Is the Net Doomed?

The Big Net Cleanup: Experts Weigh In

Illustration by Stuart Bradford.
Illustration: Stuart Bradford
There are lots of things that could be done to make the Internet more secure, but most of them would destroy much of its intellectual, commercial, and entertainment value. One key point here is that the starting point of achievable security should be a fair deal. Durable security should enhance rather than diminish the power of individual network users.

Whitfield Diffie, chief security officer, Sun Microsystems, and public-key cryptography pioneer

Developers need to stop expecting users to police themselves, and take responsibility for the users' safety.

Blake Ross, cocreator of the Mozilla Firefox browser

The security community needs to provide information and incentive to change behavior. This means education for users, developers, and organizations doing business on the Internet; attribution and penalties for criminal activities; and accountability for unsafe software, unprotected systems, and insecure handling of sensitive information.

Art Manion, Internet security analyst, US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team)

Since a world where everyone is good and understanding is still in a future far, far away, I would vote for giving legislative and judiciary personnel a proper education, or at least introduction into the online world.

Patrick M. Kolla, creator of Spybot Search & Destroy

The single most important thing is to educate end users. But then you have to ask, who should educate them? I think it is the vendors' job, and it is in vendors' interest for the Net to be--and to be thought of as--useful, fun, and secure. The challenge is how to make the education interesting and intelligible, rather than boring and scary. Vendors also need to provide effective tools for users to protect themselves, since security is as much about knowing whom to trust as it is about technology.

Esther Dyson, writer-editor of CNet Networks' Release 1.0, a newsletter about emerging digital technology

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Journalist and science fiction writer Bruce Sterling is the author of The Hacker Crackdown and numerous novels and short stories.

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