Legal & Ethical Issues


INTRODUCTION


Digital ethics or information ethics in a broader sense deals with the impact of digital Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on our societies and the environment at large. In a narrower sense information ethics (or digital media ethics) addresses ethical questions dealing with the internet and internetworked information and communication media such as mobile phones and navigation services. Issues such as privacy, information overload, internet addiction, digital divide, surveillance and robotics are discussed today particularly from an intercultural perspective. The message of this paper is that information ethics can and should contribute to address the challenges of the digital age.

THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF ICT ON SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT


 

Economic, political and ecological activities of modern societies rely heavily on digital communication networks.

The relevance of digital ICT on the economy became obvious with the burst of the 2000 dot com bubble and, in my opinion, was one of the main factors leading to the recent world financial and economic crisis. Beyond the moral individual responsibility of politicians, bankers and managers, there is a systemic issue that has to do with the digitalization of financial and economic communication and information. Digital capitalism was and is still able to bypass national and international law, control and monitoring institutions and mechanisms as well as codes of practice and good governance leading to a global crisis of trust not only within the system but with regard to the system itself.

Many policy and economic experts agree that in order to develop a people-oriented and sustainable world economic system, national and international monitoring agencies as well as international law and self-binding rules are needed.  Academic research in digital ethics should become a core mandatory issue of economics and business studies. Similarly to the already well established bioethics committees, ethical issues of ICT should be addressed taking as a model for instance the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission (EGE; Capurro 2004).

ICT has a deep impact on politics leading to a transformation of 20th century broadcast mass media based democracy, or mediocracy, on the basis of new kinds of digital-mediated interactive participation. New interactive media weaken the hierarchical one-to-many structure of traditional global mass-media, giving individuals, groups, and whole societies the capacity to become senders and not “just” receivers of messages.

We live in message societies. I call the science dealing with messages and messengers angeletics (from Greek: angelía / angelos = message / messenger) (Capurro 2003). New ICTs are widely used for political participation and grass-roots protest groups as well as by liberation and peace movements. By the same token, digital communication networks make possible new structures of political surveillance, censorship and control on individuals and whole societies. Digital ethics should address the question of the human right to communicate.

The Internet has become a local and global basic social communication infrastructure. Freedom of access should be considered a fundamental ethical principle similar to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Some of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18), the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Art. 19), and the right to peaceful assembly and association (Art. 20) need to be explicitly interpreted and defined taking the new and unique affordances of internetworked digital media into consideration. Lawrence Lessig (1999) envisaged a situation in which the universality of Cyberspace is endangered by local codes of the market, the software industry, the laws of nation states, and moral traditions. He writes:

“[I]f we do nothing, the code of cyberspace will change. The invisible hand will change it in a predictable way. To do nothing is to embrace at least that. It is to accept the changes that this change in code will bring about. It is to accept a cyberspace that is less free, or differently free, than the space it was before.” (Lessig 1999, 109)

A free Internet can foster peace and democracy but it can also be used for manipulation and control. For this reason I assess a necessity to strive for a future internet governance regime on the basis of intercultural deliberation, democratic values and human rights (Senges and Horner 2009).

The third issue I would like to highlight concerns the impact of the materialities of ICT on nature and natural resources. Electronic waste has become major issue of digital ethics (IRIE 2009). It deals with the disposal and recycling of all kinds of ICT devices that already today have devastating consequences on humans and the environment particularly when exported to Third World countries. Issues of sustainability and global justice should be urgently addressed together with the opportunities offered by the same media to promote better shelter, less hunger and combat diseases. In other words, I advocate for the expansion of the human rights discourse to include the rights of non-human life and nature. The present ecological crisis is a clear sign that we have to change our lives in order to become not masters but stewards of natural environment.

 

COMPUTER AS TARGET FOR CRIME


Target Cybercrime

When a computer is the target of offense, the perpetrator attacks the computer by breaking into it or attacking it from outside. This kind of cybercrime may be the most “professional” in three cybercrime categories, because the criminal does programming and makes use of some exploits on computer, who always has pretty strong professional background of computer science. In this chapter, the two main types of target cybercrimes will be introduced, which are hacking and malware. Before moving the next chapter, another common target cybercrime, DDoS attacks will be also examined.

