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United States The Internet Technology

30% of Americans Aren't Ready For the Next Generation of Technology 191

sciencehabit writes: "Thanks to a decade of programs geared toward giving people access to the necessary technology, by 2013 some 85% of Americans were surfing the World Wide Web. But how effectively are they using it? A new survey suggests that the digital divide has been replaced by a gap in digital readiness. It found that nearly 30% of Americans either aren't digitally literate or don't trust the Internet. That subgroup tended to be less educated, poorer, and older than the average American."
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30% of Americans Aren't Ready For the Next Generation of Technology

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  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:28PM (#47364265) Homepage Journal

    Because in my circles, it's the smart people who don't trust the Internet.

  • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:30PM (#47364275) Homepage

    And those who are extremely educated fall into the "don't trust the Internet" group quite easily. How many security exploits do we need before people stop trusting in various internet services? But not trusting it doesn't mean we stop USING it! We simply alter our actions on the internet.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:37PM (#47364335)

    Depends on what you mean by trust... if you mean you think you should encrypt sensitive information and observe security precautions when dealing with money, personal information, etc... then that's just prudent.

    However, there are some that don't trust the internet as a medium in and of itself. And I would argue that that is a problem.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:42PM (#47364393)

    It reminds me of a quote from The Godfather II:

    Frank Pentangeli: Your father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth... but he never *trusted* Hyman Roth!

    . . . just replace Hyman Roth with The Internet . . .

  • by edibobb ( 113989 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:47PM (#47364433) Homepage
    I'm not ready to embrace new Windows 8 technology. I'm not ready to manage my finances on an insecure Android phone. I'm not ready to spend uncounted hours ingesting inane trash on social networks (unless there's a member of the opposite sex involved, naturally). I'm not ready to browse a web dominated by animated ads and twisted news. I am a obviously a Luddite.
  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:54PM (#47364483)

    It's not just about information you find. It's also about the technology itself.

    Computers these days come with browser that have default-enabled Javascript, Flash, Silverlight, Unity[1], Java, and who-knows-what-else. You can get 0wned just by clicking on a link, even an advertisement on an otherwise legitimate site.

    Some people are fluent in computers, and trust them. Other people are wary because they don't understand comptuers. But, experts are wary because they do understand computers.

    [1]Unity Web Player didn't exist back when I switched from Windows to Linux, so actually I don't know how prominent it is today.

  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:58PM (#47364535) Homepage

    Only a fool "trusts the Internet" - especially Wikipedia.

    It's funny, the other day, I was hanging out with a group that included several pretty top-level IT and networking folks, including some leading CS academics. Not one of us uses internet banking, or allows access of any kind to any of our financial accounts over the net. On the rare occasions that companies force the use of the Internet, the general response is to enable access only long enough to do the job, then destroy the Inet access account (best), disable net access (2nd best), or set the password to random gibberish that even we don't know or keep a record of. This forces a long, manual process to "reenable" the acccount that cannot as easily be done by an impostor. None of us "trust" the Internet, I guess.

    That was a real eye-opener for some of the younger "Internet-savvy" group, who all of a sudden realized that maybe they were opening themselves up far more than they realized, especially in a world where every WiFi network, even with WPA2, is now as open as the one at Starbucks...

  • by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:16PM (#47364689)

    70% of Americans are ready for the next generation of technology!

  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:39PM (#47364827) Homepage Journal

    nearly 30% of Americans either aren't digitally literate or don't trust the Internet

    For that to be true, over 70% of Americans must be BOTH digitally literate AND trust the Internet, which is impossible since anyone who trusts the Internet is not digitally literate.

  • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:51PM (#47364887)


    If you don't pay your bills on the Internet, you are a fool. Why? Because your bills are being paid online anyway, even if you are idiot enough to send a check, which is the most dangerous thing you can do with your financial info.

