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Digital disruption: how should we fix the internet?

Ivan Verstyuk
Ivan Verstyuk автор та аналітик
19 грудня 2022 6 хвилин читання

Now, there are a lot of things on internet that go wrong. We have all kinds of cyber crimes conducted online, we have cyber bullying, we have so many vulnerabilities by getting exposed to what we may find and see on the internet. It would be a right thing if we'd start thinking about how we fix this.

Take social media. All of us love social media — whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tubmlr, Buy Me A Coffee or any other platform. But there is sometimes so much hatred on the social media, so much of misunderstanding that getting through this gets harder and harder.

Also, web search. Most of us probably use the Google web search, though several web search engines exist outside the Google ecosystem — that's Yahoo, Bing, Chinese web search engines for those who live in China. Sometimes, I can't find what I need through the web search, though I'm 100% sure it's there. Alrogithms simply can't catch what I need, because there's so much trash on internet that wants to be displayed in search results too.

Let's talk about the solutions

First thing that I don't really like about the current state of internet is the over-use of the so called «SEO technology» (search engine optimization). That's the technology that many websites use to appear in the search results closer to the higher tier or even at the very top of your search. 

It works this way. Websites who do the SEO thing, usually try to create as many URLs as possible. If you have many URLs, thousands of URLs on your website — then Google automatically treats your website as a good one and as a reliable one, giving you green light to appear in the web search results. That's how crappy websites sometimes may win the search competition against good and established web sites — like, maybe, «The New York Review of Books» or even the Patreon.

Russian web sites use the SEO technology a lot. For them, it's needed to attract more views to their propaganda news networks (RBC, RT, etc.). If Gougle would stand up against the abuse of the SEO technology — we'd have a much smarter and much better search engine mechanism in place. And that's the right time when we should get access to such a mechanism.

Then, many websites should just be canceled for they promote chaos and don't contribute to people getting more educated and well informed. I'll give you an example. There's this media & technology company in Ukraine whose name I don't want to name right now. What it does is that it creates these websites that publish «trashy» news from all over the world (like, for example, «A man raped his own cat») — get the clicks and then sell the traffic elsewhere. That's quite a dirty business and should be just canceled. 

Internet needs to be cleaned up in order for it to be able to serve people's needs better. I'd say this: like for driving a car you need a driver's license, maybe in the future you should have this license to access the internet after passing a basic test on cyber security. Sometimes, people are ignorant of all of the cyber security rules and get exposed to all kinds of online risks.

Couple of words need to be said about the so called «cookies technology». I do understand the «cookies» are an instrument for websites and mobile apps to do their commerce and earn money. But I don't think this technology is safe anymore. Russian websites, for instance, may put many toxic things into these «cookies files» and send them to your computer or your phone. 

For instance, Telegram, a social media network, is really heavy about storing all kinds of files on your device. It can easily amass gigabytes of data on your phone, allocating there things that you might not be even aware of. Many young people use Telegram here in Ukraine, minors, who don't know much about «cookies», «cache» and other important things. Basically, that's how your phone may do the mining of bitcoins for somebody that you don't even know about.

Then, mobile apps who track your geolocation and your online activity. Here in Ukraine, those have become really dangerous during the war. All of our soldiers have their phones and sometimes are unaware of what they should do to these apps or how to get rid of this excessive tracking that those apps are doing.

Russia has been using some of the mobile apps for various aggressive purposes — like collecting data about critical infrastructure assets in Ukraine to hit them with missiles; getting access to people's email accounts; etc. For that purposes, Russian aggressive cyber forces use these algorightms that do all the work.

So it's time where we should decide what kinds of algorithms are allowed to perform their tasks on the internet. Nowadays, even a very simple algorithm may do all kinds of things with the big data and artificial intelligence. That's a risk. So, we need something like a Global Cyber Police to keep the internet safe. If that police would find any suspicious activity by any of the algorightms on internet — it could block it right away.

А little afterword

Internet needs to be a much safer place. Those who have children, do realize how important for their kids to stafe safe while surfing the web. And it's important to all of us. Let's clean up the internet. Let's stand up against chaos and all kinds of cyber crimes. This will make the digital world a better place.

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