Here is one example of the far-reaching harmful effects of these bills. Both bills would flatly ban the possession, sale, or use of technologies that "conceal from a communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication". Your ISP is a communication service provider, so anything that concealed the origin or destination of any communication from your ISP would be illegal -- with no exceptions.
Thought Communication: in which Stephen Bush and Amit Kulkarni advance the notion that emergent behavior in active networks will lay the foundation for a radical change in the amounts and types of information which can be transmitted over a network, possibly leading to the ability to move structures representing the human thought process between collaborators.
The Congress, in a push led by John Shimkus, is well on it's way to passing a law, the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, to enable a kids safe domain: .kids.us. The Coalition to Protect Protozoa shows it's really not that complicated by introducing .protozoa.us.
In a followup to the "dot kids" legislation (H.R. 3833) to create a "dot kids dot us" domain proposed by Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois), the Coalition to Protect Protozoa has taken the initiative to create a new safe place for protozoa on the Internet under the "dot protozoa dot us" domain.
"This is the perfect place to locate material which has been reviewed for acceptability and viewership by America's protozoa," creator Matthew Kaufman explained. "Protozoa are the most abundant animals in the world in both number and biomass, significantly outnumbering our own children, and we have now taken the first step to safeguard our nation's protozoa."
Global Village Idiocy: Thomas Friedman on the spreading of misinformation over the net and the tendency of people to believe what they read.
At its best, the Internet can educate more people faster than any media tool we've ever had. At its worst, it can make people dumber faster than any media tool we've ever had.
Virtual Diasporas and global problem solving project: looking at the uses, both good and bad, of the net and other communication technology to bring communities together from wherever their members have spread to.
See also: Dial-in Diasporas
[via Red Rock Eater]
Censorship Wins Out: on the obstacles to the Internet being used as a free flow of information from opaque countries, in particular the control of governments over technological and economic access to the net.
A decade or so ago, it was all clear: the Internet was believed to be such a revolutionary new medium, so inherently empowering and democratizing, that old authoritarian regimes would crumble before it. What we've learned in the intervening years is that the Internet does not inevitably lead to democracy any more than it inevitably leads to great wealth.
Thanks to the Internet, evocative information spreads faster than kudzu. Whereas in the past only the most dedicated would take the time to spend hours in that dark library microfiche room, it now is remarkably easy to become an amateur stay-at-home sleuth finding what may appear to be inconsistencies in official stories. We no longer need to get close to that strange man on the corner to read his placard or take a pamphlet. The Internet again becomes the whipping boy of modernity, exacerbating the old customs of gossip and credulity as only it can.
Filtering Software: The Religious Connection: Nancy Willard from CATE's Responsible Netizen examines the relationships between eight companies which produce internet filtering software and conservative religious organizations. [via BookNotes]
Use of the new information technology and the Internet needs to be informed and guided by a resolute commitment to the practice of solidarity in the service of the common good, within and among nations. This technology can be a means for solving human problems, promoting the integral development of persons, creating a world governed by justice and peace and love. Now, even more than when the Pastoral Instruction on the Means of Social Communications Communio et Progressio made the point more than thirty years ago, media have the ability to make every person everywhere "a partner in the business of the human race".
The Web Is for Serving, Not Surfing: on control of bandwidth, and hence content, by broadband providers as reflected by terms of service restricting home servers.
The three central tenets of the Internet are peer-to-peer, distributed control and free speech. If you ask me, the broadband companies are in favor of none of these. Since all of the broadband companies are also involved in the "entertainment" business, peer-to-peer distribution of entertainment, news, movie, books and music has them running scared. After all, if end-users of broadband also can be service providers, the power of the entertainment establishment is lessened.
I agree with the worry over the consolidation of content and bandwidth providers, but preventing home servers isn't really a symptom of that. It's cheap enough to get hosting these days. [via dangerousmeta]
If you are spending too much time on the internet and are concerned that it is affecting your concentration, you are not alone.
The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds - the same as a goldfish.
Two interesting sites with similar names but quite different in their own way:
Cybercrime Bill Ups the Ante: on the increased penalties for computer crime proposed in the Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2001, in particular up to life for those where the alleged evildoer knowing trying to cause death or serious injury. I haven't figured out the rest of the impact on penalties, but I don't think that specific one is a bad thing. Opening statements from committee members and witnesses at a House Subcommmittee on Crime hearing earlier this week are available from their site and include:
- John Malcolm, Department of Justice
- Susan Koeppen, Microsoft corporate attorney
- Clint Smith, United States Internet Service Providers Association
- Alan Davidson, Center for Democracy and Technology
Scrambling the Equations: Potential Trends in Networking: Andy Oram on the near future of the net.
- Patents on Hyperlinking
- Tollbooths on the Information Superhighway
- British Telecom Patent: Lachey, Uninfringed and Invalid?
[via Boing Boing]
In 1996 Mark Stahlman, a former technology
analyst on Wall Street, espoused his theories about the rise of the
New Dark Age. At that time, he couldn't have foreseen how quickly
circumstances would develop to this end. Even so, the new dark age has
turned out to be not exactly what he -- or many others like him --
thought it would be. Then, in the heyday of the "Internet Revolution",
it was considered that technology would play a fundamental role in the
new dark age. In essence, the new dark age would be primarily a
digital dark age.
Recent events, however, have shown this not to be the case. Unlike Stahlman's prophecy that we would be psychologically programmed and that new media networks would become the mechanism of psychological destruction and seamless surveillance, the new dark age has descended in a much more simple manner: that of self-censorship and collective amnesia. In other words, the latest in technological wizardry is not required to plunge us into the depths of darkness.
[via also not found in nature]
The Grid: A New Infrastructure for 21st Century Science: on the next step for the net.
What many term the "Grid" offers a potential means of surmounting these obstacles to progress. Built on the Internet and the World Wide Web, the Grid is a new class of infrastructure. By providing scalable, secure, high-performance mechanisms for discovering and negotiating access to remote resources, the Grid promises to make it possible for scientific collaborations to share resources on an unprecedented scale, and for geographically distributed groups to work together in ways that were previously impossible.
The Internet's Invisible Hand: on the anarchy of the net, predictions of impending disasters, and how it can continue to grow.
CNN mentions one way to get translations of Arabic news, like Al-Jazeera: the Ajeeb web-based translator. It seems to have a problem with some of the longer pages unfortunately. There's also WBUR's translations of Al-Jazeera, which I've linked to before. They've been on vacation since the 20th but should be back tomorrow.
Internet Leash Can Monitor Sex Offenders: Sangamon County in Illinois is installing Security Software Systems' Cyber Sentinel on the computers belonging to four sexual predators on probation in order to monitor what they do online. Peacefire looked at how Cyber Sentinel works and the effectiveness of its blocking last year.
2002: The Carpetbaggers Go Home: Cory Doctorow takes on the idea that it's possible to have a reliable business model, at least on the level that business is used to, on the Internet because, by definition, the Internet is not that reliable. [via Voidstar]
Brace Yourself for the Segmented Internet: on the possibility that local censorship policies will increasingly pressure countries into implementing gateways that control access to foreign content. [via Interesting People]
A new Federal lab, The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center, was created by the Critical Infrastructures Protection Act. One of it's first acts will be to draw a map of the Internet to identify places needing protection. I certainly hope they're going to use pencil. [via Interesting People]
I don't know who these people are, but they get around. [via http://www.kottke.org/">kottke.org]
Tracking down references on the previous item led me to Quintessence of the Loon: devoted to weirdness and madness on the World Wide Web.
A look at whether the Internet affects the community standards doctrine - is the whole country the community now?