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Deliberatepixel / Nobody Can Burn the Internet

Nobody Can Burn the Internet

Okay, so I should probably stop linking to every new column Annalee Newitz writes, but she's just so right. Why does it seem no one else is writing about the promises and implications of technology like she does? Anyway, I think she's got a great point about digital publishing versus traditional:

But books can be burned. All copies of a book can be wiped out by one crappy political regime bent on censorship. Online it's much more difficult to burn a book. Just try deleting a book or movie or sound file you want suppressed. Ten copies pop up elsewhere. Then 10,000 copies. And they're stored on servers all over the world, in countries where your shock troops can't reach, in high school kids' closets where even their parents can't reach.

I too would like to see a more legitimate standing for online publication, but I think all it will take is time. After all, it's really only been a few years, hasn't it? It seems like blogs have been around for a lot longer, given the growth they've had.



Jan · 26 April, 04:19 AM · #

On the flip side, once things are out they are out. In a sort of joke/prank scenario, a friend got is his name onto Usenet with a subject of: “$name_of_friend is a pervert” (in German). Since it’s Usenet, this now is everywhere and a search for his name is dominated by pages of finding copies of that sentence, which is not that nice considering prospective employers/friends/partners googlestalking one on the ‘nets these days. There’s no way to delete things that shouldn’t have published and there is no way to annotate copies to put things into perspective.

I don’t argue against the point and I’d rather take the free speech over a censorable system, but we just need to be aware of what we put online and what not.

In a related note, we need to be aware of the fact, that the Internet (or what Google finds) is not an adequate representation of the world. I find journalists often fall for this by claiming relevance (or irrelevance) for a topic based on how many hits show up in Google; this makes me angry (I feel a rant coming up here :).

Jen · 26 April, 01:17 PM · #

Very true. With freedom comes responsibility and all that.

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