Christina W. sent in this 1969 video imagining, basically, the internet:

I found it hysterical. I mean, they were sort of bizarrely accurate in their general predictions. The gender roles also cracked me up.

And since we’re on the topic of the internet, the BBC recently conducted an international poll about the internet and David F. sent us a link to it. The methodology:

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The finding that has gotten the most attention is that half of people strongly agree, and another 29% somewhat agree, that internet access should be a “fundamental right of all people”:

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Concerns about the internet:

PhotobucketOf those who use the internet, beliefs about several topics:

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The fact that 45% of respondents said they couldn’t cope without the internet has also gotten quite a bit of attention. However, it turns out that answers vary quite a bit by country; 79% of respondents in the Philippines and Pakistan said they could cope without it, while on the other end, 84% of Japanese respondents said they couldn’t:

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I have to say, I find that question and the responses to it odd. You couldn’t cope without access to the internet? What does that mean, exactly? You’d be depressed and miserable without it? Suffer a mental breakdown? Become suicidal? I am a very heavy internet user–my computer is open with email displayed most of the time, even if I’m doing something else, and I spend enormous amounts of time every day actively using the internet. I get anxious when I can’t get access to it. But would I say I couldn’t cope without it? I would be very unhappy, but I wouldn’t, you know, become entirely incapable of functioning and give up the will to live, I don’t think. So I don’t know what to make of that.

Anyway. Hours spent online per week:

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And finally, Michael C. sent us this video of a “skeptic’s take” on Google, including consolidation and privacy issues:

It’s interesting given Google’s recent decision to stop censoring internet access in China due to concerns that human rights activists’ emails were being tracked, as well as accusations of privacy issues with Buzz. A friend and I were talking recently about how normally we’re concerned about corporate concentration and control, and yet we both have entirely enmeshed ourselves with Google–using gmail, storing things on Google Docs and Notebook, tracking websites through Google Reader, using YouTube, getting directions from Google Maps…basically my entire online life is routed through Google services (I tried Chrome but didn’t like it, but if I had, even my browser would have been a Google product).

We’re not sure what to make of this — that it’s easier to lull people into a sense of complacency about corporate control if you provide them really nifty stuff they like using? That we aren’t yet really taking concerns about internet privacy seriously? The way these services are set up, it’s simply easier to use all of them than to insist on using a cloud server, reader, email, and so on separately just so we wouldn’t be supporting the concentration of internet services, and this undoubtedly plays a role in reducing our resistance. And our reliance on Google slowly grew over time so that neither of us really noticed how much we used the company’s products until we were actively talking about it (which we were only doing because of the events in China).

What do you think? Do you worry a lot about control over the internet, and particularly Google’s reach into so many aspects of internet usage? Do you really worry about how internet privacy issues affect you personally?

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