Monday, March 15, 2010

How to Bridge the Digital Divide?

The digital divide is a global problem, which several states have to face in their efforts to implement more e-governance. This article focuses on how a state can work to raise the level of the citizens' IT-skills so that citizens can become an active part of the information society. The focus is on how the digital divide is defined in accordance to a theoretical framework, present empirical data and a political perspective. In addition the existing political initiatives to bridge the digital divide in relation to the empirical findings and the theoretical definition will be assessed. This article illustrates the gap between the current public initiatives and the theoretical understanding of the digital divide.    

Monday, November 17, 2008

Surfing the Web Anonymously – Questions to Ask

When you surf the web it is possible to learn information about you even when you don't want to advertise who you are. This is true even if your system contains no virus or malware software. Specifically information that is easily available online includes your IP address, your country (and often more location information based on IP address), what computer system you are on, what browser you use, your browser history, and other information. It gets worse. People can get your computer's name and even find out your name if your machine supports programs like finger or identd. Also, cookies can track your habits as you move from machine to machine.

How do people get this basic information about you?

When you visit another web site, information about you can be retrieved. Basically, information is intercepted and used by others to track your Internet activities.

How do you stop this from happening?

First of all, it is possible to serf the web anonymously and thereby stop leaving a trail for others to find. Note that this is not fool-proof, but it makes it much harder for people to know who you are. There are products called anonymous proxy servers that help protect you. The anonymous proxy server replaces your Internet address for its own. This has the effect of hiding your IP address and making it much harder for people to track you.

How do I get an anonymous proxy server?

There are many vendors who sell anonymous proxy servers. There are also free proxy servers available to you. Two such products are ShadowSurf and Guardster. Guardster ( offers various services for anonymous and secure access to the web, some paid as well as a free service. ShadowSurf ( ShadowSurf provides anonymous surfing at their site for free. Go to it and you will find a box to enter a URL that you want no one to track. There are many others, but here are two that are frequently used.

Another interesting product, given the recent news about the Google search engine filtering its findings for the Chinese government, is Anonymizer ( This company, among others, recently (Feb 1st, 2006) pressed that it "is developing a new anti-censorship solution that will enable Chinese citizens to safely access the entire Internet filter-free" (

Does an anonymous proxy server make you 100% safe?

No. Still, you are much better off if you use such technology.

What other things should I be concerned about when trying to keep my private information private?

Three other items come to mind when trying to keep your information private. First, you can use an encrypted connection to hide your surfing. This article does not go into detail on this, but search the web and you will find a lot of information on this. Secondly, delete cookies after each session. Third, you can configure your browser to remove JavaScript, Java, and active content. This actually leads to limitations, so you need to think about the cost/benefit of this course of action.

Anything else?

Wishing you happy and safe surfing!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

3 Quick And Easy Ways To Build A Profitable Opt In List

You finally realize that you need a good opt-in list. After reading countless articles and sought expert advices and have read many success stories of people creating a small fortune with opt-in lists you finally decide to have one of your own. Then it happens, you think you have known everything there is to know about opt-in lists and have followed their advices to the T and you still weren’t able to make a profit.

In fact, you may be losing money. You maybe hiring writers to help you out, or there are some expenses incurred, even if you have a big list, but only a very small percentage actually buys from you, your still losing profit. You’ll realize that after a few months when you see your statistics and sales figures.

So what could have gone wrong? Why have others succeeded where you have failed? The most common mistake is that you dived straight right in. You chose a topic where you think could be quite popular and would earn you money. This just not the case. Just because you wrote people from the list doesn’t mean they are going to buy instantly.

Here I will offer more advice, for those who have started an opt-in list and have failed, you can rejuvenate your failed venture. For those who are starting, here are three quick and easy ways to build a profitable opt-in list.

1) Get your customers to trust you and your products first. Just launching your opt-in list would not make you an expert and a believable seller. Put many articles first before you start an opt-in list. Write about the topic you know and have started and used for your site. Try to put forums first to gain knowledge about your customers about their wants and needs and target those wants and needs.

Join forums from other sites as well. Provide expert advices and recommendations. When you feel that people trust you already, you will be able to start your own opt-in list. You can build a base as well with other forum users. You can ask them to join your list. Friends are always good customers. Put up a link to your site so that they may be able to see what you're business is all about.

The certain truth is, the money will only come in when the consumers and subscribers believe and trust in you. They want a product or service that could be a good exchange for their money. People are not going to buy something out of your recommendation if they don’t know you.

2) Find a product or service that people want and need. Although it may not be your forte, if you provide a service and product that you have researched and learned about well, you can carry it on forward. Invest your time, effort and money that you could sell as well as the buyers or subscribers of your opt-in list can use.

