Web is now critical to running the world

Excellent piece by James Hendler.  Would be difficult to argue with: ‘the Web continues to increase in its importance to society and to science, and we now realize that the Web is a critical infrastructure on which we as a society, and a world, fundamentally rely’.

On the downside mentions some negatives e.g.’ to radically redefine individual privacy, and to expose our children to unprecedented levels of violence and pornography – disincentives to innovation’.

Have to say as someone who grew up in a time of far less surveillance this does worry me a lot for the kids of today.  Many’s the stupid things that we did when we were growing up – which were better not being video’d and posted to the world.  To be honest the prevalence of digital cameras and similar devices are probably more of the problem than the web itself.  But I’m not sure hor w this will work itself out – potentially a nightmare version of Orwell’s 1984 is playing itself out – where Big Brother is now a combination of ‘citizens’ snooping on people and the web as Big Brother processing and forwarding the data.

Author: Barry OGorman

Barry O'Gorman is an independent business and IT consultant, based in Dublin, Ireland.

3 thoughts on “Web is now critical to running the world”

  1. Thanks for the kind words. I actually think some of the answer lies in rethinking privacy – if so much is going to be available online, we need to figure out how to move from access-based controls to use-based, and to move to accountability mechanisms as the technical basis, rather than to access restrictions. There is a paper on this at http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1349043 (I expect there are free versions available, but as an author I’ve signed a paper with ACM saying I’ll point people to this one – the citation information may find you some via normal search techniques)

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