2.1 Hacking

Almost everyone has heard “hacker”, the one who does hacking. But what’s the meaning of hacking on earth? For a simpler perception, hacking is similar to trespassing Trespass has been a kind of crime for a long history. The statutes of criminal trespass are designed to protect the sanctity and privacy of real estate, including land and building on land, by preventing people from going where they have no right to enter. Since computer is a kind of property, hacking is analogous to trespassing on one’s real estate. In trespass, the person(s) is(are) seriously restricted, who can legally enter onto or into real property, such as land, building and so on; while in hacking, the person(s) is(are) seriously restricted, who can legally use computer technology. The following content includes two latest researches on hacking. Notice that the purpose of these researches is to find existing issues or exploits in cyberspace rather than to commit crimes, so they may be potentially used by professional criminals if the issues these researches have revealed are not still solved in the future.

2.1.1 Hack Faces to Find Social Security Numbers (SSN)

It is possible to take someone’s photo from public online social-network database and within minutes acquire his/her SSN and other private data like personal interests and credit status.

The technique calls for linking faces of random individuals to images in public online social-network databases that contain other information about them and using face-recognition software and an algorithm to project Social Security numbers, says Alessandro Acquisti, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who presented the research at the Black Hat and Defcon conference. He pointed that the digital surveillance framework that can go from a person’s image to personal data is very dangerous. To resolve this issue, better technologies need to be improved, privacy needs more scarce and surveillance needs readily available to the masses. Prof. Acquisti says, “This, I believe and fear, is the future we are walking into.” He admits though this method is far from very effective, this technology will be developed very quickly and it is absolutely possible to be used in the future. On the conference, there are three pieces of this research showed as follows:
1. Find out one person’s photo on Facebook, and then input it into the face-recognition software, called “PittPatt”, to identify this person’s other photos in other databases, which hold dating services and where users always register with phony names. As researchers consider just PittPatt’s best guess for each photo, the accuracy rate is 1/10 , which is a great result since only one photo is used, the Facebook profile photo.
2. Randomly take photos for some students and ask them to fill out a questionnaire, and then compare their photos with the photos of online databases so that identify their names, ages and collect other photos of those students. Finally, students check if those photos are themselves and the accuracy rate is 1/3.
3. Based on the subjects’ Facebook profiles, predict the first five digits of their SSN, personal interests and personal activities.

2.1.2 Hack On Universal Serial Bus (USB) Cable

Angelos Stavrou, an assistant professor of computer science at United States-based George Mason University, and student Zhaohui Wang find a kind of attack to laptops and smartphones via USB cable. By programming a software to change the function of USB driver, they can make a secret attack during charging a smartphone or syncing data between a smartphone and a computer. This attack works by adding the function of keyboard and mouse into the USB driver. Thus, when the connection is built, attacker can steal files, upload Trojan horse (the definition of “Trojan horse” will be introduced in the Section 2.2) or something else. In general, the attacker can manipulate this computer. The reason for that is USB protocol can be used to connect any device to a computing platform without any authentication.

The software can recognize the operation system automatically. Detailedly, on Macintosh and Windows machines, a message pops up, informing a new human interface device has been detected, however, it is difficult to stop this process, while the pop-up message is disappeared swiftly. Even on Linux, there is no message popping up, so users have totally no idea about what happening.

Stavrou said this attacking software can be written in Android and Iphone OS, and it can work between two smartphones connected via a USB cable. Also, this software can be made into a virus program. If a smartphone is contaminated, when it is connected with any computer, this computer will be also contaminated and then this computer will spread this virus to other smartphone connected via USB cable.

The current antivirus software have no effect, because the attacker controls computer just based on the common driver. “It’s hard to separate good behaviour from bad behaviour when it comes from the keyboard” Prof. Stavrou said.

2.2 Malware

We always hear “computer virus”, “computer worm” and “Trojan horse”, however, what are they on earth? To answer this question, the best way is to explain separately each of them. In those terms above, the strict definition of “computer virus” is a computer program which can reproduce itself and spread from one computer to another Computer worm uses a computer network to send copies of itself to other computer on the network Trojan horse can perform a desirable function for the user prior to run or install, steal information and harm the system Generally, malware, short for malicious software, includes computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses and other malicious and unwanted software For a easier perception, like hacking, malware can also be analogized to a traditional crime in our real world, which is vandalism The crime of vandalism means someone damages, even destroys, the property of others without their permission. Notice that the “property” means the real or personal property. While computer system and data saved in computer are also personal property and computer viruses and worms can be used to damage or destroy them, though computer viruses and worms couldn’t make the physical property damage, which may be caused by traditional vandalism, they are still regarded as a kind of vandalism, known as “malware”. Let’s set an extreme example. Suppose someone uses ax to destroy your laptop, which is your personal property, and this behavior is definitely vandalism because your laptop is damaged. However, if he/she uses viruses or worms to destroy your computer system, like you failing to log in Windows XP at all, or your electronic data, like there becoming no files in each of your local disk, this behavior is a cybercrime by malware. In addition, another condition we have to consider: perhaps a virus or worm is implanted in one’s computer, however, this computer don’t be damaged or destroyed, but is a medium, which will be potential to transmit those malware to other computer on Internet or local area network (LAN). We can call this computer is “harmed”, like contamination or infection. The “harm” doesn’t mean an existing damage or destroy but a potential [Brenner10], which is not covered by the definition of traditional vandalism but is absolutely a kind of malware. Since those malware, viruses and worms, also make use of exploits on computer or Internet, it is very important to keep the latest trend of malware in order to make up those exploits they have taken or intend to take use of . For preventing malware, many antivirus companies provide malware journals every month or every week. Especially, the leader company of antivirus, Kaspersky Lab, produces malware report every month. Therefore, the following content includes two latest parts on the malware report for October 2011 released by Kaspersky Lab on November 2011.

2.2.1 Duqu Trojan horse

The highlight in October was the detection of the Duqu Trojan horse, which is very similar to Stuxnet, the first cyber-weapon. Because these two malwares have tremendous similarities in the coding, it indicates that Duqu and Stuxnet are programmed by the same team, or Duqu is modified based on the source code of Stuxnet.

However, except the similarities, unlink Stuxnet, Duqu has no ability of attacking industrial systems. While Duqu files are found to contain a main module that makes sure the Trojan horse functions properly and establishes communication with the command server, it also contains an extra Trojan-Spy module, which is able to intercept data entered via a keyboard, capture screenshots and collect information of the system. Thus, all of these clues above show the main purpose of Duqu is to make industrial espionage rather than industrial sabotage.

After making a deeply investigation, the experts at Kaspersky Lab confirmed that the victim suffering from the recent Duqu attack is located primarily in Iran (once again echoing the parallels with Stuxnet). This finding indicated the close relationship of Duqu and Stuxnet. Since the experts also found the latest and old version of Duqu files, the people behind Duqu are continuing their activity. However, unlike the huge infection of Stuxnet, Duqu can select carefully and attack the specific target. Moreover, a unique set of files is used in every attack. It is also possible that not only a Trojan-Spy module but also other modules set in Duqu files.

At the same time, in the security report released by Microsoft in November, Microsoft fails to patch Duqu, but fixes a critical exploit in Windows TCP/IP stack which seems a temporary solution. Actually, for patching Duqu, to find a possible solution still needs more time.

2.2.2 Malware on Android

For the mobile threats, October is a turning point. The statistics of Kaspersky Lab indicated this is the first time for the total number of malicious programs for Android exceeding that for Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME). Notice that over the last two years, the most prevalent platform for malware has been J2ME among mobile threats. However, this dramatic change indicates that virus writers tend to concentrate on Android malware, which is a promising mobile platform.

At the end of October, the experts in Kaspersky Lab had detected 1,916 malware for Android belonging to 92 malware families, at the same time, 1,610 variations from 60 families were detected for J2ME. In all, the total number of mobile threats detected in October is 4,053 from 289 families. Figure 1 shows the details of malicious programs for all mobile platforms.

Particularly, let’s use Antammi as an example, which is a malicious program appearing the official Android store from September. This malicious application acts as a normal ringtone downloading application, by which user has to send text messages to a paid service to receive tunes. This application can run in the background, stealing contacts, short message service (SMS) archives and global positioning system (GPS) coordinates and so on. This malicious program then sends the information about its activity to a Gmail address and the stolen information to a server. After informed by Kaspersky Lab in October, the Android online store removed another malicious application which included Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.Antammi.b, designed for users in Russia.

Pie_Chart

computer as storage devices


Alternatively referred to as digital storage, storage, storage media, or storage medium, a storage device is any hardware capable of holding information either temporarily or permanently. The picture shows an example of a Drobo, an external secondary storage device.

