In today’s world, we see that Internet crime is one of the leading types of crimes occurring in the United States. There have been several national cases of cyber bullying, most notably the story of nearby South Hadley student Phoebe Prince, who committed suicide after she was bullied via social media sites. And on another spectra, we are constantly seeing data breaches where large companies like Home Depot, TJ X Companies, and Target have all had incidents where there customer’s credit card numbers had been stolen. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, there was a steady increase in Internet crime complaints from 2000 to 2009, where the number started off at nearly 17,000 complaints in 2000 to more than 336,000 when it reached its peak in 2009. Until 2013, the complaints had remained steady with the amount of case numbers ranging on each side of the 300,000 per year.
One argument that can be suggested for such a high number is the fact that the Internet is so new that there are simply not laws in place to fit the scenario or to punish those who are committing such acts, and it forces lawmakers to create new laws in order to keep up with the times. Lawmakers have to use these first initial cases of cyber crimes that have occurred as a model to prevent the same crimes from happening in the future.
In the article we read this week, we learn how a Belgium bibliographer named Paul Oblet nearly invented cyberspace in the 1930’s, and was close to creating a device “that could send and receive text, display photographs, transcribe speech and auto-translate between languages.” Essentially, had all his work been destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, we would have had the social networks like we have today back in the 1950s, and life would have been much different because of the way we see how the Internet has shaped our life.
With that, I pose the question of whether we would still be experiencing all the issues that we see today with internet (the bullying, the data breaches, and scams) had cyberspace actually been invented more than 60 years ago with Mr. Oblet. If we had more than 60 years worth of time to prevent the problems and create laws that prevented them, would they be completely gone? Or would we just be seeing other forms of cyber crime that are a result of other inventions in the past few years.
In addition, how would everyday life be different had cyberspace been created and implemented by Paul Oblet. Could future wars have been prevented or other tragedies be stopped, had we had a better way to communicate with people around the world. Or would it still be the same?
Just a thought I had and wondering if anyone else had similar thoughts or a response…