Sunday, July 01, 2007

Information firewall?

Over at Junkfood Science, Sandy Szwarc has this heads up on the potential impact of two recent announcements by Google. One proposal involves the personalization of information on the internet and the other the formation of an advisory panel. Both ideas with good intentions, but both ideas with Orwellian potential to act as a massive information firewall. As Sandy states:
  • Despite all of the flaws and utter garbage on the net, it's still been the primary way for most people to break through the media groupthink to learn other viewpoints and sounder information. This development could be the beginnings of the world's biggest internet information firewall.
I love innovation and technological progress in general. But the key is to maintain a free-market and competition: if and when Google becomes too monopolistic, the only effective check on its activities is the ongoing presence of competing search engines, not any oversight by a bureaucracy or government panel but competing services. Easily stated. Hard to maintain.

But then again, freedom is not a right: freedom must be fought for constantly.

  • I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. Heinlein.
  • People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Kierkegaard