A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

Eyes wide open

Aug 22, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Soon enough, Internet crimes will be less amusing and more troubling

We quote from The Associated Press:

"A judge has set an Oct. 9 trial date for a former University of Wyoming student accused of posting an anonymous Facebook threat against herself."

Only in modern-day America.

There is a theory -- a refreshing one, in our book -- that the current fascination, bordering on obsession, with the miracles of the Internet might be something of a passing fancy. The technology is here to stay, of course, but some social scientists wonder if the shine might wear off one of these years as we further understand the non-stop observation, the manipulation, the intrusion and the damage that can be done if we all are connected to each other through electronic communication 24 hours a day.

It will take more than the news of a university student's inane cry for attention on Facebook, and the social backlash might never occur at all. But here's a wager for all of us: This technology, and our self-hypnosis with it, will be used against us someday. It already is happening to individuals all the time in the form of identity theft, online bullying and sexual predation, financial scamming and simple fraud. But the crooks or the terrorists will get the hang of it on a larger scale soon enough.

No old-school rant here. This very editorial is being written from 500 miles away, typed on an iPad and zapped to the office electroncially on a smartphone. It is being printed on paper but also will be posted at dailyranger.com. We get it.

But the generation that lived through both the before and the after of the Internet has a message: Things are never completely as they seem. Eyes wide open, everyone, as we swim farther and farther from the shore.


MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Wednesday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office at 3:30 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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