Techdirt Poll:

Which Internet Concern Worries You The Most?

Network neutrality in danger / 35% / 9,655 votes

Government spying on phone and Internet / 22% / 6,076 votes

Patent stockpiling stifles innovation / 11% / 3,133 votes

DRM restrictions get more draconian / 16% / 4,320 votes

Rampant phishing and spyware / 8% / 2,095 votes

Absolutely nothing. The internet is great! / 9% / 2,369 votes

27,805 total votes

Cast Your Vote In This Poll | Other Polls


Reader Comments (rss)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 16th, 2007 @ 12:46am

    Question worded poorly.

    The question is worded poorly because there is one critical keyword that is easily missed. My feeling is that Net Neutrality, government spying, and even, Unmentioned, Lack Of Real Competition in a private market for what is a natural monopoly (like water or power service) are the top answers for Internet related concerns.

    However, Patent stockpiling, and DRM are more concerns related to innovation/invention and fair use of information, not communication of it. In fact there are two real problems with patents. It's Far too easy to get a patent on something that really is an obvious next, or even current step, and the evaluators aren't even qualified to determine if that is the case. A patent also excludes 'clean' development of the same knowledge at a later date from scratch should someone realise they need such a solution then, or newly enter the market.

    If a patent truly deserves to be patentable, then a real, valid test, is that anyone trying to redevelop it without knowledge of it, would find it more reasonable to licence the patent then try to reproduce the effect.
  2. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jul 10th, 2007 @ 7:35am

    Interesting Results (so far)

    The poll results are interesting in that the responders do not appear to reacting to concerns that actually would "hurt" them. For example, the number one response (at least for now) is government spying. In theory, this is being done to protect society and if one is not doing anything illegal - it should be of no consequence. (Privacy today is virtually non-existent, every time we go in a public place we are now recorded.)

    However, the question "DRM restrictions get more draconian" raises the issue that laws are being passed that take away a consumers rights, criminalize behaviors, and aggrandizes the "rights" of the product producers. The fact that laws are being passed that deprive me of rights and criminalize certain behaviors is much more of a concern than some obscure bored bureaucrat watching me. With the way DRM is going, I could find myself in jail for buying the wrong ink for my printer.
  3. identicon
    Jason, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 2:07am

    Re: Interesting Results (so far)

    Uh, if I go to a bathroom to piss, Steve, I know I'm not going to be recorded. I and a lot of people see the value in privacy and government spying has as much direct affect on people as does DRM - if not worse. Its typical authoritarian bullshit like "you have nothing to worry about if you don't do anything wrong" - letting the government define what's right and wrong simply isn't fair - and some "bureaucrat" watching you can have worse effects than getting ink on your hands. Yeah, at worst your printer will break - its a bit crazy to think someone will send you to jail for spending money. By the way, that is not DIGITAL rights management.
  4. identicon
    Jimmy, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

    Everything about printer ink is related to DRM, Steve is talking about a hypothetical situation of locking down anything you buy so that your choices are removed. By encoding a cartridge, the full force of the DMCA applies to your ink purchase. There ARE provisions for criminal sanctions if you violate these laws currently on the books.

    Link to discussion on slashdot.
  5. identicon
    Ikey Benney, polls, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 5:39am

    Which Internet Concern Worries You The Most?


    Wow, I didn't know what I have been missing until I read the results of your polls.

    But I have not been able to find polls for this year.

