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Beware the Internet

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the first-they-came-for-the-telegraph dept.

The Military 314

frost_knight writes "Washington Post opinion writer Robert J. Samuelson writes 'If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it.' It is his belief that the dangers of the Internet outweigh its benefits." The reason? Cyberwarfare of course.

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Washington Post (4, Insightful)

Error27 (100234) | about a year ago | (#44163171)

In all fairness, Washington Post opinion pages are normally very stupid so this is not out of line with what's expected.

Re:Washington Post (3, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year ago | (#44163179)

It lets everyone see the truth instead of what governments try to filter from the rest the world.

Re:Washington Post (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163313)

"Truth" being defined, of course, as:
- opposite of whatever the government says
- whatever I feel the government is trying to hide from me
and
- whatever that ranting guy was shouting about the government yesterday at the bar, which was truth because he was too drunk to lie. I know because I was just as drunk.

Sigh.

Re:Washington Post (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163391)

are we confusing truth with truthiness again?

Re:Washington Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163383)

I suppose, if by "truth" you mean the kind of ideas tinfoil-hat wearing socialists believe in. After all, as post-modernists tell us, there really is no "truth" anyway, it's whatever you choose to believe anyway.

Re:Washington Post (5, Insightful)

OolimPhon (1120895) | about a year ago | (#44163425)

There are four versions of any event: my version, your version, the truth and what really happened.

Re:Washington Post (3, Interesting)

Evtim (1022085) | about a year ago | (#44163617)

Indeed! Best illustrated by the movie that opened the western audience to Akira Kurosawa - "Rashomon"

Check it out, it's worth it! The whole plot is people giving account to some events (even the dead one testifies via a medium) and at the end we see what really happened..

Re:Washington Post (5, Funny)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#44163485)

In all truthiness, what's socialists got to do with tinfoil hats? It's the right wing teabaggers that wears tinfoil hats.

Socialists wear organic copper threaded wool hats.

Re:Washington Post (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44163609)

After all, as post-modernists tell us, there really is no "truth" anyway, it's whatever you choose to believe anyway.

A long time ago, I've chosen to believe that post-modernists are a figment of my imagination.

Re:Washington Post (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163213)

Yes, we would repeal the Internet because we want a return to the halcyon days of high profit margins for newspaper ads and classifieds.

We used to have a monopoly on the distribution of information. People used to do our bidding. Now, we're irrelevant and it really hurts our feelings.

Re:Washington Post (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#44163361)

The internet today is what was the motorway system in the later half of the 20th century, the propagation of telephone net in the early half and the railroad in the 19th century.

Or if we go back further - the invention of the printing press was a revolution where the hand-copying of books suddenly became obsolete.

Either you adapt or you will be another victim of the steamroller of progress.

Re:Washington Post (4, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about a year ago | (#44163245)

Agreed. Since when did some old guys ignorant opinion become news for nerds, especially when such opinions flow almost 24/7 in all major newspaper opinion sections... old guys or indoctrinated young-uns lamenting the loss of hierarchical information flow?

Oh silly me, it is news for nerds since Washington Post stepped out of line [washingtonpost.com] . All part of the discredit the messenger(s) campaign. Carry on then...

Re:Washington Post (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163279)

uid 50431 calling people old... lol

Re:Washington Post (0)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#44163497)

newfag anon calling oldfag out... lol

Re:Washington Post (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about a year ago | (#44163523)

That's not old.

Re:Washington Post (2)

Yetihehe (971185) | about a year ago | (#44163317)

Agreed. Since when did some old guys ignorant opinion become news for nerds, especially when such opinions flow almost 24/7 in all major newspaper opinion sections...

It's good to know your enemy. I WANT to know when someone wants to take my series of tubes away.

Re:Washington Post (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44163445)

Not gonna happen, too many major corps making mad money on the net to allow it to get turned off. Sadly we have a country run by whores and corps like Google can just whip out their checkbook and having them dropping to their knees faster than you can say campaign contributions.

Not really (1)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44163457)

You are reading too much into things.

I give WashPo credit for their coverage of NSA and for going where other US based news sources fear to tread. Of course, I'd give them even more credit if they had been a bit more bold and not lost the exclusive [theatlanticwire.com] .

This however, does not give them a free pass if they publish silly articles.

In any case, most of the comments here I see are directed at the article and the writer, not the newspaper.

Re:Washington Post (5, Funny)

mythix (2589549) | about a year ago | (#44163269)

I which he got his way, then I wouldn't be able to read his stupid opinion...

Don't all newspaper writers (1)

SinisterRainbow (2572075) | about a year ago | (#44163343)

Don't all newspaper writers wish the Internet didn't exist? And just replace 'Washington Post' with 'all' while you're at it. You're only supposed to read those when you want to feel sad about human stupidity or see 'legal' corruption in action.

Re:Washington Post (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#44163371)

Oh FFS people! Just because it's a newspaper doesn't mean it's not a troll. Newspapers were trolling long, long, long, before the Internet was invented.

The scary stuff isn't articles like this one, it's what they write when they're being serious.

Terrible article (5, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44163417)

Let me explain.

