Very often when people are talking with me about where they learned something or why they did something it is because they read it on the Internet. Apparently, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are looked at by some as the greatest sources of updated and correct information available to everyone. It’s a scary thought that the Internet has become such a “no questions” asked source of information for many. Even a popular auto insurance company makes fun of the “Everything on the Internet Is True” attitude with the so-called “French Model” commercial.
One of my business classes taught me that the average person is exposed to more than 3,000 advertisements each day. We view billboards while driving, product placement in our favorite television shows or movies, flashing ads on our websites, ads in newspapers, commercials on television and radio shows, as well as hundreds of other places where advertising might pop up.
As far back as when the VCR came out, people around the world have been enjoying their favorite television shows even if they were unable to sit down and watch them while they were broadcast. VCRs, and more recently digital video recording devices, also allowed individuals to skip commercials.
This is an era when every question seems to have an answer — and when that answer is as close as your phone, your laptop or your tablet. But these implements, which answer so many of the questions that we did not know we had, also have raised difficult new questions that we now know we cannot avoid.
Many of these critical questions have become part of the national debate in recent days in the wake of disclosures about how the new technology has opened up new avenues of government surveillance. Here are three questions suddenly dominating American civic life:
What is the balance between freedom and security?