    These polls are extremely insightful and useful. Please keep it up.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Ikey Benney
  6. identicon
    Travis, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 4:58pm

    yes and no

    Steve R. i understand your view and agree with it but i have to say that people spying on us is redundant because it's gonna happen regardless because of the patriot act. So even though Steve R. has a point with the DRM Restrictions i think the most important choice on this poll is the hurt to innovations because without innovation we won't be able to get bigger better services or products.
  7. identicon
    maxnort, Sep 6th, 2007 @ 4:59am


    can I choose more than one? ultimately, these can be seen to stem from one issue: big business wants to make a profit from the internet, and keep anyone from using it to stop them.

    let's face it; greedy people have found the internet, and want more. in order for them to have more, they have to be able to make others have less. too bad the internet wasn't designed this way. next, the push will be to scrap the whole thing and start over. actually, I believe the push may already be on.
  8. identicon
    A Learning N00b, Nov 24th, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Response to Anonymous Coward

    The Homeland Security Department recently came under fire amid Bush administration plans to broadly expand the use of satellite imagery to assist in federal, state and local law enforcement.

    Jason's "monitored trips to the bathroom" may suddenly become a reality.

    "If you're going to do cybersecurity, you have to spy on Americans to secure Americans," said a former government official familiar with NSA operations. "It would be a very major step."

    Sound Familiar?

    Terrorists and others already know many of the country's vulnerabilities, Borg said, adding that he is extremely concerned about the ability to hack into computer systems controlling nuclear power plants.

    This is one of the many things that scare me.

    Simulation exercises, such as one dubbed Dark Angel and sponsored by the group Professionals for Cyber Defense, showed in 2003 how a cyberattack could shut down most of the nation's power grid, Saydjari said.

    It's almost 2008...

    Amit Yoran, the Homeland Security Department's first chief of cybersecurity, said in an interview that while the government has made progress, federal efforts have been "somewhat spotty" overall.

    Interpretation: "Americans need to get their sh*t together."

    The new cybersecurity effort aims to build, in part, on an existing NSA program, code-named Turbulence, which has had a troubled start, the senior intelligence official said.

    Our efforts fail once again.
  9. identicon
    Nismoto, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Net neutrality

    "Internet concern".

    Patent stockpiling is bad but not an internet concern in the same sense as the other items listed.

    Net neutrality is the greatest threat to the internet as we know it. The internet has been a liberator and a leveler. Without net neutrality we won't have a voice. We will be extorted and forced to pay for crap we don't want. We will be force-fed misinformation and getting the truth will become harder and harder.
  10. identicon
    james hayes, Mar 28th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    Can we help

    A short story about Eircom.

    It was on the 14 / 03/08 the old modem closed down, it had enough it was tired, worn out, gave up the ghost, if was now a bit of scrap.

    Well we get on the phone; the family had lost an old friend, Eircom help, please…

    The girl answers the phone, hello Eircom here, can I help you. TG, a voice not a computer, so my son tells her the sad story of the modem, he could hear a a a a aw on the other end of the phone as he told her the sad story.

    A new one will be in the post and you will have it at no cost, after all look how long you are with us, he smiled to himself and rang the rest of the family, a new one coming, tears were seen falling as the old modem was disconnected and sent off to be recycled.
    Then we waited, a phone call here and their, a different person with a different answer each time. The pain had started.

    Each day the post man passed the door, even the dog was now upset, he looks forward to having a go at the postman.

    Friday the 28 / 08, I phone Eircom, no it has not been sent out, we all here know that it was an over sight we did not tell you the customer, that girl should not have said that and the other girl should have told you this, but alls well, when we get the 84 euros we will send in out and then all will be happy.

    No I said, when we first told you about this you said no charge, no you want money, and what about all the different stories from the different members of staff in the office, its in the post, you should have by now, we will send it over night.

    So the man asks me to hold on again, just for a minute, he comes back with a number and a story that we will have the thing in the next 5 working days.

    Is their a god, will we get it?
    I don’t know, well not for another 5 working days,.

    James Hayes
  11. identicon
    Craig, Apr 28th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    if one is not doing anything illegal - it should be of no consequence

    When will people stop relying on this so-called argument? It's been shown to be fallacious on multiple levels and pretty much destroys the credibility of any point it's supporting.
  12. identicon
    willanator53, May 14th, 2008 @ 7:15pm


    use it till you can't afford it. he with all the money rules,eh..............
  13. identicon
    Shy, May 21st, 2008 @ 11:36pm

    Grey Zone

    There is a grey zone in behavior... Behavior that one belives is correct, but most call wrong.

