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Internet Security: Trust or Control? Term Paper


Technological development has made people’s lives more comfortable. Such technological advances as the Internet can be regarded as one of the most beneficial inventions. The digital world enables people to communicate, study, do business, and so forth. Nevertheless, just like the real world, the Internet is vulnerable to various illegal activities. Cybercrime can pose considerable threats to individuals, companies, and even entire countries. The recent scandals associated with data loss, violated confidentiality and other issues show that cybersecurity should be one of the priorities. The present paper includes a brief analysis of one of the views on Internet security and the most efficient tools to ensure it.

Analysis Van Den Berg and Keymolen article

The article under consideration dwells upon Internet security and the way it can be improved. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) concentrate on the use of techno-regulation as a prevailing way to address various threats. The researchers argue that the common techno-regulation is not a panacea and trust-based tools should be used as a way to improve cybersecurity. The authors stress that the digital world is rather vulnerable, which has been acknowledged by the authorities. Nevertheless, excessive reliance on technological means of regulation has certain gaps as seen by the researchers. This paper includes an analysis of the authors’ views on the effectiveness of techno-regulation and trust-based tools as the most efficient alternative.

Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) claim that techno-regulation cannot be used as a primary way to address cybersecurity issues. The authors point at two major domains where this method’s imperfections are the most evident. These two areas include technological and human aspects. On the one hand, techno-regulation is characterized by increasing levels of control. The researchers emphasize that regulators tend to put more and more restrictions on the use of various products. Applications are developed in a way to prevent any possibility of breaches. On the other hand, it has been acknowledged that no digital product can be completely secure as there is a risk of certain violations due to the peculiarities of systems.

As for the human aspect, it is argued that the restrictions and excessive control hurt end-users who have a very limited set of options when using various digital products. The authors note that people are deprived of the possibility to use the products to the fullest due to the existing techno-regulations. According to Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017), the focus on techno-regulation can make it even undemocratic. The researchers point out that end-users’ behaviors are shaped by digital products’ architectures.

End users do not even realize that their actions are predetermined, which is one of the major violations of the principle of transparency. People want to know about the consequences of their actions, but this information is often unavailable due to the peculiarities of products’ architecture. At the same time, criminals are often able to violate the regulations due to their knowledge and skills. It turns out that the mainstream end-user will have to use products in specific ways even without knowing about limits and restrictions while criminals will still break the law. The development of new restrictions will result in a limited effect as there will always be people who may break into any system.

The researchers suggest an effective solution to the problem. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) state that techno-regulation can and should be used as one of the ways to prevent cybercrime. Nevertheless, this method should be facilitated by the use of trust-based tools and practices as suggested by the researchers. Trust is defined as “having positive expectations about the actions of others” (Van Den Berg & Keymolen, 2017, p. 7). When applied to the cyber world, trust can be an efficient way to ensure security. The authors note that trust is an indispensable part of the digital world as people trust technology. They share some data and do many things via the Internet, which reveals a high degree of trust.

One of the examples of trust-based techniques can be peer control. End-users may report any instances of inappropriate behavior online. This practice is rather common and has proved to be cost-effective as instead of monitoring the entire bulk of users, regulators may focus on those who could be violators. Such companies as Google can be regarded as illustrations of the use of this method. This company provides monetary rewards to people who break into their system. In this way, Google and other businesses manage to detect and eliminate various shortcomings of their products.

Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) also add that the strategy they outline can be successful as trust is an intrinsic element of the majority of the existing techno-regulation methods. It is stressed that people trust the developers of applications and other products and expect a significant level of security. End users expect that their data will be safe. Developers also reveal certain trust as they expect that their products will be used properly. The concept of trust can be further employed to enhance Internet security. The provision of personal details, the need to sign in, and other tools are deeply rooted in the principle of trust. They are also effective in preventing illegal activities as people whose identity is known are less likely to behave unlawfully.