There are two types of storage devices used with computers: a primary storage device, such as RAM, and a secondary storage device, like a hard drive. Secondary storage can be removable, internal, or external storage.

 

Types of storage devices

Floppy Drive – The smallest and most portable of all the storage devices usually holds about 1.44 MB of storage. Use a floppy disk media.

Super Drive
The LS120 or SuperDisk is a drive which supports a special floppy diskette which can store up to 120MB or 240MB of information as well as being backwards compatible and still supporting the standard floppy diskettes.

Zip Drive
New generation similar to the floppy disk drive created by Iomega The Iomega Zip Drive was first released 1994 and today is becoming a popular solution for PC and Macintosh computers as a removable solution. Zip Drives Disks come in 100MB, 250MB and 750MB

CD Burner An optical storage device that holds data anywhere from 650MB to 700MB (74-80 minutes)

Dvd Burner – A newer optical storage device that holds data anywhere from 4.70-17.08GB

DVD Capacity

DVD-5 4.7GB (2 hours)
DVD-9 8.54GB (4 hours)
DVD-10 9.4GB (4.5 hours)
DVD-18 17.08GB (8 hours)

Newest DVD format

Blu-Ray DVD 25-50GB
HD-DVD 15-30GB

Hard Drive – A hard drive is usually built inside your computer and holds anywhere from 1GB to 4TB of capacity. There are three types of internal hard drives are PATA, SATA and SCSI. External hard drives comes in USB, Firewire, SATA and SCSI.

Flash Drive – A compact and portable device use for storing data anywhere from 128MB up to 4GB.


Tape Drives


Tape drives allow large companies as well as end users to backup large amounts of data. Tape drives are capable of backing up a couple hundred megabytes to several gigabytes of information without having to spend large sums of money on disks.

Tape Drive Standards

8mm Tape Drive – Manufactured and available through Exabyte 8mm tapes are similar to what are used in camcorder. 8mm tapes are a faster solution then the DAT and transfer up to 6M/Sec. While the tapes are similar to camcorder tapes it is recommended that to backup information you use 8mm tapes designed for your drive.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape) – Digital Audio Tape is primarily developed and marketed by Hewlett-Packard. DAT drives use two types of data formats DDS (Digital Data Storage) and DataDAT. DDS Drives are available in three types DDS-1/2/3. (36-72GB)

DLT (Digital Linear Tape) – DLT drives are a robust and durable medium. The DLT segments the tape into parallel horizontal tracks and records data by streaming the tape across a single stationary head. Released in 1991 DLT drives are very reliable, high-speed, and high-capacity making the DLT drives an excellent use for Network backups. (330-600GB)

AIT – Advance Intelligent Tapes (100-260GB)

Travan- (8GB-20GB)

LTO-Linear Tape Open (200-400GB)
Advance Storage

NAS -Network Attachment Storage

nas

SAN- Storage Area Network

Types of Communication

External and Internal Communication

Communication is key to any business success. Unless potential clients and customers are aware of your business, they will not have the information to contact you or to purchase your products. When they are aware of your business, they must be able to contact it easily.

Two types of communication are essential – external and internal.

  • External communication reaches out to the customer to make him or her aware of your product or service and to give the customer a reason to buy. This type of communication includes your brochures, various forms of advertising, contact letters, telephone calls, Web sites and anything else that makes the public aware of what you do.

    Image is extremely important in external communication! Your logo should represent who you are; your letterhead should be a selling tool; your telephone message should reflect your professionalism.

  • Internal communication is essential to attracting and retaining a talented staff. You must provide the direction for the company by consistently communicating that message; you must motivate your staff through various forms of communication, which can include awards, newsletters, meetings, telephone calls and formal and informal discussions. Periodic meeting with top management groups including your board of directors and advisory board should be planned for regular intervals over each upcoming year. The importance of an advisory board is covered in session two of Business Expansion.

Effective communication requires tools and planning. In this session, we will discuss those tools, as well as planning guidelines, to facilitate this key element of your business, communication. The following discussion will be grouped into:

  • Basic communication tools
  • Computers
  • The Internet

Basic Communication Tools

Specific tools that can be used for communication include landline telephones, cell phones, smartphones, iPads and fax machines. The lines between the devices are blurring. For example, an advanced cell phone (the smartphone) can contain many of the functions of a computer including Internet, email, text messaging, faxing, word processing and more. For this discussion, however, each device will be presented as a separate entity.

