are made for everyone’s enjoyment.
Some real estate areas are made for home residences. Some for business enterprises that everyone can enjoy. And then there are some real estate areas that are not appropriate for children. Cyberspace is no different in this way than real estate , books, pictures, magazines, or people and the things they say and do. Some web-sites are set up for children and are wonderful educational tools to help them expand their minds, imaginations, hearts and souls. Some web-sites help educate people and improve their lives in ways that they could never afford the money or the travel time otherwise.
Some web-sites allow us to learn ways that we can help others through donated dollars, kind words, material possessions, etc. Then there are places in cyberspace that represent the darker side of humanity just as in the places, books, people, deeds, in the terrestrial world. This dark side of humanity is what we all want to protect our children from. But how? The use of censorship in the United States of America is unconstitutional and the government censoring of cyberspace should never happen. Cyberspace is a place where a person has the freedom to choose where they want to go and what information they want to access.
In America, it is unconstitutional to ban books because of offensive content. Our citizens will just choose not to read the book. However there are those who want to censor cyberspace because of some of the offensive sites. There have been many reform bills proposed by lawmakers in the U. S. Senate and House that have tried to protect children from cyberspace. Cyberspace is a new frontier for every being on our earth. Some countries will censor the cyber world just as they censor their own citizens and their choices. However, people in America do not tolerate censorship.
They understand the concept of personal responsibility. Where a person chooses to go in cyberspace is his/her own destination. Ultimately in all aspects of life, we are free to choose our destinations; with the books we choose to read, the lessons we choose to grasp, and the cyber sites we choose to visit. Dyson states that “Cyberspace isn’t a frontier where wicked people can grab unsuspecting children, nor is it a giant television system that can beam offensive messages at unwilling viewers”(420). We must protect cyberspace from censorship just as fervently as we protect free speech.
Cyberspace will ultimately rule itself just as any free enterprise system must do in order to be successful. Some sites offer free information that is available to anyone. If the information is interesting to an individual and is valid, then the site will probably be successful and attract many viewers. However, if a site is full of offensive material that is inappropriate to children, it is up to the server to restrict the viewers. There are moderators in the cyberspace world who monitor web-sites, as well as the information presented.
Cyber communities exist just as actual communities do. There are communities of family and children oriented web-sites, of young singles oriented web-sites, and there are communities of porn oriented web-sites. The success of each site depends on how it conducts itself: self-rule. “In the near future, explorers in cyberspace will need to get better at defining and identifying their communities. They will need to put in place-and accept-their own local government, just as the owners of expensive real estate often prefer to have their own security guards rather than call in the police”(422).
In conclusion, I agree with Dyson that cyberspace must be controlled, but not by government. Ultimately parents, cyberspace servers, sites, communities, and individuals must regulate this new universe of information. Just as with any successful business in our free enterprise system, supply and demand will dictate whether a cyber site will be a success. Individuals must have total freedom in cyberspace to choose where they want to go and with that freedom comes personal responsibility. Americans value freedom; it is the value that built our great country.