Sunday, August 12, 2001

On Regulating the Internet

For internet junkies, freedom in the internet is the "in" thing to say. The internet is the haven for freedom-loving individuals. That's why internet regulation is out of the question. We used to subscribe to this position until something happened to us recently.

We installed a new set of speakers from Polkaudio courtesy of our doctor cousin. She managed to survive the dotcom crash in New York. Now, she's so liquid that she can afford to send each one of her cousins their dream gadgets. For this reason, we were privileged to install one of Polkaudio's famous AMR Series. We tested it immediately by pointing our browsers to We clicked on one of the big band links and voila -- just a few bars of digital music streaming to our speakers and we know our music experience will never be the same. We have a full component in our hands, crisp sound, full bass, power enough to rock the house. You can hear every snap, every syllable. every note. In addition, our cable connection has opened us to the vast resource of music available for downloading. We can now listen to a world of music.

We decided to find out what other mp3 sites are offering by going to google. We typed mp3 and hit the search button. The first link is of course But we know that so we went further. We found mp3 portals linking us to other mp3 sites. We checked the links whenever they said they offered free downloads. A window popped-out once in a while with a flashing banner. We closed the unnecessary window and continued searching. No problem. Then, the windows started popping more often than we can close them. Three. Four. Five. Six. SEVEN. All at the same time. Then a message popped out asking if we want to install this gadget to our hard disk. 'Goodness, if we didn't have presence of mind, we would have clicked the default button which said yes. We clicked cancel. Then the thing popped out again asking the same question. We hit cancel. Then we noticed that instead of mp3 sites we were now navigating porn sites. The windows came popping again with more porn sites. Three. Four. Five. Sic. Sevem. Eight. NINE. Naked girls in all sorts of positions. What's happening? Then, the explorer crashed. We took a deep breathe, shook our heads and attempted to reboot. After rebooting, we decided to continue the search and voila -- our homepage is now a porn site! It's like a death sentence -- what if our wife saw this? We quickly changed the default and asked how the sites managed to do this to our browser.

The experience is like getting into no man's land and finding oneself being shot by snipers left and right. We manage to ignore and parry the volleys but sooner or later a dead shot hit us. There are many other unfair practices being done in the net but this one really irked us. Popping windows are tolerable but altering browser settings is where we draw the line. We are all for freedom on the internet but we cannot accept this intrusion into our privacy. The browser is like our eyes. It's alright if sites did everything to grab our attention. They can pop all they want but they should not touch our settings. It's like a worm. It's icky. Now we understand why people want to regulate the internet. We have shifted allegiance. We believe that there ought to be a law...

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