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Threats on the superhighway

editorial cartoon by Jeff Nicoll

Imagine logging onto the Internet and finding threatening e-mail from someone you do not even know. How safe would you feel if you kept getting these threats day after day because someone does not approve of what you do or how you act?

Recently, some Uni­versity of La Verne students have been making gay-bashing threats from their Vax accounts to other students on the campus Vax system. President Steve Morgan sent out a memo this week regarding the issue of threatening faculty, staff and students. Any threat, whether joking or not, will be taken seriously and will not be tolerated. There is no reason for anyone to be threatened because they lead a different lifestyle.

Crimes on the Internet are on the rise as more and more people realize how easy it is to access someone else’s computer and abuse the communication system. Companies such as Prodigy are considering censoring their accounts to make sure that private information is not being handled by the wrong people and that others do not get hurt by the wrongdoing of criminals.

The school’s own Vax system is a familiar service and not many people think of abusing it. After all, it is a great way to communicate with others. Technology has taken us far in the past 10 to 20 years. Nearly every home has a personal computer that can write checks, help children with math and file recipes. Many people carry cellular phones in their purses or briefcases and there are even fax machines that plug into the cigarette lighters in cars. With such advances come new ways for one’s privacy to be invaded, and so far, the courts have been unable to keep on top of the issues that arise concerning the Internet.

As the recent threats on campus show, ULV is not immune to this problem. If the threats and abuse do not come to an end soon, restrictions could be placed on the e-mail system, limiting the freedom of all because of the abuses of a few.

Why would anyone want to upset another person needlessly or threaten to hurt them? It just does not make sense. The technological advances that we have seen over recent years are supposed to benefit others, not harm them. Where have the morals of decent people gone?

At one time, people used to watch after each other and help them in times of need. These days, it just seems that people are too busy faxing memos and e-mailing messages to enjoy what other people have to offer.

Censorship does not need to be the way to handle problems such as these. Computer users need to exercise self-control and responsibility. While many would see censorship as the way to restore values and instill respect, it should not be the answer. The majority should not suffer because people have not learned to act like mature adults.

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

Jeff Nicoll

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