Wednesday, February 20, 2008

John Gilmore was right

I recently ran across what I thought would be an interesting blog from former Apple Executive  for Federal sales, David Sobotta.   After a fairly straightforward dialog exchange ... which by definition, must have included some elements of disagreement (else why bother to reply), Dave terminated the dialog.  The topic wasn't really all that important, or profound: we simply disagreed, based on our personal perspectives.  It didn't even bother me if Mr. Sobotta wanted to curtail the discussion because he tired of it, nor even using his Moderator responsibility to have done this...that would have merely been rude.  

Instead, what bothered me was that he cut things off so as to get the last word in, a childish way to "win" a disagreement.  FWIW, this isn't my interpretation of what happened, for in this blog posting  David made his motive and intentions explicitly clear that that was precisely what he chose to do. 

Were I willing to stoop to David's level, I could have listed each of my discussion points here, where David can't touch it, to childishly get in my own "last word".  But I loathe being a hypocrite, so that won't be happening here.

So why am I writing anything?  Because this is unfortunately yet another example of something that I'm finding disappointing ... no, make that downright disturbing ... which is yet another example of someone who proves himself incapable of recognizing that with the Information Genie out of the bottle, all liars invariably get caught.  

This is precisely what Gilmore was warning of a decade ago:  the nature of IT is that if one tries to squash something in one outlet, there's now hundreds of alternative venues, so the word still gets out.  

There's already been hundreds of corporations who have learned this lesson by getting burned over the past decade - they were applying their 20th Century belief that they can manipulate and selectively lie without getting caught - - but then got caught, courtesy of this unbottled IT Genie.  It is effectively the Pandora's Box of the 21st Century.  

Overall, it does seem that there's a segment of the population who are otherwise very very smart people who think that their intelligence lets them stay on top of the lies that they make and avoid self-contradiction.  Unfortunately for them (my online friends know that I'm probably thinking of a certain former Clemson University Professor too), archives have a 'perfect' memory that merely takes perseverance to search, which reveals the self-contradictory claims and other hyperbola that people try to employ to obscure reality to try to force it to conform to their biases.

Thus, as John Gilmore reportedly said:
"The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it".

And the latest example is in the news this week, namely the drama of the website "Wikileaks", which posted documents that revealed criminal banking activities in the Cayman Islands.  It is the apparent crook who is trying to get the website shut down, so as to squelch the dissemination of evidence of his criminal activity.   But in the meantime, the news of the event has probably caused a few thousand more copies to get spawned.   To try to suppress them all is an exercise in futility, so the next thing we know, the criminal will be claiming that he's a victim...of getting caught.  


No comments: