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Last updated at 13:41 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

News Words: Information society

Data cables

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: information society


Clare Arthurs on: Information society

Other expressions with 'information'

information technology (IT)

the study of and use of computers and related systems for storing and using electronic information

Young people say computer use is one of their favourite activities "School use of information technology can be very scheduled - it's often structured around particular lessons, " he says ... (BBC News)

the information superhighway

the internet and connected computer networks

A multi-million pound technology initiative places rural Wales firmly in the fast lane of the information superhighway ... (BBC News)

information overload

a situation when you get so much information you are not able to think about it all clearly and it makes you tired and or confused

Phew, information overload. There's so much information about allergies it can all be a bit overwhelming. (BBC Switch)


a style of television programme which is a combination of information and entertainment

Strange that the Royal Family would not want folks to see this remarkable piece of infotainment ... (BBC News)

A challenge for you

Some people are worried these days that the information society makes it more difficult for us to protect our privacy.

Do you think that your data is safe online or are you concerned about this too? Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and don't forget to use the phrase 'information society'.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Eliza, China
I'll only talk about my own experience: I had used my real name on the internet, and my age, city and other information on my profiles were true. I also had use only one username on different sites. Once a contact on my msn searched my username on Google, then he knew my real name, address, phone number, posts on forums, blogs and other things. He told me about it, and warned me. It was when I realized that how unsafe and scary to put your real information on the internet. Now I've canceled all of my accounts, and deleted all of my information only to protect my privacy. I think people may not open their profiles unless they're celebrities, or who wants to be famous.

Sheyla, Germany
The information society has the problem to protect privacy on the one hand and to give freedom on the other hand. It is, in my opinion, better to be concerned about the data especially the issue of online banking. It would be a bad surprise to realize that somebody unauthorized has got this sensitive data of yours! But the possibility of, for example, online banking is so worthy that it would be uneffective for the information society to let it be. Security and protection is the most important thing in the www. Every user should insist on a safe usage with his data. This will be a signal that can't be unheard. Then the freedom of the users will become real.

Hoang, Vietnam
Nowaday, people almost can not live without information society, not only industry but also people's everyday life.whereas,sometimes it is not safely using internet.many people like uploading photos on the blog,unfortunately,usually their privacy photos are illegally copied by the other strange many people,i am keen on internet and concern about safety of my data online.therefore,i add a code that just for my real freind to enter my blog.i think it is better way can protect my privacy

Tatuli, Georgia
Look around. Do you see how many cameras watching you? They are in every corner. What for they are needed? To keep you from doing something wrong from one side and to protect you from another. It is the same with Internet. Information technology must have something to keep some people from wrongdoing in Internet and therefore to protect the rest of them. But the best way to protect yourself is to remember that Internet is a public place and not you closet…

Vania, Brazil
Today, privacy is something which everybody tries to keep. Although, many times we have been invaded by people sending us garbage emails. My email box is always getting messages from unkown people that I was the winner of something. Even though after I delete all, I go on receiving other ones. In my opinion, it is the face of two coins to live at the age of an information society; however, for one side it has been helping us to get all the news before starting the day. Although, on the another hand, every day I'm obliged to throw away all bad emails.It is the price to live in a world that is called developed so forth.

Eric, China
Many years ago ,we created acounts on a webstie using our real name and ID number where we could send messages and communicate with classmates. Finally we could be found by public searching engine. There was no doubt that the website sold our private information to make a profit. After that I never public my real information to website you don't trust. So in information society, you must know how protect privacy when you are using internet.

ly, China
Just think about what it was like ten years before, I can not believe how can I survive in a world without any new information except from TV and radio... Thanks to IT development, people are connected together and the differences between cultures, countries, religions were minimized to some extent, which help to improve our communication.

Erzsike, Hungary
I consider the information society a double-edged weapon which has its advantages and drawbacks as well. On the one hand it is useful, because more and more people can share information, which makes developing of the human race faster and faster. Firstly, being a private teacher, I also benefit from the advantages of the Internet access. I've got my own homepage, where I can advertise my service in a very effective way, more effectively than just placing an advertisement in a paper. I did that before, it doesn't work any more. People have to realise that in our age living without Internet access means backwardness that is failure to seize the opportunity given by the World Wide Web. Secondly, information society is a fast and cheap way of keeping touch with friends, families. Not only with distant people but also with close ones. There are several social networks such as Facebook and we've got Iwiw and Myvip, the two biggest ones here in Hungary. Thirdly, I couldn't imagine my work and my studies without the internet. Now, I'm sitting here in front of the computer, writing this "short" comment on this issue while practicing my writing skills. I always force my students to use BBC Learning English, for I find this site the most prepared, competent, and of good quality. There are, however, a number of other good sites as well.On the other hand, information society has also its own dangers. As for privacy, you can not hide if you are on the web. On the contrary, anybody, who has bad intention, can reach you. Let's think of e-banking, e-administration, e-mails, and social networks where we have to use passwords. A hacker might steal necessary information from our computer with viruses to reach our bank account, after that the only thing we can do is to say sensitive farewell to our money. Many people's personal data are impudently open for public scrutiny, which may make them careless victims of swindlers, hackers and other criminals. For this reason, I would never use my real identity on the internet. I want to enjoy its benefits maximally, but I protect - or at least I keep trying - myself from unknown and unnecessary evil.All things considered, information society is a very useful development of our modern world which has its own disadvantages. In the end, to answer your question: Nothing is safe online, and yes, I am concerned. Very, very concerned.

