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SOPAthetic SOPA vs The Internet

This was merely a proposal, which possessed harmful potential. Too good it was brought to notice on time. Too bad it was slaughtered badly!
“What else can you expect from the same bunch of idiots who officially recognized pizza as a vegetable?” a glimpse of many hilarious quotes by the internet-surfers that were directed against SOPA.

Before I discuss the topic, let me first give you all a brief description on what really the fuss was all about.

SOPA or, Stop Online Piracy Act, which was put before the US House of Representatives. by the Republicans, asked for putting tabs on internet sharing and proposed a strong oppression for those who violated copyright laws. Needless to say, the world witnessed an absolute virtual revolution and consequently, it could not be passed. Perhaps, the biggest reason would be that the Congressman Lamar Smith who authored SOPA, pulled it off after a humiliating development of events proved that the Father himself violated the terms of his brainchild!(Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of did some digging to find out if Lamar Smith has been honest when it comes to copyrights.According to Taete, Smith violated a copyright by using a photograph on his website without crediting the photographer. This is the background photo Smith had on his website.)
So Pathetic was SOPA (one of the gazillion phrases coined for the bill) that, the Internet Giants saw the threat coming, and stood against it, in unison. For the first time, all of them-Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Cragslist,and countless others. took a stand, opposing the bill openly.
Phrases like: “Stop Piracy, Not Liberty”, “The problem for the content industry is they just don’t know how to mobilize people”,”SOPA and PIPA Would Create a Consumption-Only Internet” spread the internet like Greek fire, and info-graphic sites like mashable, techcrunch posted quite a many interesting statistics which proved why SOPA won’t end piracy. Here are a few points I would like to share:
-the language and implications of SOPA has the potential to hurt the very industries and content creators the bills purport to protect.
-The backers of SOPA and PIPA believe that forcing ISPs, search engines, web hosts and users to take responsibility for infringing behavior will put a stop to the infringement. This is short-sighted and misguided-— there is a large underground business that profits off of copyright infringement and digital piracy. For the most part, however, that business is not online. In parts of Asia, such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, it’s a chore to find content for sale that is not pirated. Perfect digital copies of movies, television shows, music and software are for sale in packaging that looks and feels as if it were authentic.
-That industry will not disappear because of SOPA. The groups that source and distribute content will not be affected because they are technically savvy enough to get around restrictions. Finding a web host in another country and using a VPN service to tunnel to a different server is a trivial task.
-the countries where the bulk of the actual profit from piracy takes place will have little incentive to enforce a U.S. law. Just look at the situation involving the now-defunct — a site that sold DRM-free music to users in the U.S. and other parts of the world for $0.10 a track under a Russian copyright loophole.The site was eventually shut down, thanks to pressure from the Bush administration and payment companies. But Russian courts ruled the site was not guilty of infringement in that country.

Wikipedia and Craigslist supported the protests by staging blackouts for 24 hrs.- and this actually resulted in an array of internet memes making fun of students, and professors etc. , who are involved with the usage of the biggest available encyclopedia on earth. Many web-surfers did not know the full form of SOPA, some even confused it with SOAP, some made fun out of it by linking it to the Spanish word sopa, meaning soup.

But all these actually proved one thing- internet users can be very active-whether they are well-informed or not-but they can ensure that what needs to be done, gets done.
Talking about the internet unity, I would state:

We users, don’t know each other well, we fight with each other most of the time, we crib about our lives-our relationships, our work-schedules etc. We drool together whenever we are reminded of our childhood-through cartoons, books etc. We end up being sarcastic with our comments, but we also end up caring for each other. That thin string, which connects us, is very strong- ask for a solution to your problem, you will get multiple of them.  Ask for any recommendation-you will get the best ones possible. Ask for some ideas-you will not be spared before you are loaded with thousands of them.
So this is what internet is all about. And when we talk about freedom, we are not only implying that we be allowed to use the internet the way we want. We want that the walls between us, which are so brittle by now, don’t get reinforced. This connectivity between people around the globe, is only adding to the social development of an individual-people are more comfortable now, when they interact with strangers, in the real world.

So as we successfully convey our message to those who wanted to end this freedom, I would like to conclude, with these lines  by an anonymous user:

“You can mess with our social interactions,steal our money,make our health care and educational systems ridiculously lame, we will do nothing..but don’t you dare…mess with the internet.”


Sex education- the need of the hour!!