Mail
Even with all the modern methods of communication, regular postal mail is still one of the most powerful tools for a business. It adds a personal touch, it’s used for delivering secure documents, contracts, and shipping items. A convenient way to handle mail from your own home or office is through a Stamps.com account, which allows you to print postage from your own computer.

Landline Telephones
There are many types of telephones, and only you can decide which type(s) or combinations of types are right for you. Even the standard telephone (landline) that is installed in your office has many options. You should start with at least one line that is unique to your business. This line should have the capability to take messages in case it is not answered personally. Here are some telephone tips:

  • It is important to treat the telephone as an important business tool. Record a voice mail message that indicates when you will return the call and then continually check your voice mail to return calls promptly.
  • Have a separate line for your business phone and your personal phone. Don’t have family members pick up or use the business phone. Get any required extra telephone lines installed before you start.
  • A remote (voice mail) answering system is usually more desirable than using an answering machine. Voice mail is reliable, reasonable in cost, accessible from anywhere and projects a more business-like image.
  • The need for an 800 number is becoming less important because long-distance rates are much more affordable.
  • Consider using either a wireless or corded headset for both landline phones and cell phones. It is clearer, safer and you can move about with free arms.
  • When leaving phone messages, clearly state your name and phone number at the beginning and the end of the message.
  • Be polite in cell phone use! Good business courtesy includes avoiding being interrupted by telephone calls when in a meeting or during a business lunch.

Cell Phones/Mobile Phones
The cell phone, also called a mobile phone, is used for mobile communications over a cellular network of cell sites. There are numerous plans and carriers. Many carriers have plans tailored for small businesses including options that bundle popular features and usage patterns, making them very cost effective. Be sure to ask questions about your specific needs before selecting a carrier and a plan.

When your usage or needs change, do not hesitate to request information on plans that more closely meet your new set of requirements. Most cell phone companies allow you to return the phone within 15 to 30 days after activation if you are not happy. Use this time to check if the cell phone has acceptable reception at your home and work place. Basic cell phones are offered free by many carriers for a specific length of time, usually two years. But be aware there are hefty fees for canceling early.

Smartphones
Growth in demand for advanced mobile devices boasting powerful memory, larger screens, and open operating systems has outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market for several years. A smartphone is a cell phone offering advanced capabilities with computer-like functionality. A smartphone incorporates advanced features like e-mail, Internet, and e-book reader capabilities and include a full keyboard or an external keyboard. In other words, a smartphone is a miniature computer that has phone capability.

Smartphones are also capable of text messaging and may include a camera and video recorder. Some models are capable of “Push to Talk” which is a feature similar to a walkie-talkie. Outside your office, a smartphone can become a valuable tool for e-mail, web browsing and the ability to review and edit documents. Several models have global positioning system (GPS) capability and many other available applications. The most popular are the iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry, Droid and Google’s Nexus. Each has different strengths you will need to factor into your business needs.

Video and Web Conferencing
Video conferencing transmits and receives images and voice in real-time. Web conferencing adds another dimension – it allows you to share documents and applications. For more details on Webinar conferencing with customers visit Session 2 in the Business Expansion course.

Telepresence takes video and web conferencing to new levels. A telepresence conference room includes ultra-high-definition video cameras, large screens displaying life-size images, and spatially discrete audio to create an “in person” experience. Facial expressions for crucial business discussions and negotiations can be discerned across the “virtual table.” Telepresence solutions can be deployed to support your business’ need from one-on-one conferencing in private offices to stadium seating for larger meetings.

All these solutions allow you to communicate as if you were face-to-face with customers anywhere in the world. Time and money that would be spent on traveling can be used to conduct meetings. You can share documents, make presentations and conduct meetings on short notice. For example, without leaving your office, you can collaborate with employees who work from home or from other company locations.

Social Networking Sites
A social network is a social structure made of individuals or organizations that are tied together by common interests, often like a community. Internet-based social networking occurs through a variety of websites that allow users to share content and interact with similar interests. It has expanded to include a company’s customers, celebrity’s fans and a politician’s constituents. This has created a great opportunity for businesses to generate interaction with present and potential customers through Web-based sites established for that purpose. To be successful requires a steady effort and participation over time. With an ongoing commitment of effort you can create a niche market through sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A note of caution on Internet social networking: once you put something out there it’s hard to take it back, so you have to be careful.

