In the past twenty years, technology has made quite a few strides. We no longer carry phones larger than bricks in our oversized briefcases, but instead have phones the size of our hands that we can unlock with just a look. We can get tasks done by the command of our voice or the tip of our finger. It hasn’t all been progress, though.
Although connections have gotten much faster, the Internet as a whole hasn’t really grown with the rest of us. The problems it had at the beginning of the Internet boom in 1996 still exist. Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal article from ‘96 popped up on Twitter and it looks like something we could’ve read only yesterday. Timeless? Yes. Also sad. These issues that bothered us over two decades ago still exist.
“Arguments continued over the use of technologies such as ‘cookies’ that collect marketing information as people browse the Web,” the article said. Not only do we still deal with issues like ‘cookies’, a problem that seemed easily fixable back in the day, but the government’s desire for using backdoors on the World Wide Web to access certain parts of our data hasn’t changed a bit. “The White House continued to fight the spread of strong encryption technologies for the Internet, backing a built-in ‘key’ for law enforcement and other authorized bodies.”
— Vlad Savov (@vladsavov) May 16, 2018
Per the article, which is very on-point, 2018 is identical to the 1996 equivalent of GDPR. “On the international front, on-line users’ concerns led to the passage of Internet-privacy legislation in several countries.” And, of course, as Facebook’s data collection and insecurity scandal has revealed, “many on-line users remain ill-informed about exactly what personal information is available on the Internet.”
SO what does this teach us? Perhaps that next time a company as big as Facebook, Google, or Apple decides to plead ignorance or lack of knowledge when they get caught doing something, we’ll just refer them back to 1996. A piece that is older than Google and the iPhone just proved that those in charge of making progress have failed in many aspects of their jobs.