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Internet Licence?

Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Internet Licence?

Hi guys,
We've been a little intrigued by this article over on TBB this morning, and the last question in particular is an interesting one:
Should Internet users be required to pass a test and get a license before being entitled to order a broadband connection?
I personally think a test and a licence is a little excessive, but I see a lot of people learn the hard way when it comes to internet security and such so maybe there is a real need there.
What do you guys think?
19 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,239
Thanks: 932
Fixes: 54
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

Load of twaddle.
Hypothetical question - who has to take the test - the person in whose name the line is ordered or the actual user/users
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

[devil's advocate]
Maybe it should be the person who buys the PC? If they're shelling out hundreds of pounds shouldn't they have a basic knowledge?
[/devil's advocate] Smiley
brad
Grafter
Posts: 151
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

To be honest, I don't think this would be a good idea. Kind of like another dictated rule. Broadband should be for everyone, and in my opinion it should not need a licence.
Will be interesting if this ever took off but if they were serious then they can expect a huge backlash!  Smiley
lingbob
Grafter
Posts: 734
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

Quote from: Brad
To be honest, I don't think this would be a good idea. Kind of like another dictated rule. Broadband should be for everyone, and in my opinion it should not need a licence.

I agree entirely but I find this bit to be much more interesting:
The committee recommends that ISPs should be encouraged to monitor and detect "bad" outgoing traffic (such as viruses or other attacks) from their network (originating from their customers) and that the "mere conduit" immunity (which allows ISPs to claim that they are not responsible for traffic passing through their network) should be restricted when they become aware of issues on their network.
Regards .....
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

For me, that question diverts from the important element of this discussion. Nice as it would be to be restrict access to certain people, it will never be practical or desirable. Had we had a technical test before now I can't see the net taking off in the way it has (And my Grandma would have never bothered to get on-line!)...
The debate that is of more interest to me is the one that seems to have come up a couple of times in recent months - Should ISPs police their customer's connections and take action against users who seem to have infections or otherwise cause problems?
Personally, I think ISPs should take responsibility if they become aware that customer connections are being used for criminal, or potential criminal activity (Which is what happens to someone infected by malware). However, a number of my colleagues would disagree with that. They might suggest that by monitoring traffic and intervening, we become censors, or that as the action we take will annoy the users concerned we should not risk losing the customer or increasing our support costs.
I think a big problem (once we have overcome the technical issues in being accurate about our identification of someone with a problem connection) is the perception some would have as the result of us taking action against users, especially where no one else in the industry is doing a similar thing yet. Also, we would be put at a commercial disadvantage as this sort of activity is something that can cost us a lot in terms of both support and the technology. I don't see the government proposing that they should help pay for the measures they want, which is fine, but means that ultimately it will cost the customers more.
It would be nice to think that some would give us credit if we did take more action against those on our network who had a security issue, but I can't see that happening in many cases. I would be interested though in what the community thought would be the right action to take in these situations. 
Regards,
Ian
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

One of the things I've been looking at recently is how we can be more pro-active in handling customers whose PCs are infected with viruses. I've been trying to draw up some criteria so we aren't just reliant on Spamcop and the like but it's not an exact science.
Some people send lots of mail legitimately, some send large emails with attachments and not always with a pattern (a business user may have a mailing list that they send out overnight and send lots of legit mails in the day so it looks like they are constantly sending mail which may raise a red flag that it's an infected machine but it's all legit).
I don't think therefore it's going to be an exact science but it is certainly something we are looking at.
Metalguru
Grafter
Posts: 791
Registered: 04-08-2007

Re: Internet Licence?


WOW
I came up with the D/L idea on Sat 11/08.
http://www.dustysworld.net/viewtopic.php?t=8378
I didn't know Dusty's World was so widely read  Wink
grey_gorilla
Dabbler
Posts: 24
Registered: 23-07-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

Quote from: Mand
Should Internet users be required to pass a test and get a license before being entitled to order a broadband connection?

