Michael Covington’s Daily Notebook:

Enough of this “electronic frontier.” I want civilization!

I agree. The Internet has become a dangerous place. Every node has its own rules, some are more developed than others, and none are completely safe.

I’m in favor of a tax on the Internet if it’s used to pay for law enforcement. Fifteen years ago, before the Internet, it was common for an ordinary American to go for months if not years without anyone attempting a crime against him. Now would-be criminals are hitting on me 200 times a day. Some of them must be easy to catch.

A tax to catch criminal behavior on the Internet? I am not so sure. Already there are tons of police working on the Internet. Mostly they are seeking to shut down child pornography and bad people getting their hands on kids. They work at the federal, state, and local levels. They are so ineffective, vigilantes have started groups to catch these people.

We keep adding from what activity we want these police to protect us. However, catching a Internet crook in some ways is trickier than catching a face-to-face crook. Jurisdictions get in the way; evidence chains are a nightmare; judges and juries have no idea what 1/10th of the technical terms mean much less how its distinct from close relatives. Lawyers will get better at this last part similar to how DNA used to confuse juries but now helps get convictions. Protecting a bank online is in ways more difficult than protecting it from someone robbing it in person.

Ultimately it comes down to acceptable risk. People are clueless to the danger, so they make bad judgments.

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