    For example: I look up porn. I do not want a goverment beurocrat blackmailing me because he notes that the porn I look up can sometimes be disgusting. This is not entirely my fault: I enjoy 'monster girls' (Slimes, dragon girls, etc.) but sadly such content is often found on the same sites as 'shitting dick nipples' (Really sick shit).

    I don't really want my boss and the people in my neighborhood knowing that, in my FREE TIME AT HOME I look up 'monster girl' porn, and am sometimes on the same sites as 'shitting dick nipple' porn.

    Am I doing something wrong? Absolutely not. I am unmarried, have no girlfriends at this moment, and what I do at home, in my bedroom, is my own business. Do I have anything to fear? Absolutly so. I have blackmail and public ridicule to fear. I have 'morality police' who are less concerned with actual morality (As in right and wrong) and more concerned with so called 'purity' to fear.

    Goverment spying? That scares me, because I doubt they will use it well. And I bet a lot of you have similar things you do that the so called 'majority of the loud people' disagree with. And you would get fired TOO if your boss found out that you surfed, say, bukake pics, or bondage, or shemales, or femdom, or messy sex, or long cocks or large insertions. Just as much trouble as me with my monster girls.

    So I did nothing wrong. But holy fuck do I have plenty to be afraid of.

    "Those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear" is a blatant falsehood.
  14. identicon
    Shy, May 21st, 2008 @ 11:39pm

    Please don't track my IP address.... I like my anonymity...
  15. identicon
    hegemon13, Jul 8th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    My vote wasn't on the list, so I picked DRM, which is the closest.

    I am most concerned about private industry, namely the entertainment industry, being granted powers akin to a monarchy. What other industry gets to completely bypass due process, place burden of proof on the defendant, and be authorized to use otherwise illegal methods of extortion to squeeze money out of the general public?

    How is this an internet concern? Because incorrect IP information drawn by the RIAA could bankrupt me and my family, whether I do anything illegal or not.
  16. identicon
    Jesse Anderson Jjesse285, Jul 12th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Internet Concern

    Fear is the key, if you don't do no wrong then you are alright, it the one's with the evil idea's that worry most of us.
  17. identicon
    stephanie, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    I want two says

    I wanted to vote for neutrality and government spying...but oh well
  18. icon
    Jon (profile), Oct 30th, 2008 @ 7:32am


    It would be interesting to see the trending of the votes over time. It could show how people view issues in response to social, political, legal, and economic events.
  19. identicon
    Mike D, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    typical pro-piracy bullshit

    My main concern is piracy and kis growing yup thinking they have the right to take others work for free, but I see this isnt even a fucking option.
    Instead we get "oh noes teh DRM is teh evil!!!!!1111"
    Give me a fucking break and open your wallet for a change you freeloaders.
  20. identicon
    Catharina, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 2:46am


    The Free Software Foundation is fighting against/for most of these issues. You can support them at
  21. identicon
    Aaron Toponce, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:58pm


    I voted for Net Neutrality, but that's what I'm concerned about for the future. Right now, I really don't have qualms with the Internet nor it's culture.

    * Patent nuclear war is what keeps the patent problem at bay.
    * Government spying always seems to hit the headlines, but it's either overblown or private agencies, like the EFF are on it quickly.
    * DRM is seeing its last days, as it pisses off more and more legitimate consumers. Lastly,
    * Phishing will always be a concern for the stupid and malware is less of an issue as browsers become more and more secure.