The other day when I was trying to clear my messed up book-shelve (wondering how I manage to keep so many books under one roof?). Lost in the cleaning process, it was when my younger sister, 14 years old, came up to me to ask her endless questions that she wanted to discuss with me. Left with no other option, I dumped all my work aside, and sat down at the bay window of my room, with a cup of black coffee, to have the patience of hearing her blabbering.

The gossip was about a guy in her class, who out a mere fight, had teased her friend (Rina), mocking at her growing ‘breast’ , then how Rina started crying for being insulted in front of the entire class. And then, my sweet little sister told me, how uncomfortable she gets when boys in her class make fun of the girls.

This entire episode  made me wonder how children of her age are unaware about the nitty-gritty of ‘growing-up’ and this thought induced me to realize the importance of introducing ‘sex education’.

According to me, Sex education should not be just an option but also a necessity for teens nowadays. Children past the puberty stage need to be informed not only about body parts and the reproductive system, they are supposed to learn something deeper about relationships and safe sex, as these will teach them how to act responsibly when the time comes.

Adolescence- a time of both disorientation and discovery now describes the ‘tween’ (due to early-onset puberty) as well as ‘teen’ years between 9 and 19. It is a transitional phase of physical as well as mental development-No longer children but not yet adults, adolescents struggle with issues of independence and self-identity.

Kids of this age are naturally curious. Who knows that in order to solve their unanswered queries, they might make use of ‘internet’, or other media. And internet, being filled up with information of every sort, not able to distinguish between whether an elder or a 10 year old is surfing, might give them the ‘not-so-required’ data and force them to ‘experiment’ with sexuality. Thus, a planned and a systematic learning process of making the teens aware of the basics of the ‘phenomenon of getting mature’ should be taught.

Most young people become sexually active during adolescence. In the absence of right guidance and information, they are more likely to have multiple-partners for sex, which will lead to a rise in STDs ( sexually transmitted diseases). India with 2.47 million cases of HIV infected persons in the country and with sexual transmission being the predominant mode of HIV transmission.

Sex education is not only about relationships and intercourse. Teaching it also includes the stages of a person’s physical development, his body image, gender roles, and even his emotions. Sex education will take away the ignorance that can lead young adults to commit errors in their judgments as far as coupling and sexual interaction is concerned. With proper sex education, the incidence of teen pregnancy and irresponsible parenthood can be controlled. Sex education will also boost the confidence and self-esteem of children, which they seem to lose as they enter the puberty.Those with inadequate learning about the changes happening in their bodies end up being either afraid or confused about the situation they are facing. And if this dilemma is not addressed right away, the child may grow up shy and intimidated amidst other people.

Sex education is a gradual and an evolving process. It’s high time when the need to make the growing children aware of the changes in their bodies should be acknowledged. Introduction of sex education will definitely reap an informed and a healthy Gen-next!

Increasing rate of “Cyber Crimes”

On September 19, a facebook post by her boyfriend saying that he had dumped her, allegedly drove IIM Bangalore student Malini Murmu to suicide.

In July 2011, the cyber cell of Bhopal Police arrested a youth for creating  Madhya Pradesh’s CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s fake profile.

In April 2011, a man posted morphed photos of a girl when she turned down his marriage proposal.
With social networking sites invading in our lives like never before, Cyber crimes are emerging as a serious threat  for the times to come and posing one of the most difficult challenges before the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. Today, Cyber crimes are being carried out with impunity by teenagers who are oblivious of its consequences. Offences related to fake profiles and cyber stalking and other cyber crimes have increased two-folds since last year. A majority of offences related to cyber stalking and offensive behaviour involve people in their teens or early 20’s.

According to the police and Cyber crime experts, cases of cyber bullying and abuse are also on the rise. As more and more teenagers are getting to know about Worldwide Web, they are becoming vulnerable to offences such as pornography, hacking, stalking and even facebook flaming.

Last week, A guy after his break up with his girlfriend  morphed the photographs of the girl on the face of a nude model and circulated them on the Web. Such is the prevalent menace of the social networking sites. It seems we have completely forgotten about Internet ettiquettes and the privacy issues related to it.

One of the major reason responsible for fuelling a rise in the Cyber crimes is the “anonymity of the Net”, which gives the net users an immunity of sorts. In a way providing the culprit with an opportunity to elope.

According to Dr. Subho Ray of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), “the net users need to evolve a culture of net ettiquette and should not get carried away by the uninhibited nature of social networking sites. We should think twice before uploading any picture or updating any information on the Net, which is a public forum”.