Thursday, 7 August 2008

The All mighty Internet


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Internet has changed the way we live beyond recognition. Internet is a great boon for families with friends and relatives staying far away or abroad. No longer have you to depend on snail-mail or phones for enquiring welfare, there are the friendly to use emails and chat messengers. Family functions videos can be uploaded in sites which have such facilities. Transfer of money from abroad takes place at the snap of a finger.

Email has touched even the most obdurate Government Departments. I was surprised to find that I could get a response from the Indian Railways on a complaint about corruption in their Department. In the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly elections, I could get precise information about my name in the voter list. It is more reliable to scan and send a signed letter through email, than by fax or post. Many of the institutions conduct their exams online to avoid paper leaks and to give quick results. Exam results are available online to avoid anxiety for students and parents alike. Filling of tax returns online should be mandatory to avoid wastage of paper.

Access to information has become very easy with internet. I still remember the struggle I had to undertake for collecting information for a school/college assignment/essay/debate. Today all that you require to know is how to use a search engine. Students can download model question papers for exams. Tourist information, recipes, pictures, economic data, sporting statistics, movie gossips, etc is available at the click of a mouse. Booking an airline ticket, hotel rooms, movie ticket, paying utility bills can be done without moving an inch.

Trading of shares online is a great boon for the small investors. Gone are the days when you had to linger behind the sub-brokers for buying a share and waiting months for its transfer. E-shopping is yet to catch up in India mainly because of lack of trust on the customer’s part about the quality and also lack of variety in the products offered. E-shopping will never be safe because the hackers will be always ahead of the system. If we refrain from e-shopping on this account, we should also refrain from using our debit and credit cards. It was recently reported that in the US, hackers stole customer data from major shops through their laptops. Their modus operandi was simple, sit in a car with a laptop and trap all credit/debit card transactions and download vital data. They have used this data to defraud many innocent shoppers.

The best contribution of Internet is getting the world together. You can communicate your opinions to a wider number of people. You can post a video in Youtube on deforestation in your place and get global attention for it. Recently, I could clear an encroachment of public property because I told the concerned authorities that if they don’t clear the same, the images of the same will be posted in the internet with their names. Blogs are such a boon for professional and amateur writers alike. Articles/Poems without the required finesse can be shared, appreciated, criticized and understood thanks to the internet. I could associate with a NGO viz., Leadcap thanks to Orkut.

Internet is being misused like any other invention. Internet per se is not bad. Internet in future could give us alerts if our dear and near ones are in trouble. Internet should be enabled to prevent corruption and bring governance to our doorsteps. Internet should be able to educate the literate on civic sense and penalize them when they err. Shopping in internet should be made secure through genetic signatures. There are many a dreams for internet but it will find its own way. After all nobody guessed it to dominate our lives the way it did. The next generation Hotmail, Google or Blogspot may be germinating in some mind or system in the World Wide Web. Like the almighty, it is omni potent and omni present.

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