    So, really, Net Neutrality is my only concern, because I fear the ISPs running the Internet more than any governing body or potential "threat".
  22. identicon
    Individual1, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Internet Concern or Public Policy Concern

    Your poll responses are reading more like the latter - as if it's a question about public policy. My concern about the Internet is phishing and spyware (the ID theft problems), hacking (apparently it is good sport now to hack blogs like this one - fun, eh.) and spam, which congests networks and eats up my email time hitting delete. Yes, technology is getting better (I am impressed every day with how well spam filters are working; but I am also annoyed at how frequent the security updates show up on my virtual doorstep). But nothing on your list screws up one's Internet experience more than the illegal or uncivil behavior. As to public policy - they are all a worry, the slow erosion of our privacy is top of my list - sometimes I think we are all that little frog in the soon-to-be-boiling water.
  23. icon
    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:36pm

    Network Neutrality and

    Nismoto wrote:
    Net neutrality is the greatest threat to the internet as we know it. The internet has been a liberator and a leveler. Without net neutrality we won't have a voice. We will be extorted and forced to pay for crap we don't want. We will be force-fed misinformation and getting the truth will become harder and harder.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Canada we have carriers who are also ISPs and Indie ISPs who are not carriers.

    Our regulatory body the CRTC has been allowing our carriers far too much power. First they were given permission to "throttle" not just their own customers but those of the Independent ISPs, but now they have been given permission to charge "Usage Based Billing" to the customers of the Independent ISPs as well.

    Our Independents have committed the crime of being successfully competitive, offering far better deals than any of the carrier/ISP were willing to give their own customers. It's especially galling when you factor in the fact that more than three quarters of what the Indie ISPs collect goes to pay the carrier for the dsl service.

    With this usage based billing scheme our prices will go through the roof but it will likely also have the side effect of killing off the competition.

    Both the throttling and the UBB are achieved through Deep Packet Inspection, which gives the carrier access to all of the content crossing their stretch of the internet.

    Not only does all this mean that we haven't a hope in hell of getting net neutrality, I find the idea that a soulless corporation can paw through my packets to be far more invasive than traffic cams. At least governments have to pretend its for our own good.

    Even scarier is that all this is being done without a peep from the major Canadian media, so most Canadians have no idea how royally we are going to get it.

    Spreading the word seems to be the best way to bring the issue out in the open.

    I've started a public service blog to try to raise awareness but even better is the site to: because it gives people something concrete to do. They have said that when it reaches 10,000 names it will be presented to the government. So maybe things will change.

    Anyway, if you're not Canadian passing the info along to Canadian friends could help.
  24. identicon
    John, Oct 17th, 2009 @ 11:13am


    I didn't vote in this poll, because I couldn't make up my mind.

    Only one of these options (prevalence of phishing and spyware) is about the internet. The rest are about law and government. I vote for the latter collectively. Those are the dangerous ones.

    Three of these issues (DRM, patent trolls, threats to network neutrality) arise because of government support for large corporations.
    > In the current political climate in the United States laws can be passed without public debate. DRM is such a law. There was no public clamor for this law. It just happened one day. It was foisted on the public.
    > Corporations are after money. They have no interest in good government for all the people. What they want from government is a safe business environment and a perpetual license to operate with a free hand. They want to own all intellectual capital. They want copyrights that never expire.
    > The United States government was established to guarantee the rights and safety of all the people. To the extent that the government caters primarily to corporations, it is neglecting its duty.

    The American Revolution was fought over exactly those sorts of issues. In the newly formed republic corporations were chartered by the several states and were required to operate in the public interest. Our founding fathers set things up that way, because they were wary of corporations. That wariness grew out of their own bitter experience.

    I fear that succeeding generations of Americans will be obliged to relive that bitter experience, because our current generation of leaders appears to have forgotten the lessons of history.

    The last item, wholesale government spying, is an aberration. It came about in the febrile aftermath of 9/11, and it never went away. When I read Orwell's 1984 in school, I thought it was only a lesson in English literature. Now we have Big Brother for real.

