Should using a computer require a geek license?

By Sterling “Chip” Camden
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

A criminologist in Australia thinks maybe so.  According to Russel Smith of the Australian Institute of Criminology, the simultaneous rise of cyber-crime and suckers born per minute has led to a crisis that requires government intervention.  Quoting Mr. Smith:

There’s been some discussion in Europe about the use of what’s called a computer drivers licence –  where you have a standard set of skills people should learn before they start using computers.

At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous in the way that they can make people vulnerable to fraud.

In the future we might want to think about whether it’s necessary there be some sort of compulsory education of people before they start using computers.

People who fall for the various online frauds often do not bear the cost of their mistakes.  When a credit card is involved, banks usually eat the cost if they can’t prove that the customer colluded with the perpetrator.  Those costs get passed on to consumers.

But I for one do not see licensing as a good solution to the problem.  I don’t know how it works in Australia, but here in the US whenever the government lends a “helping hand” it usually means putting their hands into our pockets and helping themselves.  What, are police going to be peeking into bedroom windows to see if anyone is computing illegally?

Would licensing really help?  Judging from how well licensed drivers do on the road, I’m skeptical.

How about if banks change their policy so you have to pay the cost of the fraud if you could have prevented it by having the brains that evolution gave to a chipmunk?  Negligent stupidity.  That might make computer users get a little more savvy before they enter that credit card number on