Information Age Paranoia

Further signs of paranoia about Information Age risks emerged over the last week. The first was a ban imposed by the Province of Ontario on access by officials to the social networking site Facebook. The second was a hint by the Head of the US National-Geospatial Agency about possible curbs on access to commercial satellite imagery to prevent its exploitation.

Of course it’s right for organizations to seek to mitigate any identified risks. But holding back the inevitable advance of social networking and information availability is not the answer. As I’ve said before, we need to embrace the risks associated with the Information Age and find new solutions that are more aligned with its strengths, structure and characteristics. We can’t uninvent digital networks. They’re here for good and will continue to break down traditional barriers to information flows. Knowledge no longer resides in controlled cubby-holes. We have to accept the harsh consequences associated with this new freedom.

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With the almost inevitable increase in information availability (or should that be information pollution?) increased risks are also inevitable. I agree that we shouldn't try to hold this back.... instead we all have to realise that the 'human firewall' has to become stronger, more intelligent and more adaptive in the face of this new environment. Is this achievable? Yes, of course, but it will just perpetuate the 'arms race'. We're in for a long and protracted war I feel.
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Addendum: The more intelligent 'human firewall' is also going to have to appreciate the dangers of what he/she chooses to create and publish..... As Richard Nixon's Chief of Staff once said: "It's like toothpaste...once out of the tube you can't get it back in". Of course the usual rebuttal is that if you don't have anything to hide then you have nothing to fear. To which I always reply: We have no idea how the information we create and publish now will be used against us in the future.
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