Selina, China
Nowaday, people almost can not live without information society,not only industry but also people's everyday life.whereas,sometimes it is not safely using internet.many people like uploading photos on the blog,unfortunately,usually their privacy photos are illegally copied by the other strange many people,i am keen on internet and concern about safety of my data online.therefore,i add a code that just for my real freind to enter my blog.i think it is better way can protect my privacy.

Shaji, Saudi Arabia
Of course IT is very important factor each and every business. Same time people has been mis using the IT in all meaning it leads to interfering the privacy, which means we are not safe.

Luciano, Italy
I think there are more risks to allow too personal information in the Net, but if you know the Site and it is protect for example with secure connection we haven't problems.

Qanh, Vietnam
Nowadays, we can't live without Internet. Through Internet, we receive any information we need. Beside, we also worry about that our previuos information will be read and used by other people to do not good things. We should except this state because we are living in "information society" where we have both positive things and negative things.

Roy Chan, Hong Kong
The Internet can help us to save many many times. It makes very convenience in our lives, such as e-banking and bidding. I use this serivces only at home. If aviod any losing. Don't use these services in the public areas.If we use the Internet carefully, it can improve our lifestyle.

Henry, China
In my opinion,everything has two modern society,the information society becomes more and more important.we will not feel embarrassed if we could have access to the Internet.AT meantime,we have to pay more attention to cut down our personal info on the internet to protect our privacy. To many rules to obey.

Tomoko, Japan
Whether our data is safe or not is depending on us. Facebook, for instance, both are available which is to show our pictures to every users or restricted friends. We could choose if we will show them to everyone or not during the process of uploading pictures. I am very concerned about this problem, I never showed my pictures except my friends. Showing our data to strangers is dangerous because they might be abused where we don't know. In fact, lots of Japanese people committed suicide because of being abused their private data. Thanks of information society, everything became convenient. We can communicate with foreigners, show our pictures each other through the internet. But in contrast, it has a huge risk to make people die, even make people feel unconfortable in a way.

Clara, Spain
We are living now a big revolution with information society. It has changed the way we are informed, the way we buy, the way we entertain, the way we relate with each others, the way we work and definetly the way we live.But this new information society has also its dangerous face, we put lots of personal and sensitive data in our computers or in servers, which lots of hackers and geeks have demonstrated can be stolen and used to commit delictive actions.No matter how many care you take to preserve your privacy, by means of security software,there is always someone who can uncover it by electronic means. As an example there are the last attacks to Google in China to steal user accounts, passwords and other sensitive information; and Google is one of the strongest giants in the information society. I think the best way to preserve your private data is not introduce them in the computer or in the net.

Mico, China
as you know. in the information society. many data on the line is open. even you set secretly. most of computer expert can also share it in some special way.

Nasrun, Indonesia
In fact, I can improve my English skills, coused of information society, when I connect to internet and I enjoy bbc LE. I'm not afraid of my privacy, be couse I know the rule.

Dório, Brasil
I think my data isn't safe online, because I use wireless net, and there are a lot of hackers, here and anywhere, with your antennas waiting de prefect moment for spy others PCs. I'm concerned about this too.

Carla Diéguez, Brazil
I think the information society is so fantastic, because i can go to every places in world and i can acess my datas in all places, without need to carry my stuffs (computers, pen drivers, portable hd). The internet provides the mobility for everybody.

Deimante, Lithuania
Nowadays people can't imagine life without internet, telecommunications, so without any doubt, a term 'information society' is absolutely reasonable. Nonetheless, as every good thing it has negative side too. For instance, a mission to keep computer totally safe is almost impossible, so our data is always in danger. Talking about my personally experience, I've faced with similar problem and my advice is to protect a computer as much as possible and use it wisely.

Seong-Mee, Korea
I think that Information society is useful to human.and nowdays it is necessary.But I believe that Information society is not always good. Sometimes I am afraid of my privacy being known by anyone.

Trinh, Vietnam
Obviously, the more people to connect to the Internet, the greater information they upload. Also, they spend too much time on the websites. Facebook, for example, is receiving a lot of information and they can sell the information of the users for the advertising companies, etc. In my opinion, the development of the information society, at the same time, means the loss of users privacy.

Jose D Gamez, Venezuela
I think some data is safe online because many people have access to general information. I have saw in the internet many search engine such as Google, Terra, etc., where you are able find general information about our countries such as agriculture, history, culture, the economy, population, education, natural resources, tourism services, scientist advance, technology , etc., that is part of information society. It's good has freedom access, because when you want to go to some place, you can to consult about it in the internet and make your schedule. Also you can investigate any topic for your studies or work. So we have other data which could be confidential and restricted only for the government use. Data in defense matter, strategic planes, currently scientific investigations, etc., if it's public, it would be a such violet of us privacy like nation. Also would be a violent of information society.About a personally information we could protect our data because actually in social reds as Facebook, Twitter, My space, Sonico, etc., strangers looking and using us information. When this social reds starting the meaning was 'communication' between we and neared people as family, friends and co-workers. This meaning was lost and the previously described situation is a such violet of us privacy and information society too.I'm worried because every day I have in my email address many emails of unknow sources, it to indicate that my information is using for strangers, marketing online promotions , 'religious and socials causes' ,etc and they don't have my acceptation for those purpose. Necessarily we could be protect our more relevant information society.

Elena, Spain
I feel enough safe in the net, but I try to have caution, but I used to buy a lot of things and my trips and my tickets and I never had problems

Hiep, Vietnam
Society today need more information,through computer networks people come near what they want. I think that private problems firmly is protected by legislation.


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