The Globe & Mail
Thursday, May 22, 1997
Letter to the Editor
page A24

Perils Exaggerated

Re: Injured Boy Crafted Bomb From Internet (May 6):

The article states that this unfortunate incident "underscores the issue of young people's access to dangerous information on the Internet". While I am very sympathetic to this young boy, I think it actually underscores the seemingly unlimited stupidity of human beings.

The fact is that young people cause a lot more damage and death by playing with matches than by accessing dangerous information on the Internet.

Your readers might wish to know that the public has had relatively easy access to bomb recipes, formulas for making gun powder, and information about a host of other potentially dangerous items for quite some time. Even the greatly respected multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains formulas for making gun powder. Blasting manuals for removing tree stumps from your yard are also available.

I've been using the Internet in my work almost every day for three years. I've never found naughty pictures "by accident" and I've never had dangerous or illegal information E-mailed to me. If people are accessing pornography or dangerous information on the Internet, the reason behind it is quite simple. They're looking for it.

What I have found on the Internet is consumer health information, unlimited educational resources, library catalogues, business directories, information on Acadian history, and many, many other topics. As a society, we cannot limit knowledge. It is what we do with knowledge that sometimes gets us into trouble. David Jones of the Electronic Frontier Canada said it best: "Preventing such injuries comes through education not regulation."

Sue Dirani

Copyright © 1997 by Sue Dirani. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.