Aisha Naseem is a student and blogger

11:13 Gulf News: The internet threatens people’s right to privacy.

11:17 Shan Fazelbhoy: I’m against that statement. I feel you can get as involved as you want.

11:17 Shereen Mir: I, too, am against the statement. If an individual keeps his or her approach straight, has updated anti-virus and anti-spam software and thinks twice before posting anything and everything on social networking sites, then there can be no threat.

11:17 Shivshankar K.T.: The internet is a threat to privacy sometimes as a lot of identity theft is taking place. Things get very difficult if someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud. We all need to be cautious, especially when we communicate with a bank or share credit card information.

11:19 Shereen Mir: I agree that some undesirable incidents do occur on the internet but that’s probably because the affected person had been careless at some point in time regarding the information he or she shared and the people he or she shared it with.

11:20 Shan Fazelbhoy: So, actually, it is not the internet that threatens privacy, it’s the people themselves, who put too much of themselves out there.

11:22 Aisha Naseem: I can’t agree completely with that argument. We have come across multiple news stories about information being used for the wrong reasons or purposes. If it’s something as simple as a photograph, we may not know how the wheel is set in motion, and where the photo ends up getting published. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that a lot of people don’t give a thought to copyright.

11:28 Salim Mohammad: There are simple precautions that internet users are aware of but often do not take seriously. For example, changing your password occasionally and keeping unique passwords every time you make one. Also, check whether the browser you use is a secured one, as anyone today can make an exact copy of a website and the moment you log in with your credentials, your details are saved on the hacker’s database.

11:37 Gulf News: The internet has allowed easy access to extremist and criminal content.

11:38 Shivshankar K.T.: Yes, it is true. Because of its nature, it can be misused by extremists and criminals. Cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer and network intrusions are just a few of the threats. Cyber threats and scams have to be dealt with firmly and most of the countries have strong cyber-cells to control such scams. We should also be aware of how to report a cyber crime.

11:39 Shan Fazelbhoy: I agree with this statement since you have access to virtually everything!

11:41 Shereen Mir: I partially agree. Although I am aware of the increasing cyber-abuse cases, I would also like to include that if criminals and like-minded people want to commit crimes, they would do it in any way possible. When internet users get a little careless, that’s when they send an open invitation to cyber criminals.

11:41 Salim Mohammad: Yes. If you type anything on a search engine, any newbie can use the results for dangerous reasons. On the other hand, even though many of the social sites claim that they are 100 per cent secure, they inform the users to beware of hackers all the time.

11:42 Gulf News: The Web has helped promote entrepreneurship in a much more equal manner.

11:42 Shivshankar K.T.: Yes, as the internet’s reach is wide and anyone can start a business sitting anywhere. Getting and making contacts has become very easy. It is also easier and faster to promote a business. Nowadays, most of the deals are promoted and secured through internet. E-commerce is flourishing. The advantage is that you can buy anything sitting at home from anywhere in the world and have it delivered at your doorstep.

11:44 Shan Fazelbhoy: I agree with the statement as you can reach so many more people so easily. Finding information is very easy too. You can essentially do more with less. As I am in the online business and a blogger, I love that I can reach so many people. You don’t need massive funds for marketing as well, although here it is hard to get covered without a public relations company. But the cost for a brick and mortar shop would be far higher in every respect – space, manpower or utilities.

11:45 Aisha Naseem: I agree. Entrepreneurship is no longer limited to those who have the money. Anybody who has access and basic knowledge of computers can be as successful as anybody else, as long as he or she is passionate about the project. From personal experience, I have been approached by people for work. I love making paper crafts and toys with different ideas all the time. Internet gives you the platform and it is economical. You get to showcase what you love doing. The response you get is simply overwhelming.

11:47 Gulf News: The internet brings people closer and helps eliminate stereotyping.

11:51 Shan Fazelbhoy: I don’t think it makes us more tolerant and on the one hand people have the reach but also it makes people more reclusive. I don’t think it eliminates stereotyping. That is too deep-rooted to be changed so easily. People would not use fake pictures and wrong information if that were the case.

11:56 Aisha Naseem: The internet acts as a window to the world, quite literally. We understand that people belonging to a particular religion or culture or country are not the same. One bad experience doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Reading true stories about people who have fought the worst and surged ahead breaks the culture of stereotyping. You no longer classify or are classified based on a stereotype. One’s ability and attitude decides where he or she stands.

11:56 Shereen Mir: Yes I agree. Through the internet, we can get sufficient answers to our queries regarding different cultures, customs and traditions of people all over the world. We even get to interact with people of varying religious and cultural backgrounds. This helps us clear doubts and misconceptions.

11:56 Shivshankar K.T.: Yes, internet gives immense freedom to voice our views. It is definitely a platform to exchange ideas. Nationality or ethnicity has no role to play. What matters is that what you want to convey.

- Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor