California’s San Jose Mercury has a combative on the “frightening” nature of a web fed by amateurs:
Silicon Valley has its share of would-be utopians. Along with others around the world, they are working overtime to build an online community where the Internet makes everyone equal.
But what if this movement ends up doing more harm than good?
This provocative question is posed by Nicholas G. Carr, an author best known for a controversial 2003 article in the Harvard Business Review arguing that computer technology is so widespread it no longer gives companies a competitive advantage.
Carr kicked off another debate Oct. 3 when he posted an article on his blog, Rough Type, titled “The amorality of Web 2.0.”
The Reg also noted the “amorality” post on its letters page the other day.
One of his major arguments centred around the “dubious” quality of the Wikipedia (a thesis not everyone signs up to) and the admission by Jimmy Wales that some of its content leaves much to be desired and decries its popularity as tantamount to anti-intellectualism. However, as the newspaper article mentioned above admits, the entries have since (they were flagged about a fortnight ago) been cleaned up.
The New York Times posted an article yesterday on the response that the federal government has received from Universities after it requested that they keep more - much more - information on their computer users’ browsing habits. The order is based on an 11 year old law, of which they intend to “vastly extend the reach,” will require any outfit providing internet access (from major ISPs to airports with wireless in their departure lounge) to aid government agencies by producing communication and email logs on request.
The bone of contention for the universities’ is not that they do not wish to provide the information - it will, after all, be used “to catch criminals and other lawbreakers”; the innocent have nothing to fear, natch - but the cost of the project, so I wonder who, if anyone, will take the civil liberties angle. I seriously doubt, on past form, that major ISPs, the other group seriously involved in this, will put up too much of a struggle.