Online Chat Tools
Wikipedia describes chat tools best: “Online chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but is primarily meant to refer to direct one-on-one chat or text-based group chat using tools such as instant messengers.” It is commonly used in place of email when there is a need to communicate live. Chat tools can be used both for internal and external communication and can be placed on a website so customers can talk to a customer service person in real-time. Utilizing chat tools usually requires a free software download. There are many options available including GoogleTalk and Skype. Features can vary from simple one-on-one messaging to highly developed tools for group chat, file transfers, video and document collaboration.

Fax Machines
The decision must be made as to whether to buy a stand alone fax machine or an “all-in-one” model. All-in-ones function as a printer, scanner, copier and fax. (Not all models have the fax or scanner capability). If you plan on sending and receiving lots of faxes you might consider the stand-alone. For less frequent use the all-in-one can cost less. They are also compact and more energy efficient. Consideration should be given to your budget and your space constraints. Generally, the simpler the machine, the fewer problems you will have with it. If your business will rely heavily on faxing, it is important to get as much memory as possible to speed up the printing of documents.

Some phone vendors can provide you with a fax number that works with your e-mail system. Receiving a fax works just like it does when the fax is being received by another machine but you receive it as an attachment to an e-mail. This can be very handy for those who travel on a frequent basis and are not always near a fax machine. Here are tips:

  • Use a cover page that is appropriate for your company. Remember, this is an external communication that reflects your business and your image.
  • Use a separate dedicated phone line for your fax machine.

Computers

A computer is so affordable that it should be included as a key tool in your business. Computers can be purchased for a wide range of prices. For basic word processing, e-mail, accounting, and spreadsheet work, you will not require a top-of-the-line computer. While what you buy today may soon become obsolete, this does not mean that the computer you purchase will not meet your business requirements for a much longer period of time. The following discussion will focus on the growing number of options that are available:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Notebook (or netbook)
  • Tablet
  • Handheld

Desktops
This is the most common type of computer: one that is set up to operate in your office. The computer system should include:

  • A basic processing unit: either a PC (Personal Computer) or a Mac (Apple). PC’s are more common in usage and are lower in cost. Most businesses work in a PC format. However, for many users and applications including graphic arts, the Mac enjoys very steadfast supporters.
  • A flat-panel monitor.
  • Internet connectivity, a CD/DVD drive and USB ports.
  • A printer. Laser printers cost more up front but are less expensive over the long run when taking printing costs into account. If you have a small space to work with, consider an all-in-one printer.
  • Some type of backup storage should also be considered, such as a USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive or a writable CD or DVD.
  • An antivirus program is essential. You can purchase one or use a free program; however the free programs will not afford you as much security as the paid versions.

Laptops
A laptop computer offers portability with many of the features offered by a desktop which make it ideal for meetings or if you travel frequently. Drawbacks for laptops include: they are higher in price than desktops, have smaller keyboards and monitors and are subject to theft. Traditional and wireless printers, keyboards and even the traditional mouse are options available for laptops. If you travel and need computing capability, it is worth the extra expense.

Notebooks and Netbooks
Since their recent appearance, netbooks have grown in size and features. At the same time, notebooks have become smaller and lighter. The result is that for practical purposes we are going to use the two words interchangeably since there is no longer a significant distinction between them. They both can be described as rapidly evolving categories of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing web-based applications. They are gaining in popularity especially with students, bloggers, and even some businesses.

While generally less expensive than laptops, manufacturers are starting to beef up notebooks, which is increasing their cost. A caution: their compact size makes them attractive for traveling but if you are considering one to save on the cost of a laptop, you probably will be getting less memory and many do not have full applications or compatibility with your other business applications.

Things to keep in mind if getting a desktop, laptop or netbook:

  • Get as much capability as you can afford. Laptops are not typically as easy to upgrade as desktop computers because of the nature of their construction.
  • Be sure you get all the features you need when you purchase.
  • If you do not normally have access to an electrical outlet, get a laptop or netbook with extended battery life.
  • Keep all documentation, software, and accessories that come with your device.

