11.1 Questions: Social Dimensions of the Internet

Scope of the Internet

1. Describe the eight features that characterize the Internet today.
2. What are the main uses of the Internet?
3. Why are smart phones so vital to the increased use of the Internet? Give some figures for likely use in 2015.
4. How is content being self-generated? Give some examples.
5. Why do some believe that the latest developments argue for a revolutionary change in the Internet? Do you agree?

B2B Ecommerce Successes

1. Why is B2B ecommerce so important?
2. Give a detailed, two-fold grouping of B2B ecommerce constituents.
3. Analyze the current US electronic economy.

B2C Ecommerce Successes

1. List five areas in which online businesses have been particularly successful. Suggest why.
2. You're assessing the business plan of a new entrant into the online travel sector. Where would you be especially critical?
3. How could a new online real estate company be successful in today's difficult economic climate? What business model might be successful?
4. Your online brokerage company is losing customers. How could you compete with the big boys, and what sort of budget might be required?

eBusiness law

1. Provide three rules of thumb regarding the law as it applies to the Internet.
2. What should a contract with a web design or programming company cover?
3. Name six areas relating to intellectual property on the Internet.
4. How would you be wise in using any material apparently available for free on the Internet?
5. What do you understand by data privacy, and how does US legislation compare to that of France?
6. Briefly describe the legal considerations that apply to US companies with international business contacts. 7. Provide a checklist that a website is complying with US law.

eBusiness tax

1. What are the three areas of tax most affecting ecommerce?
2. How are state taxes handled in ecommerce? Give some examples of company compliance and noncompliance with the regulations.
3. What are the general provisions of Value Added Tax as it applies to European ecommerce?
4. Your (American) company has started selling educational films into the European Union. What VAT would it expect to pay? What steps should it take to ensure compliance with the regulations?
5. What tax advantages could be enjoyed by a. a UK subsidiary and b. a Korean subsidiary of an American corporation?

History of the Internet

1. Briefly describe the three phases in the development of the Internet.
2. Provide a brief history of American ebusiness over its last, commercial stage.
3. How does the European history of the Internet differ from that of America?
4. What are the difficulties in predicting Internet use in different countries? Give some examples.
5. What, in your view, are the most important Internet developments of the last five years?

India and China

1. Outline the main differences between China and India in their histories of ebusiness.
2. What are the main uses of the Internet in India?
3. How have international developments changed ebusiness in China?
4. Compare ebusiness in China and India now.
5. Describe a recent important ebusiness development in China and India. Why are they so different?


1. The Internet is the last free place on earth. Comment.
2. How are domain names handled? What are the latest developments?
3. Is company data generally secure on the Internet. What, if anything, still needs to be done?
4. How is Internet content blocked or censored? What are the ways of evading such control?
5. Suggest sensible policies regarding the Internet publication of sensitive material. Does recent history provide any useful guidelines?

Online privacy

1. What are the main threats to personal privacy on the Internet, and how serious are they?
2. Outline the legislation relating to online privacy in the USA.
3. How does Europe generally treat online privacy?
4. Suggest practical measures to improve online privacy.
5. Do you think online privacy is an an important matter? Give the arguments for and against.

The death of print

1. Why is the publishing industry in general so gloomy about prospects? Are they justified in this?
2. What are the reasons for the decline in traditional newspaper sales, and what could be done to reverse the trend?
3. Why are book publishers focusing on more restricted market segments?
4. What can authors do towards making themselves more marketable?

Intellectual property

1. What are the three types of intellectual property that relate to websites and the Internet generally? Distinguish between them.
2. What is copyright and fair use? What are the acts currently applying, and their main provisions?
3. Outline how patents apply and are obtained. Find an Internet patent and explain what it protects.
4. What are trademarks and why are they important? How can they be infringed, and what may be the penalties of doing so?

Welfare issues

1. Why do welfare issues apply also to the Internet?
2. Describe the varying attitudes to pornography, between countries and individuals.
3. What legislation is in place to protect children on the Internet, in the USA and elsewhere?
4. Why is online gambling restricted or prohibited, and with what success in the USA?
5. Outline the controversies over online drug dispensaries? Why have they arisen? What seem to you sensible approaches?
6. How successful has been legislation to improve web accessibility, in the US and abroad?

Cyber wars

1. Cyberwars belong to science fiction. Discuss.
2. How does the US military regard cyberwar, and why?
3. Outline, with the relevant acts, the legislative approach to its dangers.
4. What practical measures could be taken?

Internet prospects

1. Are you optimistic or gloomy about the prospects for the Internet? Why?
2. What are the main problems facing the Internet as used today? Suggest improvements.
3. Describe three developments giving grounds for optimism. What business models apply?
4. Provide your own predictions for the Internet, with reasons.