While it is true that it is best to sell something that you have interest in, there are not many people who have the same interest as you if you decide to sell something that is not entirely popular or profitable. Do your research well and you would see the profits come in. Also provide your subscribers with promotional material that they could actually use and spread around.

3) Make friends with other opt-in list users. This is basically beneficial especially if it is someone who has already launched a successful opt-in list. These are people that have the experience in this venture and experience is still the best teacher. While there are many articles available for you in the internet to use, there is nothing like getting a first hand account from someone you trust.

Experienced opt-in list users will be able to tell you what to do and what not to do because they have gone through it. While different situations occur for different people, the general concept can still be very helpful. There are many things to avoid and these people will be able to tell you which ones.

Building a profitable opt-in list don’t just happen overnight. There are many preparations and effort to do. Opt-in lists are built from scratch, as your list grows, you should also maintain the quality of your list. Keep it organized and manageable. Get or hire help if need be, just make sure that your subscribers are happy and satisfied and they will be willing to buy from you.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Name, Rank and Social Security Number

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. The U.S. Secret Service has estimated that consumers nationwide lose $745 million to identity theft each year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the average victim spends 607 hours and averages $1,000 just to clear their credit records.

Identity thieves employ a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. They may get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing it; by bribing an employee who has access to records; hacking into records; or conning information out of employees. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may use it to commit a fraud or theft in your name.

How can you tell if you have become a victim of identity theft? Some signs include unexplained charges or withdrawals from your financial accounts; bills or other mail stop arriving (the thief may have submitted a change of address); a credit application is denied for no apparent reason, or debt collectors begin calling about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.

Your computer can be a goldmine of personal information to an identity thief. To protect yourself and your computer against identity theft consider:

• Updating virus protection software frequently. Consider setting your virus protection software to update automatically. The Windows XP operating system also can be set to check for patches automatically and download them to your computer.
• Not opening files sent to you by strangers, clicking on hyperlinks, or downloading programs from people or companies you don’t know.
• Using a firewall program, especially if you use a high speed Internet connection like cable or DSL that leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
• Providing your personal or financial information through an organization’s secured website only. While not fool proof, a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for secure), may provide additional security.
• Not storing your financial information on your laptop, unless absolutely necessary.
• Deleting all the personal information stored on a computer before disposing of it. A wipe” utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive is recommended.
• Checking with an anti-fraud education organization such as CardCops ( Card Cops runs a web site designed to help consumers determine whether their credit card numbers may have been stolen. They monitor Internet "chat rooms" where identity thieves illicitly trade and sell stolen credit card numbers. CardCops turns the information over to law enforcement authorities, but also allows consumers to access their database to see whether individual card numbers may have been stolen. In the first two months of operation, the site identified more than 100,000 stolen credit cards.

As with any crime, you can not completely control whether you will become a victim, but you can take steps to minimize your risk by remaining diligent and by minimizing outside access to your personal information.


About Encryption and Making Your System Secure

What does encryption do for me?

Encryption and cryptographic software has been used in many different ways to make systems more secure. This article discusses only a few ways that such software can make your system more secure, including:

1) Encrypting your email
2) Encrypting your files

To programs are mentioned that will help encrypt information. There are many more programs out there that will help, but these programs are good and a good place to start as any. They have the added benefit of both being free with source code available.

Will encryption stop people from accessing my information?

Encryption simply makes it harder for people to gain access to important information, like passwords or sensitive information in a file. The first thing you should know about encryption is that the algorithm that is used to encrypt can be simple or more complex and that affects how securely what you have encrypted is protected. Encryption systems have been broken when the method of encryption is understood by hackers and is easy to break.

Why bother to encrypt my email?

It should be noted that email is far less secure than paper mail for two very good reasons: first, electronic data can be accessed easily over an Internet and secondly, electronic data is really simple to copy. There is a very good chance that someone has snooped around in your email despite your best intentions to stop it.

How do I go about encrypting my email?

There are many programs out there that can help you encrypt your email. A very popular one is PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or its Gnu offshoot GPG.

PGP ( self-describes itself this way: This "is a program that gives your electronic mail something that it otherwise doesn't have: Privacy. It does this by encrypting your mail so that nobody but the intended person can read it. When encrypted, the message looks like a meaningless jumble of random characters. PGP has proven itself quite capable of resisting even the most sophisticated forms of analysis aimed at reading the encrypted text."

Why bother to encrypt my files?

The answer to this boils down to what you store on your computer. If you have financial data with important information like social security numbers, email addresses, account numbers and passwords, then you open yourself up to losing very valuable information. Most corporate Internet security employees will attest to the widespread theft of very valuable information. As long as you are connected to the Internet you are vulnerable.

How do I go about encrypting my files?

AxCrypt File Encryption Software ( Self-described as "Free Personal Privacy and Security for Windows 98/ME/NT/2K/XP with AES-128 File Encryption, Compression and transparent Decrypt and Open in the original application."