A Driving Licence for the Information Super Highway

When you speak with a car owner (any car owner); they will know the marque and model they own, the engine capacity, whether it is diesel or petrol. They may probably know what mpg they are achieving.

However speak with any computer user and ignorance reigns. If they have a problem with something on the internet and you ask what browser they use – the answer will probably be a blank look.

I recall a while back a lady whom I knew having overheard a conversation I was having asked: “Should I change my email address?” I enquired “Are you getting a lot of Spam?”, her response “Why – should I be?”UKSampleLicence

You need to take lessons and pass a test in order to drive a car on the highway; yet anyone can go on the Information Super Highway without any understanding of how it works.

  • They will the people who click on pop-up boxes saying that their PC is infected, and if it wasn’t it now will be!
  • They are the ones who forward chain emails with dire warnings or heart-warming stories to everyone, without bothering to check their veracity. Thus your email address gets spread round the computers of his/her friends; and sits of the hard disc of a PC belonging to Gladys whom you have heard of!
  • They will be the ones who let their teenage offspring or grandchildren – “who really know t’internet” – download and install some ‘cool piece of software’
  • These will be the people with compromised PCs churning out spam and other dross to their friends and colleagues.

If they were the only ones affected I wouldn’t worry. BUT just as inexperienced drivers are a hazard to other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians; so these ‘weekend’ surfers are a liability to all of us. The bulk of spam is sent out by robots networks (bot-nets) of infected/compromised PCs. Whilst all of us can fall-four of malicious programs, the ones most in danger are the less aware, the less cautious.

If only we could have a licence, so that people were trained to watch out for hazards, and tested on that; before they were let loose on the internet. We need to get rid of some of the basic ignorance about IT

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