The authors conclude that trust-based methods can be equally important in the process of ensuring cybersecurity. The authors mention the major limitations of technological means to maintain a safe digital environment. It is suggested that techno-regulation should also be in place, but it cannot be expanded. More control is regarded as the most probable but undesirable strategy. The researchers claim that trust, on the contrary, should become the guiding principle in cybersecurity. Peer review is regarded as a primary way to address any possible breaches.

Although the authors provide a detailed analysis of the matter and some valuable insights, their claim is rather conflicting. The extent to which techno-regulation is or should be employed, as suggested by the researchers, is insufficient for addressing the challenges of the present world. Likewise, trust is an indispensable element of cybersecurity, but its possible benefits are overestimated by the researchers. The balance between the two components should remain the same as techno-regulation should be the primary method ensuring Internet security with the necessary amount of control. Trust-based methods can be a supplementary tool that enhances the efficiency of the central strategies.

One of the major weaknesses of the authors’ claim is related to the degree of control and intrinsic barriers within digital products. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) place quite an excessive value on the ways people can use digital products. It is emphasized that the use of any application or other digital products is limited. In simple terms, each product can be useful in particular instances only. However, this is a normal way of using any product. People do not accuse car manufacturers of the limited use of their products because cars cannot be used for baking or carpentry. Likewise, people buying a video game do not expect it to be an organizer or a video editor.

Each product has a set of quite specific uses as there are no universal items that can be helpful in any situation. Moreover, any product can have intrinsic limits. For example, cars are produced with certain speed limits, which can be regarded as a barrier that helps in preventing car accidents and associated issues. There are also norms and rules aimed at the prevention of illegal use of various things. Besides, any object is prone to be used for unlawful purposes. For example, a knife serves as a tool for cutting food, but criminals often use knives to intimidate people or even kill them. Therefore, the authors’ claim concerning the vulnerability of digital programs and architecture is rather weak as any object can be vulnerable.

The researchers also add that techno-regulation is at risk of becoming undemocratic due to its lack of transparency. It is argued that people should be aware of all the laws and norms used to regulate their behaviors. Nevertheless, end users can find numerous laws and particular restrictions if they examine the corresponding rules. All the spheres of people’s lives are now under certain kinds of control. Driving a car, using a device, addressing medical staff, and many other actions are regulated to a different extent. The individual willing to know about the existing laws and restrictions should simply refer to the corresponding governmental website or authority.

Finally, the authors overestimate the relevance of trust and trust-based tools. It is necessary to admit that techno-regulation is not a perfect way to prevent any criminal activity in the digital sphere. As has been mentioned above, no structure or architecture can be completely safe. However, trust-based methods are as vulnerable as technology-based strategies. For instance, peers tend to have limited knowledge and skills that make it almost impossible for them to notice and report some suspicious practices. It can be difficult to address all the reports properly, and the chances of missing real threats are rather high. Finally, people may lose their trust in digital products if the number of violations and cybercrimes increases dramatically. As a result, end-users will stop reporting, and trust-based tools will not be effective.

It is necessary to admit that the authors would likely disagree with the views provided in this paper. They may disagree with the conclusions that are drawn. For example, they would insist on the importance of minimizing limits and barriers that are encoded in digital products to make systems secure. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) would argue that the increase in control and barriers can corrupt the nature of cybersecurity. The authors define Internet security stressing that it lies in “three domains: protecting the confidentiality of data, keeping the integrity of data safe and secure, and ensuring the availability of systems, networks, and data” (Van Den Berg & Keymolen, 2017, p. 3). The researchers would note that the introduction of more control can potentially violate the integrity of data and the availability of information and systems.

Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) are likely to emphasize the fact that the introduction of new limits and restrictions can make some important or valuable data unavailable. In simple terms, this overwhelming control could limit the benefits of cybersecurity measures and increase the costs that are paid by end users according to Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017). The authors would likely add that end users would try to evade many rules. People could start using illegal applications to avoid any control, which would negatively affect the sphere of cybersecurity in the long run. The imposed control would simply stop working.