    You write a check, with all the info needed on it to completely wipe out your checking account (and savings, too, if you have overdraft "protection") on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope that couldn't more clearly scream "THERE IS A CHECK IN HERE" unless you literally wrote that on the outside, and it goes through many hands before getting to its destination which isn't even the company you are paying. If you look at most national account bills (credit cards, cell companies, cable providers, etc.) they all go to the same few places (usually somewhere in the middle of the country like IL) called "lock boxes" where a minimum wage worker opens your envelope, scans your check digitally, transmits the info to the respective banks, and completes the transaction electronically anyway. Oh, and they are supposed to shred it afterwards. You hope.

    The real problem is attacks on back end systems, or assault on terminals, like what happened to Target. Most of the time (almost all) fraud that happens on indivdual online accounts is by someone they know - usually a spouse or child. So if you don't trust them, or can't outwit them with passwords on your system, you have a much larger personal issue than lack of security on the Internet.

  • Re:Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:19PM (#47365043)

    More fun, reading AC comments claiming to be authorities.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:19PM (#47365047) Journal
    Where were you hanging out, the paranoia ward at the local hospital? - And get off my lawn before I call my luddite attack dogs.
  • by fisted ( 2295862 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:46PM (#47365153)

    I trust the Internet as a transmission medium -- so long as I'm using solid encryption.

    So you do not trust the Internet as a transmission medium.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:57PM (#47365189)

    He trusts the internet will deliver the packets. He doesn't trust that someone else won't try and read them along the way.

  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:17PM (#47365305) Journal

    My kids' school, they ban using Wiki for research.

    (Personally, I'd think that a perfect jumping-off point for teaching the difference between primary and secondary sources, critical reading, and source evaluation. But hey, what do I know, I'm not a teacher.)

  • Re:Funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:10PM (#47365887)

    > living without using the Internet is no less doable now than it was for the previous 5,000 generations.

    That is untrue. The internet has either killed off or made formerly standard things much more difficult.
    For example, classified ads are a wasteland because of the internet.
    Computer Shopper magazine is dead and gone, replaced by the internet.
    You can't buy a print edition of the encyclopedia britannica anymore.
    Book stores are much harder to find.
    Music stores are much harder to find.

  • Re:Funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:43AM (#47366601)

    What's hilarious about this to me is that I have yet to attend a educational institution that has access to a REAL selection of primary sources. If you were to try to check the works cited on a wikipedia article as a member of the general public and not as an ivory tower acedemic then you would encounter countless confounding paywall obstacles, and probably eventually end up on #icanhazpdf, or putting ~$400 in .pdfs on mommy and daddy's credit card. Total time reading that $400 worth of Adobe Acrobat? ~45 minutes to find a single primary source worth a damn

    -The local libraries have shit for academic journal selections.
    -I've attended 3 Community Colleges, 2 High Schools, & 1 Middle school. Not a single one of them even had a JSTOR account.
    -Ebscohost was the best available on any of them, and it is virtually worthless for finding any of the credible publications you actually encounter in the real world cited by real scientists.

    As far as I can tell, Ebscohost is only good for liberal arts bullshit where you need an editorial from a blogger at reuters to cite for your WR121 persuasive essay on legalizing midget bowling. You want to read about actual science you found behind a paywall with a google search? Tough shit, get ready to drop $40 at IEEE only to discover the abstract overstated their conclusions and the full text does little to no good to provide the information you're looking for. Here's a fun challenge: try to find a phase diagram for N-Pentadecane (C15 H32 / CAS #: 629-62-9) at your local public library/community college. Good fucking luck! I had to tread pavement to the nearest 4 year research university and wander in to their chemistry reference section to find a dead-trees book because I needed a student ID to get access to their electronic databases.

    This uphill battle is essentially why Aaron Swartz hanged himself. People attributed it to the DoJ but gave the academic journal industry that he was fighting a free pass. My tax dollars pay these PhD's government stipends and NSF grants yet I have to pay some trade society an annual membership due just to read the damn .pdfs? WTF?

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.