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May 26, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-05-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 26, 1998

Edited and managed by CHRIS FARAH DAVID WALLACE
students at the Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the
(110)01 oad. llotfta riaI lttr ,n
420 Maynard Street majority of the Dailiseditorial boaal.^Al other articles. letters'and
Ann Aorbor, M 48109 do not necessaric rclcct the opinion of The lichi gan Iaile.

The Ann Arbor community is looking
into the possibility of designing an
innovative community facility geared
towards teenagers. This facility would be
an ideal place for teens to congregate
during their free time. But in order for
this facility to become a reality, organiz-
ers of the project are hoping that the city
will contribute $20,000 in addition to
the $50,000 they have previously accu-
mulated through grants and fund-rais-
If the center becomes a reality, teens
would be able to enjoy such attractions
as music, big screen televisions, pool
tables and study sessions. The goal is to
provide teens with a healthy and sup-
portive environment. So far, Ann Arbor
teens have shown a great deal of interest
in the project. Teens have gathered and
organized much of the support for the
center. Also, a recent survey of Ann
Arbor teens confirmed the popular
desire for the construction of the center.
The initial request for funding from the

Point of interest
Ann Arbor should support proposed teen center

city came last week, when several of the
teens involved in organizing this project
voiced their support at a city council
A number of Ann Arbor businesses and
organizations back the student efforts,
including the University and the YMCA.
And the $50,000 already raised shows that
the commitment of students, parents and
local supporters is paying dividends. The
support of the city itself would energize
the organizers' efforts and lend the credi-
bility of another impressive supporter to
the cause - a move that would encourage
even more community support.
Furthermore, such a contribution would
show that the city is striving to create a
safe environment for children and young

In addition to recreational attractions,
those planning the teen center should
look to establish other useful resources.
The center should include an office to
help students looking for work find part-
time or full-time jobs. Students wishing
to perform community service should be
able to find the proper outlets through the
center, and those approaching their colle-
giate years would be well served if the
center offered advisors and hosted pre-
sentations from different colleges.
While many of the aforementioned
functions are already a part of high
schools, the center can pick up where
schools leave off. High schools should
remain the focus for providing students
with advising, service projects and job
placement. But most high schools close by

late afternoon. Students need a place to go
once the doors lock, and the center is the
ideal site to provide resources similar to
the schools.
In a day and age when parents mu1
worry where their children are, the goal of
building a recreational and educational
facility for teens will bring comfort to con-
cerned parents. Opening a place that caters
to teen interests and provides activities
would head off problems before they could
start. And in addition to entertaining them,
the center possesses a great deal of poten-
tial to improve students academically and
make them more attractive to prospective
The establishment of a teen center
would enable young adults to positively
explore the community around them, gain
educational experiences and present an
opportunity for them to foria iewf riend-
ships. Young adults in high school often
feel overlooked by authority figures, and
this is an opportunity to reach oUt that the
city should not let go to waste.