Also, the authors could address my claim concerning the benefits of techno-regulation for end users who might accidentally break some laws. The researchers would like to stress that the major threat comes from intentional violators of regulations as the instances of random errors that cause some legal issues are not numerous. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) would likely add that techno-regulation has proved to rather ineffective when dealing with hackers and intentional breaches. The number of cases associated with data loss and hacker attacks shows that the existing technological tools cannot address all or even many threats.

The researchers would also argue that democratic principles cannot be neglected under any conditions. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) could state that instead of looking for some rules and laws, end users might need to see exactly what barriers are in place, which will be the manifestation of the principle of accountability and transparency. Many products have such data on the package, so consumers are aware of the risks or the corresponding regulations. Besides, the authors could mention that the introduction of more control can make developers less sensitive regarding the provision of data to end-users. Developers and regulators can start imposing new rules and regulations that can be unfair while people will have to follow these rules even without knowing about them. Van Den Berg and Keymolen (2017) would likely concentrate on the need to balance power and ensure that end-users’ rights are met.

The authors could also address my claim associated with trust and its possible disappearance. They could emphasize that trust is an important component of the cyber world. People trust systems as they provide their data, confidential files, and so forth. However, the authors could argue that the abundance of restrictions and barriers could undermine end-users’ trust. Instead of making trust-based tools ineffective, the lack of trust could lead to people’s limited use of digital products.

As for my personal view on the matter, I only partially agree with the authors. I also think that the number of restrictions does not translate into complete security. Unfortunately, there will always be people willing and able to break laws and engage in illegal actions. This must be human nature that makes people seek ways to break into systems, steal money, and so forth. It is clear that any Internet product is prone to attacks and can be used in unlawful activities. Therefore, it is crucial to use any possible ways to address the issues associated with Internet security.

I believe techno-regulation should be the primary strategy to ensure cybersecurity. Other practices should also be in place as cybersecurity needs a comprehensive and multidimensional approach. All possible means of crime prevention and detection should be utilized. Trust-based methods should be a part of these cybersecurity measures, but they cannot prevail. The provision of technical barriers is an efficient way of addressing involuntary violations, which is one of the central objectives. People may break some laws without even being aware of their illegal activities. The use of techno-regulation helps these people remain law-abiding citizens instead of running a risk of breaking the rules and being punished.

I cannot share the authors’ views on the lack of transparency and an abundance of barriers. I see these features of digital products as normal and inevitable. Our lives are full of restrictions, barriers, and laws, so it is but natural that these elements are brought to the digital world as well. For me, it is irrelevant to know how else I could use this or that product in different situations. I purchase items and services to satisfy particular needs. Therefore, I do not suffer from any limits or barriers. I am sure mainstream users feel the same.

I also believe that trust can be used as a tool for the identification of possible or real threats. However, this application should not be regarded as a practice equal to techno-regulation. Trust-based methods are supplementary although they can help enhance security. Google can be seen as an example of the company using trust as a tool to improve the security of their products. The company is one of the leaders who entrusts the detection of errors and defects to end-users. The identification of errors is an important step in the elimination of various security issues. However, the developers of applications still put the necessary limits and barriers to make sure that their products will be used properly. I am sure that trust-based strategies are and will be an element of techno-regulation. These methods are instrumental in detecting the flaws of systems. After their analysis and the development of effective tools to avoid certain threats, developers can introduce the corresponding limits and barriers that enhance cybersecurity.


In conclusion, I would like to note that cybersecurity has become a matter of national security as the real and digital worlds are merging in some areas. My firm belief is that cybercrime will persist, and there are no effective ways to prevent it. The history of crime in the real world shows that criminals will still break the law. However, regulations and rules can bring more order. Since the digital world is a creation of technology, techno-regulation seems a logical solution. Of course, it is necessary to keep control within certain boundaries and limits, but the developers of digital products must add barriers to ensure security. Trust-based methods are already a part of techno-regulation and are likely to be used in the future. However, it is also important to remember that the voices criticizing techno-regulation should be taken into account with caution. Some claims provided by opponents of technological strategies are not valid.


Van Den Berg, B., & Keymolen, E. (2017). International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 31(2). Web.

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