Is that one back again?
pjemmanuel
Grafter
Posts: 349
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

I've long since been of the belief that people should have to pass a test to get a license for the internet....
OK, well, maybe not a test as such....
But, there are a large number of people about who have not got the slightest idea about the potential problems that they are going to encounter when they get their computer connected. They happily use their computer for a couple of years with no real problems, then they plug it in to the world of the internet, and are quite happy to continue with their copy of Norton/McAffee/whatever was pre-installed on their machine two years ago, which has never been updated and has now expired anyway.
They quite happily continue on for many months, downloading whatever from wherever until eventually, they call on their local "computer geek" and tell them about the problems they have got. What do you do? I for one usually end up taking their PC home, set it up, spend several hours cleaning off all the dross, another few hours running Spybot, Adaware, Ewido (now AVG anti malware) and Hijack this. Once this is all done, then I'll connect it into my network to download some essential items for them - usually the AVG free stuff, unless they have a preference otherwise.
An internet license may not solve these problems - the real issue is how do you educate people about the problems they are going to meet online? If you put a leaflet in with their installation software, they won't read it - they just want the internet. You could force the installation of virus scanners and the like when the ISP install disk runs - but that may tie people into a product they don't want, and for more experienced users, software that they don't need.  I prefer the sort of installation that Plusnet gives. None at all. It involves no loading of software, no branding of browsers, perfect for me, it leaves my PC as I want it, with my choice of software. However, this leaves it slightly less ideal for new users, with no idea of what they are about to meet. On the plus side though, there is the broadband firewall, which is on by default, so there is some protection there without any intrusion of software onto the end users PC.
In my opinion, the real issue is how do you educate the new members of the online community without annoying the more experienced users.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

That gives me an idea Phil, how about the first time you connect your browser is redirected to a "welcome to PlusNet" page and on it could be links to useful tutorials and suggestions of things you should do before doing anything else (like installing/updating your AV software). You could then dismiss the page with a "never show me this again" for those that don't need it or a "remind me later".
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,699
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

I couldn't advocate a license (it would simply be another way for us to give Gordon Brown our money), but like others here, I am constantly amazed at the level of ignorance around internet use.
I'm no great expert, but I know people who are actually proud of knowing nothing about computers!  They seem to spend huge amounts of time avoiding finding anything out about computing or internet security.
Oddly they're often the same people who say "Oh I don't do metric, I don't undertand what those micro thingies are" (but maybe that's a debate for another thread Grin)
We have one woman in our office who has both attitudes, and then will start advising colleagues about how they should set up their computers and use them.  She honestly doesn't see the dichotomy!
John
LiamM
Grafter
Posts: 5,636
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

Quote from: dave
That gives me an idea Phil, how about the first time you connect your browser is redirected to a "welcome to PlusNet" page and on it could be links to useful tutorials and suggestions of things you should do before doing anything else (like installing/updating your AV software). You could then dismiss the page with a "never show me this again" for those that don't need it or a "remind me later".

Mmm...  I like that idea!
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

We've just created a new page for the video help files
http://www.plus.net/support/video_help/video_help.shtml
and added a few new ones with more to come. Hint hint, if anyone fancies creating one them please do let us know. We could even turn it into a competition if there's interest in creating them. Also any suggestions for ones to see are more than welcome.
Quote
Does PN Wireless hardware come with WEP preset

It does, all the Voyager routers have WEP on by default and print the key underneath.
pjemmanuel
Grafter
Posts: 349
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Internet Licence?

Quote from: dave
...how about the first time you connect your browser is redirected to a "welcome to PlusNet" page and on it could be links to useful tutorials

The idea is sound, but it's still kind of like putting a leaflet in with the install CD. Most people will see it - realise it's good advice, and just "throw it to one side" whilst they get on with connecting to the internet.
Quote from: dave
...."never show me this again" for those that don't need it or a "remind me later".

Now the second option here is good - but how many people will just keep "reminding me later". The first option is a simple way to 'throw the leaflet to one side' kind of scenario again.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the ideas you propose, actually, I think that the idea has a lot of merit, particularly as Plusnet don't actually have an install CD. My issue with the idea is just that I believe a large number of people, particularly the type of people who don't think they need a virus scanner/firewall/malware protection when they connect to the internet are also the type of people who won't heed the warnings, whether given in a leaflet, on a web page, or verbally by anyone.
It comes back to what I mentioned in my first post, how do you educate people about something they don't want to hear about. I don't expect everyone to be instantly net friendly when they first connect, but they should be at least made aware of the problems they can cause for other users if they don't take action to protect their own machine.
In the end, that brings us neatly back to the license idea - or at least an awareness test, prior to being allowed to have a broadband connection - how else do you achieve it?
Lets face it, if you've got XP on your PC and no virus scanner, it nags you every time you boot up - how much more must be done - it's not as if it costs anything to add the protection - OK, it may be basic protection with no frills, but it's better than nothing.