Should We License Internet Use?

from the of-course-not dept

As colleges are starting to force their students to take special computer literacy classes before they can get an online account – and fining them for doing things like spreading viruses, some are wondering if we shouldn’t do similar things for the wider population and require an “internet license” before you can go online. The idea is that you would learn all the things you shouldn’t do (don’t click on attachments you don’t know, don’t respond to spam, etc.) and then make you pass a test. This is, of course, a silly suggestion. Unlike with driving, what makes sense a today may not make any sense a year from now. Besides, most people on the roads today have drivers licenses – and yet they still do incredibly stupid things they were clearly told not to do when they got the license.

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Comments on “Should We License Internet Use?”

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Dr. Evil (user link) says:

No Subject Given

I want the very first job at the Department Of Registered Computer Specialists (D.O.R.C.S) … I’ll revel in making each computer illiterate take a tab and wait in a hideously long line just like at the DMV. Then I want to act like the computer nerd right out of Mad TV’s ” Your Computer Guy ” and humiliate people who can’t find the start button. If I relent and give them their license in order to use the internet I’ll make sure its encoded with GPS technology and a detonator so I can can track and eliminate people that become my Nemesis on the road … ( clasping hands together Dr. Evilly … pinky enters mouth )

Tony Lawrence (user link) says:

Seat belt law for the internet

I’ve been batting an idea around my site for a while now. Details at
but the basic idea is like seatbelt laws: if you get caught for some other eason and aren’t wearing it, you get an extra fine.

What “catches” you? Evidence that your machine is infected by a virus. If you are up to date (using an approved os version with proper patches and virus or firewall protection), no problem. Otherwise, you are fined, maybe even your machine confiscated or barred from the internet.

Enforcement would be spotty, but just like seat belt laws, proably pretty effective.

mark says:

Philosophically, I'm all for fewer idiots...

but when it comes down to it, economics and broader political implications win. I can’t see our already slumping IT sector getting behind the idea that we should put up more barriers to entry.

Oh wait, I see the lines already forming for the Microsoft Certified Users License and DRM registration because what people really need is Gates and Ashkroft’s blessing before they go pay to look at offically sanctioned content

LittleW0lf says:

Internet License...

I’m all for a childbirth license, and would want that before we have an internet license. To think that all people need to do to have a baby is have sex, and then they are ready for bringing a child into the world has always been amazing to me. At the very least, people should show proof of financial responsibility and take a test on the finer points of raising a child.

Then we can worry about an internet license, since more people die or are killed by the very fact of being born (100% rate) compared to being killed while surfing the internet (0.0000001%, and Joe was killed by a massive brain embalism while browsing Pr0n.)

aNonMooseCowherd says:

the wrong model

A much better model is the way diseases are treated. If your computer is distributing a virus/worm/whatever, then it should be quarantined, i.e. not allowed to connect to any network (except an internal network, such as in a home). Once people started getting hit by this, it might be enough of an incentive to make them actually think about running something other than Microsoft’s bugware.

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