    I can't imagine a state of affairs more corrosive to a democracy. The American government is supposed to represent us, "We, the People". We should have no need to spy on ourselves. Most people I hear today speak of our government as Them, meaning the bureaucrats, plutocrats and oligarchs. When did this happen? When did we come to feel that there was nothing to be done about it?
  25. icon
    Mitch D (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 5:17pm

    needed more options

    Sorry but i kinda think this is poised in a loaded question manner.

    for me i am concerned about alot of these issues

    1- Net Neutrality, but only in LEGAL methods, not because i believe anyone has a right to steal music, movies and other programming over the net. I think anything that protects ILLEGAL behavior like that is bull$hit.

    2- Government intrusion into peoples private life and what they do on their own computers, emails and such. that said i believe certain protections and government investigation is needed. ie to protect against kiddie porn and crap like that.

    3- Phishing and Spyware, are huge problems. for trojans and other such things to take over your computer because you visited a website? just crazy and needs to be protected against.

    but for all of this to be used by so many of you to be anti-artist, anti-copyright, anti-filmmaker, anti-software developer?

    cmon, when i hear someone like john, post 25, actually have the audacity to believe that people don't like to earn money and that people don't have a right to earn a living is ridiculous. Sorry, yes i agree with alot of artists that these arguments in support of piracy are crazy.

    all arguments that support allowing p2p and stealing of content actually do more to threaten the future of creativity than anything else.

    but as for big brother and spying on citizen's... i aint for that. well except to stop people from breaking the law. especially in the case of piracy and kiddie porn.

    but of course even these threats need to have supervision and make sure the watchdogs are watched.
  26. icon
    DJ (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    Let's see...

    what worries me most? Of THOSE choices, I voted about the patents. Why? Well let me examine the others, in no particular order.

    For starters, the internet is NOT great just the way it is. There are too many areas into which too many governments have stuck their grubby fat fingers, and now it's hard to know what's legal where. Solutions anyone? Cuz I doubt there are any solutions short of what happens at the end of "Escape from L.A.", and that's not exactly a "solution".

    Rampant phishing and spyware. Well, if you fall victim to either of those (and I have), I have one thing to say to you: pay attention to what the hell you're doing when you're clicking around the net! Unless you're a hacker, yourself, you're not going to catch these guys.

    Government spying on phone and internet. Well, what I CAN say is that I'm in the military and I work closely with the intel community. There are a BAZILLION regulations that keep us from "collecting" on U.S. citizens; yes, even the dreaded Patriot Act has limitations.

    I would probably be more concerned with the DRM restrictions if anyone, anywhere would ever actually say what the hell that is. I'm admittedly not a super-guru when it comes to these things, but I've looked. EVERYTHING I've been able to find talks about DRM without actually defining it. Which basically means that since I'm obviously not "in the loop", then it doesn't apply to me so I don't care.

    And finally I get to Net Neutrality being in danger.
    I know I just slapped some of you in the face with a sledge hammer, so at least allow me to lay out my argument. Net neutrality, at least in the US, is just one more way that the government is trying to stifle capitalism, by making it ILLEGAL for ISP's to make a profit of any kind. Now, is there currently a problem with the way ISPs do business? In a lot of areas, yes. But legislation isn't the way to deal with those problems; actions like boycotts, however, ARE the way. If companies don't have customers, they don't make money. If they don't make money, they go bye-bye, and, as long as "Big Brother" doesn't have his grubby fingers in the pot, a better company will step in and fill that gap.

    Primary point to all this rambling is two-fold:
    1) stop blaming the government for YOUR failings
    2) stop expecting the government to step in on your behalf, because they'll only step in on THEIR OWN behalf.
  27. icon
    bugmenot (profile), Nov 9th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    private companies spying and illegally intercepting your dataflow

    you really should have ask for questions first to get the far better picture.

    you missed private companies spying and illegally intercepting your dataflow, stealing your data to collate and build private 'derivative works' CRA and other databases without your consent,knowledge, or payments etc.

    such as DPI data collection for commercial profit, 'commercial piracy' by any other name.
  28. identicon
    Matthew, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Isn't it about time for a new poll?