First he admits the benefits the Internet brings :-

I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.

Then he explains why he thinks the Internet is bad :-

But the Internet’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: cyberwar. By cyberwarfare, I mean the capacity of groups — whether nations or not — to attack, disrupt and possibly destroy the institutions and networks that underpin everyday life. These would be power grids, pipelines, communication and financial systems, business record-keeping and supply-chain operations, railroads and airlines, databases of all types (from hospitals to government agencies). The list runs on. So much depends on the Internet that its vulnerability to sabotage invites doomsday visions of the breakdown of order and trust.

Take note of his key objection - he fears that essential utilities/services would be easily disrupted because they are connected to the Internet.

Point 1- Easy solution, disconnect these essential utilities/services from the Internet!
Point 2- If these essential utilities/services cannot be disconnected from the Internet without some loss of function, they would not have been able to enjoy the same function if the Internet never existed.

I do not blame the writer for this article, he is primarily an economics reporter [washingtonpost.com] and appears to have been taken in by the fearmongering flogged by all those who have an agenda to promote cyberwarfare capabilities. I do however blame the Washington Post for allowing such drivel to be posted under their name. They should have known better.

Re:Terrible article (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about a year ago | (#44163579)

I do however blame the Washington Post for allowing such drivel to be posted under their name. They should have known better.

Unfortunately many online news papers have started to have 'opinion posts' or 'writer blogs' which completely seem to bypass any kind of editorial guidelines, fact checking etc and allow writers to post their opinions, often unsubstantiated, on anything seemingly as a news item.

It allows for random drivel like this to go viral and increase page views and potentially advert revenue whilst letting them dodge any kind of journalistic Codes of Ethics.

News is business and is not here for the good will of anyone other than shareholders.

Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44163173)

Me? I'd repeal the Baby Boomer generation. The Internet's only scary when you're still dealing with a scarcity-based mindset. Otherwise, you're trying to figure out how to make the real world more like the Internet (minus goatse, natch).

Re:Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163223)

Scarcity of the tangible is still extremely relevant.

The Internet has made scarcity of the intangible and ephemeral unthinkable, and this has had the side effect of making liquidity much greater.

Just try transporting a copper pipe through the Internet.

Re:Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163253)

Say what?

-- Amazon.com

Re:Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44163327)

When people invent things, it's not suddenly scarce to you because there's something else you don't have.

All measurements show increasing quality and length of life. We live in ever-increasing plentitude.

What godawful meme got lodged in that brain of yours?

Re:Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163341)

I'd repeal the Washington Post -- or at least its opinion page.

Re:Got that finger pointed the wrong way... (4, Funny)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#44163621)

Otherwise, you're trying to figure out how to make the real world more like the Internet (minus goatse, natch).

I was under the impression that it's the TSA's mandate to make the real world more like goatse, but otherwise I agree with your point.

er what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163175)

Seriously, /.? Reporting on a 68-year-old opinion column writer's take on the internet?

Re:er what (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163201)

What? We readily take an 18 year old's opinion on pensions and healthcare, why not the other way around?

Re:er what (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163427)

Imagine if his opinion was reversed. Of course, now you've invested emotionally in your ad hominem so you will claim that you'd think he is just as irrelevant no matter what his opinion were but if you had originally seen him hail the Internet as the greatest invention of mankind, you'd think him absolutely correct and relevant despite his age and occupation.

This is the fallacy of ad hominem.

Uh, duh? (5, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44163177)

By cyberwarfare, I mean the capacity of groups — whether nations or not — to attack, disrupt and possibly destroy the institutions and networks that underpin everyday life. These would be power grids, pipelines, communication and financial systems, business record-keeping and supply-chain operations, railroads and airlines

Hey, guess what? Ordinary warfare can disrupt and destroy those things as well. Guess we'd better "repeal" those, too.

a terrifying danger: cyberwar

I don't know about anyone else, but compared to actual war, I find cyberwar to be about as terrifying as getting up in the night to go to the toilet.

Re:Uh, duh? (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44163185)

I also like this bit:

I don’t know the odds of this technological Armageddon. I doubt anyone does. The fears may be wildly exaggerated

Wildly exaggerated, you say? Who would do such a thing?!

Re:Uh, duh? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44163243)

It's possible that Samuelson has spent a little too long living in Bethesda, MD, proud home to a metric fuckton of defense contractors and private sector spook shops...

Re:Uh, duh? (2)

clemdoc (624639) | about a year ago | (#44163247)

Also, we should think again about whether we really need that round thingie, the wheel.
Sure, it's really useful, but considering how much harm can be wrought with it... better leave it uninvented.

Re:Uh, duh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163357)

Hey, guess what? Ordinary warfare can disrupt and destroy those things as well. Guess we'd better "repeal" those, too.

Yes but he like most Americans isn't worried about normal warfare coming to knock at his door. That's why the entire country was thrown into what's starting to look like decades of insane spasms after 9-11, suddenly the war was in American streets, not in far off brownguyistan-that-we-can't-find-on-a-map-har-har.

