After writing about the recent attacks on the backbone of the Internet [see here], and reading some of the comments, it reminded me of something that has been discussed before. Should users be required to have a license before being allowed to connect to the Internet?

Stay with me for a moment while I digress. For six years I taught computer classes for the Community Education Dept. at our local college. These classes were short introductory classes ranging from 4 to 8 hours each, and covered a wide variety of subjects. What I found most interesting were the people who took the introductory classes. They fell into the classification that we fondly use called Newbies. And the majority were seniors and this was their first time using a PC. And most of them shared a commonality in their PC ventures:

  • They were given a old PC by their children who bought a new system.
  • The kids set it up for the parent[s] and provided a quickie 5 minute tutorial.
  • They semi-knew how to click on IE and surf and how to send email mostly by experimentation.
  • They didn’t have a single clue about protecting their computers.

What also became evident was that these folks were not even aware that they had to update their computers and keep a anti-virus protection updated as well. No one told them so they didn’t know. Some never even heard of Google.
I think licensing should be simple. Before being able to get on the Internet the user would only need to demonstrate via a short test some simple knowledge of system protection. And new users would be encouraged to take a 2 hour class on the pitfalls of the Internet and how to best protect themselves from some of the most common problems that they may encounter.

And I do realize that this would have to be a world effort and not isolated to just a few countries.

What do you think? Comments welcome.

[tags]Internet, google, license, test, [/tags]