Tablet Computers
A tablet computer is equipped with a touch screen or stylus rather than a keyboard to operate the computer. The advantages include using when it is not convenient to use a keyboard and mouse, recording diagrams and symbols, and easier navigation than a keyboard and mouse or touch pad. Disadvantages include higher cost, slower input speed, and risk of damage to the tablet screen.

Handheld Devices
Handheld computers, or Personal Digital Assistants, are still popular despite the growing sales of smartphones. There are basically two versions of these units: 1) those using the Palm Pilot operating system and 2) those using the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. These units allow synchronizing your key organizational elements with your computer. Functions of a PDA and smartphone have become almost indistinguishable; however PDAs generally perform faster and can synchronize data to your PC. The capabilities of PDAs are not built around a cell phone whereas a smartphone is a cell phone with other capabilities built into the phone. More and more features are being built into these units, integrating them as a powerful tool in the business world.

Software
The software you purchase is key to making your computer productive. The operating system, whether it is a PC or a Macintosh, should be preloaded onto the system. Many software packages are often bundled with the system at the time of purchase and some in the form of trial software. At the bare minimum, you should have the capability to do word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Additionally, you should consider financial and accounting software that is appropriate for your business. Keep in mind that many accounting/bookkeeping software packages are not double-entry systems and care must be taken in making the entries correctly. Keep in mind that home and professional versions of accounting software may not be compatible or may not be appropriate for your operating system. Be sure to read specifications before you purchase.

Auxiliary Products
Many products can be used in conjunction with your computer to enhance the functionality and image of your business. These also require software specifically designed to facilitate its usage.

  • Digital Camera – a picture taken by this type of camera can be directly loaded onto your computer for a variety of uses. Usage ideas include pictures of properties, product catalogs, pictures accompanying résumés and many more.
    Digital cameras come in various shapes and sizes, but what really sets them apart in price is image quality.
  • Scanner – when you have a printed copy of something that you would like to include as part of a digital document, you can create a digital image by scanning the printed copy with this type of equipment.
  • Wireless Transmission – this feature allows you to communicate with other devices equipped with the same feature. Most office equipment is available in a wireless version and without all the cords. Ease of set up is appealing and has many productive implications
  • Don’t overlook the importance of making regular external backups to the individual programs used in your business. Backups are commonly stored on CD’s DVDs, USB Flash Drives and External Hard Drives. There are also services provided on the Web to facilitate this process.
Cyberstalking


Cyberstalking is a crime in which the attacker harasses a victim using electronic communication, such as e-mail or instant messaging (IM), or messages posted to a Web site or a discussion group. A cyberstalker relies upon the anonymity afforded by the Internet to allow them to stalk their victim without being detected

 Internet Gambling Threats to Children


 

Online Risks that Children Face

Exposure to Inappropriate MaterialDue to the free availability of information on the Internet, a major risk that a child may be exposed to is inappropriate material, sexual, hateful, or violent in nature, or encourages activities that are dangerous or illegal.
Gambling and Other unsuitable behaviourOnline gambling sites are flooding the Internet. It is unsuitable for children to view such sites. Most online gambling sites require a person to use a credit card. This poses a potential threat to the financial well being of the family as well.
Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and other DangersSome web sites and newsgroups promote the use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Some websites even teach how to make bombs or download “Virus Development Kits”.
Physical HarmPaedophiles seeking children as targets have used E-mail and chat rooms to gain a child’s confidence and then arrange a face-to-face meeting. Once the child’s confidence has been won and a meeting arranged, the child is in great danger of physical harm and permanent psychological scarring.
Persecuting MessagesA child might encounter E-mail or chat/bulletin board messages that are harassing, demeaning, or belligerent. Information sent to your child could also have a psychological impact on your child.
Legal and Financial ProblemsThere is also the risk that a child could do something that has negative legal or financial consequences such as giving out a parent’s credit card number or committing a cyber crime. Legal issues aside, children should be taught good “netiquette” which means to avoid being rude or inconsiderate while online.
Intrusion of PrivacyA child’s privacy is vital but is most vulnerable on the Internet. No one has a right to a child’s personal information without due authorization from its guardians. Such information includes name, age, name of the school and details about the child’s family. Disclosing such information on the Internet may expose the child to substantial threats.
Wasting a Child’s PotentialBy being online for unlimited number of hours, a child ends up wasting a lot of valuable constructive time that may have been utilised for creative purposes. A child’s development may suffer a great deal because of this.