Bob Schieffer on the Internet's uncharted waters

CBS/AP

(CBS News) President Obama came out of his first meeting with China's new leader and said, "We are in uncharted waters" when it comes to dealing with cyber security. That may be an understatement.

The marvels of modern technology have thrust us into a whole new world that goes beyond the current controversy over government snooping and how we strike a balance between security and privacy.

We are in the midst of a changing culture where we are redefining the whole concept of privacy.

Younger people routinely post on Facebook things that those of my generation once hesitated to discuss in mixed company. Our phones and credit cards leave a trail of where we go, and we don't go many places outside the view of street cameras that monitor our speed (among other things).

A nation that has depended on a free press to provide it with independently gathered and (for the most part) accurate information, is now overwhelmed by information from all sides -- some accurate, much of it totally false, and a lot of it disgraceful and mean.

The Internet allows us to transmit the news instantly, and that's a good thing. But the downside is the nuts can find each other now, and find someone to agree with them, no matter how twisted or evil their logic. That is not so good.

You're right, Mr. President, these are uncharted waters, but I'm afraid there are some rough seas ahead before we reach shore.

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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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