    This one has been up for quite a while now.
  29. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 19th, 2010 @ 7:27pm

    You need to do the question over ....

    Next time do the poll in such a way that people can state in which order these things concern you. you would get better results. Out of five questions weight them as #1 5 points, #2 4 points, ... etc ..., #5 1 point.

    Plus add the ability to add questions for the next poll. I would have added ACTA.
  30. icon
    Auclair-Dubois (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 9:16pm


    By chance now internet is still a neutral source of information, because we all have the power to inform ourselves correctly. That is possible because industries have not yet plant their jaws in this world, and that's what i'm affraid of.
    We need at least one real world of freedom!
  31. icon
    Overcast (profile), Feb 9th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Yeah - some of these, really go hand in hand - in the end, government nosing around is the biggest worry.

    And one could say, "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about."

    But my answer to that is, "If we aren't doing anything wrong, why should the government worry about it?"

    Going back to the simplistic concept of 'innocent until proven guilty'.
  32. identicon
    murugan, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 1:07am


    i wand ps2 game console convert harddisk-technical guide but netpage password,creitaccount give,but i havenot creitcart where i get download
  33. identicon
    James Shuford, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:32am


    Oddly enough laws don't really matter...when governments want to do something that may be illegal or otherwise questionable they merely work with private companies/corporations that aren't bound by the same oversights or regulations.

    An individuals rights and protections are merely avenues of convenience! When you live within a facade' don't blame whose who told you so when you suddenly wake-up and find yourself imprisoned by your-own so-called "freedoms"!
  34. identicon
    James Shuford, Apr 13th, 2010 @ 9:33am


    Oddly enough laws don't really matter...when governments want to do something that may be illegal or otherwise questionable they merely work with private companies/corporations that aren't bound by the same oversights or regulations.

    An individuals rights and protections are merely avenues of convenience! When you live within a facade' don't blame whose who told you so when you suddenly wake-up and find yourself imprisoned by your-own so-called "freedoms"!
  35. icon
    crade (profile), Apr 14th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    I don't mind cameras when I am in public, but I like to walk around naked in my own home, and I would prefer if I had some privacy there.

    However, it's not so much the government spying I would worry about as those who will piggyback on government spying that I would worry about.. This probably includes hackers, advertisers, the RIAA, etc.

    That said, I voted for DRM. Definately worse.
  36. identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    @Mike D

    You're such a fool. I buy CDs and other media. See, you're one of those ignorant people who think that such things will not hinder the progress of society. Sorry, but it will. It will hinder, and destroy our ways of living, making a living, and supporting ourselves. We'll be forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money for something that should cost pennies. Stop fooling yourself Mike D and all you other morons out there who think that this is a game. Open your eyes and read what the professionals (in law and social sciences) have to say. They're not a bunch of pirates, and I'll be damned if I ever was.
  37. identicon
    bob, May 9th, 2010 @ 9:50pm

    Free Press

    Robert McChesney Former editor of Monthly Review (openly Marxist)
    Founder Free Press

    His Words:

    "Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to be necessarily part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself."

    "Also there is no real answer, but to remove brick by brick, the capitalist society on socialist principles."

    "We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it"

    What I have to say:
    Political speech is that which we citizens of the United States of America hold most dear.
    If a person believes in Liberty and or the ideas of the libertarian than any regulation of speech is by it's very nature anathema.
    Political speech is that which we citizens of the United States of America hold most dear.
    The freedom to say what you believe in is the most cherished right that we have and should never be abridged.
  38. icon
    Overtkill (profile), May 11th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Good Poll!

    Great poll! There should be an option to allow for multiples. :)

    I believe the top 5 are all valid points! Restrictions, rules, laws, and patent hoarding are clogging and restricting our rights every day. Corporations, governments, and organizations aren't happy until they fully control everything in the name of the all mighty dollar.

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