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Surfing on the Internet more or less becomes an essential part in our daily life. It is reported that '...by the end of 2008, the Internet penetration rate of 22.6% in China had surpassed the global average level of 21.9% for the first time. Meanwhile, the amount of Internet users in China had reached 298 million, with 279 million broadband users.' (CNNIC, 2009) People use messengers, e-mails and facebook to enrich their life almost everyday. Living in the 21st century, people around the world are getting used to those convenience the Internet brings to us. However, it is obvious to all that not every impact is positive. Cybercrime is no longer an astonishing word to local residents. This essay will evaluate the impact of the Internet in the 21st century, with reference to global commerce and criminal activity.
The literal meaning of global commerce is to 'unify the manufacturers and retailers together on a worldwide parity basis.' (Wikipedia, 2007) With the development of society, a new shopping mode springs up quietly but quickly in the past few years. It is known as online shopping which differs from the traditional one. In recent years, more and more people, especially office clerks or students, are busy in working and studying, resulting in having little time to go out to buy what they need. Online shopping, however, can meet their needs. The most attractive aspect is that we can even purchase goods from foreign countries. Some specific websites, like e-bay or Amazon, do provide customers with overseas services. To a large extent, this kind of online shopping connects the worldwide manufacturers and customers together and at the same time, it highlights the global commerce.
In addition, due to the Internet, it makes money transfer through online banking much easier. As an international student in a foreign country, it is always dangerous to bring all cashes with us. Fortunately, online money transfer service help students to handle with some emergency financial problems and keep them in safe.
Furthermore, the Internet provides some famous brand with a new stage to show their products, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermes usually do not promote their luxurious goods on the television. Instead, people can always go to their official website to appreciate those attractions. The Internet gives customers a great chance to get familiar with the products they want. And according to the statistics, the sales volume for Hermes skyrockets by 28% in the first quarter of this year in spite of the global economic downturn. (Katie Reid and Silke Koltrowitz, 2009) In fact, the above facts just indicate the significant power of the Internet. The impact of it is extremely huge and links world's commerce more closely.
However, sometimes the Internet does lead to a certain negative direction. The main crisis is clear to all that using of internet can cause criminal activities. 'First of all, the Internet has become an advanced vehicle for communications that sustains existing patterns of harmful activity through the circulation of information.' (April Pattavina, 2005:81) For example, in the early July this year in China, a severe riot broke out in Urumqi, Xinjiang autonomous region. The criminal gang members burned the shops, smashed private cars and threatened passengers' life. This malicious turmoil led to 140 dead and 828 injured. (People daily, 2009) Later as police found, the principal culprit just used the Internet to summon other offenders who share the same anti-government ideas to practice this astonishing activity. That is to say, the Internet can also be used as a dangerous tool to better serve the criminal activities.
Secondly, 'the Internet has created a transnational environment that provides entirely new opportunities for harmful activities. Examples of such activities include trading in sexually explicit materials, such as through interactive hardcore websites (including child pornography).' (April Pattavina, 2005:82) In the early 2008, a large amount of "naked pictures" between one Hong Kong celebrity named Edison Chen with several actress rapidly spread through the Internet. The pictures were uploaded by a PC repairman after he got Edison's laptop. This case totally ruins those public icons' life and leaves an immoral impact among the youth.
Thirdly, the Internet increases many types of fraudulent activities. I believe that most of people must have received some strange e-mails or phone calls from an unfamiliar person. The most common information people may receive in China is asking you to transfer money to a certain bank account. Unfortunately, there is a group of people being trapped in the lie. If we discuss further on the online cheating, in my humble opinion, I think the key influencer is too much privacy exposing. People are always asked to answer or fill in some basic personal information before register for some websites. It is quite easy for those computer professionals to grab our detailed information through the Internet. Above all, online cheating and the spreading of unhealthy information still dominate the cybercrime.
To conclude, people do benefit a lot from the Internet. Convenience, intimate contact and economy bloom stand out from the top priority. Although the Internet has some negative impact to the current society, we still can't deny seeing all the great changes the internet brings to us. After all, it is quite common to meet some obstacles or destructive elements while a new system is growing up. The Internet is still running in its fast lane, and any kinds of harmful influences could be allowed to emerge. That's also we can do to find and correct these shortages to better improve the service of the Internet. Overall, I still hold the idea that the advantages of the development of the Internet in the 21st century outweigh the disadvantages.
- April Pattavina (2005) Information Technology and The Criminal Justice, London: SAGE publication, INC
- CNNIC (2009) The 23rd Statistical Report on the Internet Development in China [online]. [Accessed January 2009]. Available from the World Wide Web: <http://www.cnnic.cn/indes/0E/00/11/index.htm>
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Commerce_Initiative (2007)
- http://leaders.people.com.cn/GB/9603509.html (2009)
- Katie Reid and Silke Koltrowitz (2009) REFILE-Crisis pushes men to therapy, women to handbags [online]. [Accessed 5th August 2009]. Available from the World Wide Web: <http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssApparelAccessories/idUSL536419020090805>