Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cyber Riot

Did you hear about the web's "cyber riot"? Here's what happened:

A few days ago, some users of began posting a code that can help hackers break the copy protection built into HD DVDs. The code's discovery wasn't particularly newsworthy: Wired had posted the code back in February. But Digg started taking down the code posts, and explained that it was protecting itself from lawsuits. None of this was out of the ordinary because Digg — a site where users can post stories and then recommend them or "bury" them so the most popular stories hit the site's homepage — takes down stories that violate its rules all the time. But something about this code, or perhaps the way the news was broken to them, resonated with Digg's 1.2 million members, and they revolted.
You might think that this is not big deal. Maybe not to you. But the web has all sorts of information, and eventually some of it will matter to you. Google has conspired with China to withhold information from Chinese citizens in the name of the almighty dollar while sporting the motto "Don't be evil". The key to the internet is the access to information. It is a free society--except when some of the portal owners make it not free. So the Digg founder decided to withhold information and he sparked a riot.

Good. The internet is one place that doesn't need taxes or censorship. We have enough of that in the real world.

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