First of all

לפני כ-14 שנה קיבלתי במתנה את המודם הראשון שלי, מתנת בר-מצווה מקרוב משפחה מארה"ב. יחד עם המודם (אותו היינו צריכים ללכת במיוחד לשחרר מהמכס בחיפה כי הם לא ידעו מה לעשות איתו) הגיע מכתב ארוך וכמה גזירי עיתונות. בתוכנו של המכתב נזכרתי לאור מהומות הימים האחרונים בקשר להצעת החוק לסינון תכנים באינטרנט, ואני חושב שבתור פוסט פתיחה יהיה ראוי במיוחד להציג אותו כאן (חלקים נבחרים).

שימו לב במיוחד לקטע המודגש ולאזהרות. אני מזכיר שזה מכתב משנת 1993, לפני שמישהו בכנסת ידע מה זה אינטרנט או חשב לפקח עליה.

Today, however, a great new door – or perhaps “highway” would be a better metaphor – is opening up for those who wish to communicate around the globe. The basic skills one needs in order to travel upon it are fairly easy to learn, and, once learned, tend to stay in place (In fact, not very different from learning to drive a car). Far more subtle, are the skills of how to conduct oneself once on the “road”. (This is like the difference between knowing how to press on the gas pedal and turn the steering wheel, and knowing when to signal a turn or to yield the right-of-way.

A modem will give you the world. With it you can connect to some of the most exciting new developments happening all over the world. It will give you access to the vast wealth of programs and data which are distributed on bulletin boards and network services all over the world. It will enable you to participate in discussions with people near and far. It will give you the ability to exchange electronic letters which will take only hours (sometimes only minutes) to travel to the one or many people you wish, instead of days or weeks.

Of course, traveling the world’s information highway is not without its risks and dangers, just as traveling out in the world is not without risk. I have enclosed a collection of newspaper articles relating to the perils and pleasures, risks and treasures to be found in the internet. Please take the time to read them, and to be sure you understand the section labeled “Safety Tips”.

Of course, I am going to add some advice of my own:

(1) Think before you post. Take some time, especially at the beginning, to read the various points of view being exchanged on a topic, before you commit to sending in your answer for everyone else to read. …

(2) Remember that there is a cost for the time you are connected.

(3) Don’t give out too much personal information, such as your (physical) address, or when your parents are home. There are many strange and unfriendly people in the cyber world, as in the real one. But don’t let this discourage you – there are also some very nice people out there, as well. Again, see the “Safety Tips” article.

(4) Remember that not everyone is what he or she seems to be. On the Net, a person is his or her words, and can make up whatever personality he or she wishes.

Well, that’s about all I can think of to advise for the moment. Enjoy your connection to the world. It’s an exciting place. And please write to me. I will be looking for your letters.

המכתב נסרק בעזרת תוכנת OCR, ולמרות שערכתי מספר סבבי הגהה, ייתכנו טעויות.