[unisog] Educating Users - Network Driver's License

marchany at vt.edu marchany at vt.edu
Tue Aug 7 22:07:03 GMT 2001

I always like to stir up a discussion by contrasting the Internet Usage model 
and the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) model :-). I've always thought we should 
have a "Network Drivers License" to EDUCATE people on responsible Internet 
behaviour. Consider the following parallels.

1. Some people are mechanically challenged with cars, if there's a problem, 
they'll take it to a mechanic.  Some mechanics are good, others are terrible. 
These people don't care how the car works, only that it gets them where they 
want to go, when they want to go.

2. Some people like to tinker with their cars. They'll tinker regardless of 
whether they actually know how to work on the problem. The trial by error 
method seems to work for them. They like to soup the cars up to make them more 
efficient. Getting to a destination seems almost irrelevant, it's HOW you get 
there that's important.

3. Everyone is legally required to get a driver's license. People do drive w/o 
licenses and this isn't a problem unless they run afoul of the law. You get 
the license by taking a test and parallel parking your car (I may be showing 
my age here :-)). You learn to drive on the proper side of the road, obey 
traffic signs and lights (and know what they mean) and protect yourself in 
case of an accident (how to steer out of a skid, etc.). You can obviously take 
more classes to become a better driver and there are trucker's licenses, 
motorcycle licenses, chauffeur licenses, etc. You want to race cars? You get 
additional training somewhere. Everyone has a minimal level of driving 

4. You get car insurance to protect your car and your investment. Your 
insurance rates may rise if you have a lot of accidents, fall within certain 
demographic patterns, etc. If you don't have insurance, you may have to pay 
for any damages caused by your car. Yes, there are people that drive with no 
insurance, cause accidents and the repair cost is never recouped from them.

5. Car manufacturers are regulated to provide certain safety features in their 
products (Flame suit ON!). This regulatory practice was deemed necessary 
because the manufacturers would tend to make decisions based on economic 
factors. They argued that they were simply meeting customer demand....that if 
the customer wanted seat belts, they would demand it.

6. Driver's licenses didn't just appear overnight. It was a process that 
evolved as a result of road mishaps, education, safety issues and some 
frequent spectacular crashes. The home DSL market will be a threat to Internet 
Security unless the end users get some education on responsible use.

I was quoted in Computerworld a while ago saying that liability lawsuits will 
be a factor in Internet security. I still believe that. Insurance companies 
will drive that issue home to the consumer. You get rewarded (lower premiums) 
for following certain established security practices. No one is forcing you to 
do so but it'll cost you more if you don't.

Anyway, I think EDUs are the "Driving Schools" for future home Internet users. 
Why not help fix the problem? There are a number of schools that have great 
initiatives (JMU, UVA, Stanford, UMich and others) so the model can work.

Just my .02.

	-Randy Marchany
	VA Tech Computing Center
	Blacksburg, VA 24060
	marchany at vt.edu

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