Blmded wolth science
Results of genetic testing should be private
Tast week, the Michigan Commission of know the proper premiums to charge rela-
Genetic Privacy and Progress held a tive to the risk the companies incur.
public forum to discuss ethical issues sur- Insurance companies do exist to turn a
rounding the field of genetics. Of great profit, and knowing the indications inher-
concern to the public is the desire of insur- ent in a person's genetic code could cer-
ance companies to have access to genetic tainly help them increase their revenue.
test results. The commission must support a Many people fear that if insurance com-
person's right to keep his or her genetic panies are able to know the results of genet-
information private. ic testing, their premiums will unfairly sky-
As the science of genetics advances, rocket. At this stage, genetics are an inexact
researchers continue to discover the func- science and many tests only reveal the like-
tions of individual genes and the ways they lihood that a person may develop a partict-
affect the body. Many serious diseases are lar affliction - not the certainty that such a
hereditary, and science is trying to develop problem will result.
techniques for manipulating genes to The commission and the government
improve a person's health. Already should support that a person's genetic test
researchers are able to identify many genes results are his or her own personal informa-
that cause a serious illness or at least indicate tion and that they do not fall in the insurance
a higher than average potential for one company's domain. Already, some people
developing as a person's life progresses. choose not to undergo genetic tests in the
Tests for hereditary diseases such as colon fear of increasing their premiums or losing
cancer exist, and these tests can help save their coverage. The government must step in
lives. With the knowledge that they are at to alleviate such fears so that people do not
risk for severe illness, people may start tak- preclude themselves from receiving preven-
ing preventative measures early in life that tative treatments that could save their lives.
decrease the chances of sickness. Also, the government and insurance
Genetic tests reveal very personal infor- companies must realize that genetics only
nration; after all, genes are the foundation play a limited part in a person's health.
that provide people with their distinctive People's lifestyles impact their health just as
traits. Because the field is so new, the ethical much as their genes. Charging a person
issues inherent in dealing with people's more because of a gene that indicates a high-
genes have not been entirely fleshed out yet. er risk of cancer would not be all that differ-
The commission's objective is to compile a ent from charging a person more because
report that legislators can use when design- they eat high-fat cheeseburgers often.
ing laws that define a person's rights con- Allowing insurance companies to use
cerning his or her genetic information. Here genetic tests gives them as unreliable mea-
is where the conflict between insurance suring stick for setting premiums and hurts
companies and private citizens begins. people who may hesitate to get tests in the
Insurance companies feel that they face of rising insurance costs. The govern-
must have access to any and all genetic ment must step in to prevent profit from
tests their customers undergo. Without eclipsing people's ability to afford insurance
such access, they argue that they will not and seek proper care.

Ast of otder
As technology develops, so must security

T he - nation received two stunning
reminders last week that the modern
technology so many people depend on
operates in a very fragile state. The mar-
velous new ways in which people commu-
nicate with each other the 1990s have
made people take things such as pagers
and the Internet for granted. But as tech-
nology races along at an exponential rate,
the security far such developments lags
behind. Those that use and develop new
technology must also take steps to ensure
that new conveniences remain reliable and
The most noticeable upset last week
occurred when the Galaxy 4 satellite spun
out of its orbit, leaving countless pagers
out of order. For the better part of a day,
the majority of the country's pager users
lost their ability to stay in constant com-
munication. Many professionals scram-
bled to set up other 'means of being
reached. Perhaps most scary of all, numer-
ous doctors and EMS personnel lost a tool
they depend on for quick responses to
emergencies. While they made other
arrangements - some doctors simply
remained at the hospital - the results
could have been tragic.
The other shot to the nation's confidence
came in the form of a think-tank of hackers
which testified before Congress as to the
vulnerability of the government's computer
systems. The hackers made it clear that they
could shut down the Internet in a short peri-
od of time, perhaps even a half hour. In
addition, hackers may already possess the
ability to breach such important areas as the
Department of Defense and the Federal
Reserve. There is no telling the amount of
damage a misanthropic hacker could do
with access to these sensitive areas.

As technological innovators continue to
develop better mousetraps, society as a
whole gains a false feeling of invulnerabil-
ity. In the excitement of these new inven-
tions, people forget about possible secu
ty issues.
Pagers are wonderful devices that allow
people to respond quickly when an emer-
gency arises, saving valuable time. But if
the companies that provide subscribers with
pager service are unable to immediately
react when a satellite malfunctions, all that
time and more is lost. Companies should
look into ways that would allow them to
quickly switch to another satellite in t
event of a malfunction. Too many lives n
rely on pagers for problems such as last
week's to occur.
Computers stand at the forefront of
media. With the advent of the Internet,
they are centers of information, commerce
and communication. The Internet is fast
becoming the equivalent of television in
terms of its potential to revolutionize peo-
ple's lives. A crippled Internet would send
thousands of businesses, researchers and
students into a panic. Considering the po
sible vulnerability of the government's
computers, no end of technological war-
fare could ensue. The government has the
ability to develop the most sophisticated
security measures on earth and must move
to erect proper defenses against those who
would tamper with its information.
Many people put an unwarranted faith
in the technology they use everyday. There
is no question that the developments of
last 10 years continue to make lives easier,
but the advances are not completely reliable
yet. Users and developers must find ways to
secure this delicate technology so that the
trust people have in them is not betrayed.

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