[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Click Online's regular feedback slot allows you to have your say on issues mentioned in the programme and other technology matters.

A few weeks ago we highlighted how more and more websites providing content are asking us to register our personal details before letting us in, and explored some of the ways to protect our identity while surfing the web.

That provoked many responses, including this from Belinda in the UK:

"I never put my true details into online forms. I put a false phone number and false e-mail address. If I need a reply I put a real e-mail in, but not my phone!"

Sounds sensible not to divulge your phone number to too many people, if only in the interests of privacy. Information has a habit of spreading very quickly online.

Do not forget that if you need an e-mail address but do not want to use your regular, personal one you can always set up a temporary one, or open a new account with one of the many free e-mail services out there.

But it is worth noting that if you provide false details, you are technically breaching the terms and conditions of most e-mail providers.

Last week we got more controversial, looking at ways to completely cover your tracks online.

We looked at a system called Freenet, which allows files of any nature to be shared absolutely anonymously amongst individuals. Because the sender and recipient can't be identified, Freenet can be used by everyone from political dissidents to child pornographers or terrorists to exchange material or distribute information.

This topic really got you talking. Should software like Freenet be outlawed on the ground that it is ethically irresponsible? Or is it a symbol of freedom which should be respected regardless of whether we might approve of what's being sent through it?

Grand McDonald in New Zealand takes the libertarian view:

"Regardless of how some people choose to use the Internet, the rest of us have a right to privacy in our legitimate affairs. Privacy is the foundation of freedom in a civil society. We should not contemplate for a minute the idea of sacrificing it because of the unpalatable affairs of a few.

"People who want to live in a free society have to learn to accept freedom for all. I abhor child pornography just like the rest of us, but one shouldn't get too precious about other people's activities - that's what Big Government wants us to do."

That is an opinion shared by Vanessa:

"Let me ask you what you prefer, an entity that knows it all, and more often than not misuses its powers using the common man as a mere means to an end, i.e staying in control at the expense of a lot of freedom; or freedom from such an entity where that freedom is sometimes used for things we do not like?"

Vince thinks otherwise:

"I did not think it was a question of moral dilemma, or freedom. It's about people who want to look at child porn. And I think all that participate should be held accountable. The fact that info on your computer is encrypted and with little bits and pieces, does not change the fact it is there to facilitate the activity."

This debate is set to run and run.

On a somewhat less philosophical note, we had a lot of more mature viewers who were struck by our recent interview on the design of hi-tech goods, in which our analyst noted that tech manufacturers tend to be ignoring the over 45s.

We have had e-mails by the gigabyte on the matter, including this one from Jorge in Oman:

"The feature they should add on the mobile phone is visibility of the text. When you are over 40 your visibility tends to deteriorate."

And this from Leszek Luchowski, in Poland:

"I wore down three pairs of shoes shopping for a radio for my father, or a mobile phone for my mother. I never found a really adequate choice for either.

"Electronic devices are made by young electronics engineers, for young electronics engineers. Ever more functions in ever smaller buttons, and if you can't see a 1.2mm icon you're more likely to find better eyes to buy than a phone with bigger icons. By the way, I am 45 and happily e-mailing you from my Motorola E398."

After reading all your e-mails on the matter we were tempted to ask who is the oldest techie we have watching Click Online, just for fun.

Then this email arrived, from Victor Hackney, Manchester UK and Duesseldorf:

"I am disturbed sometimes with the younger generations referring to the old men, who they think know nothing about computers. I have several contacts here and in Germany in their late 60s who, like myself, build computers and design databases. By the way I am 78 years of age."

We think he wins. Or does he? Octogenarians, nonagenarians - if you are reading please get in touch!

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0745. Also BBC World.

Challenges of anonymous surfing
02 Sep 05 |  Click Online
The cost of online anonymity
12 Sep 05 |  Click Online
Why technology misses the masses
02 Sep 05 |  Click Online


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific