Tagarchief: safety

Illegal drugs, something of the past?

There are an immense amount of discussions about legalizing drugs. A lot of people and parties seems to be in favour of the idea. But why? Aren’t drugs a bad thing? They weren’t illegal for nothing, right? In this blog, I’ll take you through the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing drugs.

Why should we legalize drugs?

Most of the violence associated with illegal drug dealing is caused by its illegality. Legalisation would enable us to regulate the market, determine a much lower price and remove users need to raise funds through crime. Our legal system would be freed up and our prison population dramatically reduced, saving billions. Because of the low price, cigarette smokers do not have to steal to support their habits. There is also no violence associated with the legal tobacco market.

Legalizing drugs makes the quality of them controllable. In this way, drug use will get much safer. This will prevent people from getting sick, infected or dying from the drugs.

Prohibition doesn’t work. There is no evidence to show that prohibition is succeeding. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What are the benefits of criminalising any drug?” If, after examining all the available evidence, we find that the costs outweigh the benefits, then we must seek an alternative policy. Legalisation is not a cure-all but it does allow us to address many of the problems associated with drug use, and those created by prohibition. The time has come for an effective and pragmatic drug policy.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.

Marijuana is already allowed in some American states for medicinal purposes and for some groups, the use of this drug will help thousands of people and even children who suffer from medical conditions. Cancer patients undergoing therapy and those who suffer from depression can benefit from the use of drugs such as marijuana for medical purposes.

On the opposite side, there are very good disadvantages to drugs as well.

Drugs contain chemicals and substances that can cause depression, allergic reactions and other effects. If any individual will be able to buy just any drug over the counter, addiction can result and worse, overdose.

If drugs will be readily available, businesses can commercialize on this and encourage people to buy and eventually be addicted. Even with drug prohibition, addiction is already an existing problem where relationships are ruined, careers dumped and some people become depressed pushing them to the point of ending their lives. These unfortunate events are often drug-related and legalizing drugs will make matters worse.

Drugs create a certain level of dependency. If one earns from a scam, he is likely to come back to it despite its known negative effects. Drugs work in much the same way. An acquired dependency can lead to a vicious cycle of drug use that may become unregulated over time.

In short, legalizing drugs has many advantages against a few, but very strong disadvantages. The discussion will always be going on and changes will be made all the time, but we seem to be moving in the direction of legalizing drugs. When we have a look at the opinion of fifteen of the Dutch political parties, we see that ten of them are for the legalisation of the goods. What do you think? Should drugs be legalized or should they be banned?

Sources:

http://www.urban75.com/Drugs/drugten.html

http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation

https://www.voc-nederland.org/2017/02/statements-15-politieke-partijen-legalisering-cannabis-voor-de-stemwijzer/

https://nyln.org/6-profound-pros-and-cons-of-legalizing-drugs

Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

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Online privacy invasion

Last Monday, a program called “De Grote Privacy Test” (the big privacy test) was broadcasted on Dutch television (www.NPO.nl). The program researches if the participants and the people at home know the risks of the invasion of privacy and online criminality. It reveals a lot about how much information is gathered about you and what is done with it. This is a big social problem. The producers want as much information as they can from the people who use their products so they can use it for their own purposes (and services). The users, of course, want to use the product but definitely don’t want an invasion of privacy!

It all starts when you buy or download a product: The Terms and Conditions. The never-ending list of vague text that everyone accepts without even looking at it. The Producers know this. It enables them to do almost everything, the customers will always agree because they don’t want to read the long lists. It enables them to use your camera, microphone, see all of your unprotected information and sometimes even download things! This brings insecurity and invasion of privacy.

The terms and conditions of iTunes are as long as the book: “Je hebt wél iets te verbergen” which has 264 pages!

Besides checking boxes and agreeing with terms and conditions, there are several other ways in which information from electronic devices can be ‘stolen’. For example: in the program “De Grote Privacy Test” a hacker, called Wouter Slotboom, showed a router he had bought. Everyone who connected to the WI-FI of this router got tracked and all the information gathered and used in those devices was from then available for him. He could see Instagram pictures, chats, web searches and even passwords!

The invention of social media worsened the situation enormously. A lot of things are shared and so, a lot of things can be found. Even things you delete can be copied or recovered.

The information that sites, apps, programs and other services or products gather can be used for advertisement, recommendations, predicting things and more. This sounds great, but when google tells me the traffic information on my route to school while I never searched for it, I get scared. How does it know that? What more does it know? I can’t tell this exactly, but it is sure that services like google know more than they probably should. All of this information could easily be misused. Think of this: someone has seen your information. He or she knows what phone you have and wants it. He knows when and how you drive to school in the morning. Easy catch, I would say.

I know you probably aren’t going to read the terms and conditions and you probably aren’t going to disagree with them either. So here 4 simple things that you can do to prevent some of these privacy invasions.

  • Using ad Blocker: Besides stopping ads from popping up on your screen, it also stops a lot of cookies and unwanted trackers from gathering and using your information.
  • When you use Google Chrome, you can enable ‘Incognito modus’. This will erase everything you do on the internet when you don’t use it anymore. This does not include photos, comments or other similar things you post but things like cookies, browsing history etc.
  • Watch out with what you do on the internet: be cautious with what you write, post and do online. Also: have a look at your privacy settings on your browser and social media.
  • Try searching safe alternatives for your social media. For example, Signal. It does the same as WhatsApp but it is privacy friendlier. Why leave WhatsApp? Well, it was bought by Facebook, which means that a lot of information can be used, just as on Facebook. (related article: “Facebook sued for invading users’ privacy” at http://www.Yahoo.com)

In conclusion, the internet knows a lot about you. Often too much. The upcoming of social media has greatly reduced privacy and your information is easily being misused or even being hacked! Terms and conditions are too long and are often misapplicated. They include all kinds of ways in which to collect personal data. This data is used or sold to other companies while it isn’t necessary for the service to work. In the 21st century, privacy seems to have disappeared. But we have to protect it, since it is not only a constitutional right but also a very big factor in our lives.

Author: Rick van de Sande