Forwarded from: Russell Coker <russellat_private> On Mon, 14 Oct 2002 09:10, InfoSec News wrote: > http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4275256.htm > > By Dan Gillmor > Mercury News Technology Columnist > Oct. 13, 2002 > > What do major seaports, gas pipelines, the Windows operating system > and your local phone company have in common? They are just a few of > the choke points of the modern world. Excellent article, we could use more of the same! I totally agree that the Government needs to take action to avoid such choke points. However one important choke-point was not mentioned, the news distribution system which is one of the most insidious choke-points in the current system. Currently all major news services use the same sources, copy from each other with no verification, and squeeze out competition as much as possible. A recent example of this was the recent news reports about blondes becoming extinct (a claim that's laughable to anyone who knows the basics of science). But this problem goes further than news services, it also extends to all forms of communication. It seems that communication is being divided into two types, person to person (telephone and email) and corporation to consumers (TV, radio, major web sites, etc). Consider for example the way DSL net access is provided, a small up-channel with a large down channel, so that you are forced to become a consumer of information not a full participant. Running a mailing list for 100 people or a web site that's even slightly popular is beyond most people for this reason! The ISPs can easily provide higher speed up-links, my DSL line has been certified for 2Mb upstream (I currently get 64Kb and could get 128Kb if I pay more). Now you are probably asking "what is the risk in having big corporations monopolise the news?". There are several risks, news that is inaccurate, misleading, or totally wrong is a serious risk as it could incite riots or cause other problems (remember the LA riots and consider that the same result could be caused by a fake news story just as easily from a real story). Having independant news sources reduces the risk of false information getting full coverage to almost zero. The next issue is rigging elections or interfering with political processes in other ways. Anyone who controls all the media can control a country (consider the end of the Caucescu regeime in Romania and the attempt to seize military control of the USSR), these events happened as they did partly due to accurate reporting, false news could have given a different result (which would be worse for those countries and worse for the world). Russell Coker - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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