Sunday, August 18, 2002

Digital Illiteracy

Do you know someone who is technically illiterate? What I mean is someone who doesn't “get” technology, specifically computers and the Internet? Do you get frustrated when they pout off misguided prejudices regarding programmers, geeks, hackers, and the technology industry? I know I do.

We are looked at like social misfits and losers. We are treated with quiet disdain because those above us know that we control the infrastructure. We control the networks and the data of the world. Do you think the CEO likes that the network administrator has access to all the companies data? I know mine doesn't. There is virtually no data at my office that I do not have access too.

We are becoming the labor class of this information age when we should be the leaders. We know what is going on, the ignorant don't. Look at the music and film industries. They are so scared they are lobbying the government to protect their way of life. Why? Because technology has shifted the market and they cannot do anything else about it. Rather than adapting they are choosing to die and die very undignified.

This article, a commentary, brings up some things to think about. Most specifically why are not more geeks involved in politics. It's obvious that politicians need technically savvy advisers, who are not in the pocket of a lobby group.

Using 9-11 as a vehicle, bills are being moved forward, WITH LITTLE OPPOSITION, that will give the government the right to snoop on the Internet, without a court order and to place life sentences on hackers. While well meaning, to help deter and prevent terrorism, they will be abused. If a hacker got into AOL-TimeWarner, who's to say they would not push for a excessively heavy sentence. I doubt any judge would push for life, but AOL-TW is a pretty powerful entity (for the time being) and might actually be able to do it! The House approved this 385 to 3!! Only THREE people disagreed with this. Couldn't our jails be better utilized keeping murderers, rapists and other such people off the street?

I don't agree with what Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker, did but he was tossed in jail for 22 months and even more if you consider the time spent in detention before trial. He was then put on strict probation forbidding him to use phones and computer and the like. I won't go into the details, but he is still to this day scrutinized heavily every day. What about the rapist? No one is watching him after he spends his time in jail. While the victim has to fear for her life!

One commentator to the article i mentioned a bit ago noted that it because of fear and ignorance. When you don't understand something you fear it. It's a natural reaction. Our politicians are scared of technology and geeks and are all too happy to accept the lies (and money) that the lobbyists are telling them. “They are going to ruin our industry,” they say. The fools just don't get it. Technology and geeks will not be denied. It looks like the old guard will fight tooth and nail to their graves too. It's really too bad. Working together I'm sure the results would be much better for all. But this has all happened before.


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