Exceptionalism and excuses don't last long when you've skyscrapers raining about your ears. Home of the brave indeed, more like home of the petty thugs that run squealing when someone hits back. The US got away with it for a bit longer than the UK, who weren't smart enough not to fuck with their next door neighbours, but it was only a matter of time. And on top of all that the nascent aristocracy have been very careful to nurture a near religious respect for all things military, ensuring their own disposable men at arms will be ready to enforce their will.

All in all, welcome to the united states of derp, where the low and the mean strut around with their chest puffed out, clutching stupidity to themselves like a comfort blanket, where the intelligent are called "nerds" and "geeks" and killing people in far off countries for corporate profits is celebrated as "pertecktin our freedoms".

You people deserve to be shit upon from every possible angle.

Re:Uh, duh? (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44163597)

It's a damn shame that you didn't feel the courage to risk some karma on that post and posted AC because I think you hit the nail right on the head.

Re:Uh, duh? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44163463)

I don't know about anyone else, but compared to actual war, I find cyberwar to be about as terrifying as getting up in the night to go to the toilet.

To me it's as scary as getting up in the middle of the night to shuffle a server in and out of service. The NSA has all the data, they could make mad bank notifying folks of malware / hacker traffic BEFORE they put on pajamas...

Re:Uh, duh? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#44163543)

what happens is some enemy wipes out a few computer's software, and within an hour some IT guy can re-image a backup copy on all the servers plus a more hardened firewall and blacklist of a few more IP-Addresses and BAM! it is as if that cyber war never happened

The guy has no clue (5, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year ago | (#44163187)

I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.

Hello? GPS is not a feature of the internet.

Also, I think he is totally wrong when he quotes cyberwar as a reason for removing the internet. Any organization that does not want the risks that come from connecting systems to the net can disconnect theirs. Simple, isn't it?

Re:The guy has no clue (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44163259)

If I were feeling charitable, I might imagine that he's never used a 'pure' GPS device, only the (sometimes internet connected, sometimes non-IP cellular data) A-GPS gear.

I'm not feeling charitable.

Re:The guy has no clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163307)

I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.

Hello? GPS is not a feature of the internet.

Also, I think he is totally wrong when he quotes cyberwar as a reason for removing the internet. Any organization that does not want the risks that come from connecting systems to the net can disconnect theirs. Simple, isn't it?

Yes, and perhaps they should start by disconnecting him from his employer. After all, he doesn't want to play online, so his career can die with the rest of the printed newspaper world.

Re:The guy has no clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163323)

Hello? GPS is not a feature of the internet.

Technically, but GPS as many people use it is heavily dependent upon it. Most people these days think of A-GPS, dependent on cell networks. And most people have no use for their actual position, but only what an internet-based service can do with the location. So it's badly worded, but GPS as used by much of the first-world population is a feature of the internet.

That said, there was an interview at Wired a while back with the people that run GPS, and they pointed out that they don't care whether it helps people with driving directions, as their purpose of existing is putting missiles on target.

No thanks, (1)

Tifer (2644417) | about a year ago | (#44163193)

I'm still using it.

What is he talking about? (5, Insightful)

mythix (2589549) | about a year ago | (#44163197)

First of all he starts by telling us what the internet has brought us:
- vast amounts of information
- youtube
- itunes
- GPS

Wait, what? GPS?

second, the problem with the internet is not the internet. the internet is not obligatory, not everything people put on it is truth, it is not a reliable information source for personal data.
I am not scared of it, nor should I or anybody else be.
The problem with the internet, as with everything on this planet, is the nature of human kind.

Re:What is he talking about? (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#44163481)

First of all he starts by telling us what the internet has brought us:
- vast amounts of information
- youtube
- itunes
- GPS

Wait, what? GPS?

Yes! GPS! Global Piss and Shit! [youtube.com]

Re:What is he talking about? (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year ago | (#44163493)

- GPS

Wait, what? GPS?

The mention of GPS is the reason why I sprayed my monitor with coffee and stopped reading halfway through the first paragraph. If you are going to suggest that a technology should be repealed then at least make sure you at least understand the very basics. If you don't, stick with what you do know and get of our lawn.

Re:What is he talking about? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44163537)

how is itunes related to the Internet?
I thought it was a bloated media player and iThing management application from Apple.

I feel stupider for having read that... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44163199)

Is the good Mr. Samuelson aware that 'the internet' is not actually a binary thing(except in certain architectural senses)? It's not like somebody in the control room flips a switch and *boom* TCP-rays fan out, brutally penetrating previously secure systems. You. Have. To. Connect. Things. To. The. Internet. To. Make. Them. Vulnerable. Are there plenty of things connected, that really ought not to be, because people are insufferably cheap and lazy? Sure, hard to argue with that. Does it somehow follow that we would be 'better off without the internet?". Only if you live in a curious universe where you have to shut down the entire internet just to get a few dumb fuckers to airgap their retro SCADA system.

(One might also argue that, if the people who are actually victims of internet attacks, the various companies and banks and things he cites, aren't willing to give up the convenience and low cost of the internet in favor of greater security, it is possible that the alarmist bullshit of people who want a wider remit to expand their paranoid security state online is alarmist bullshit... There is an argument to be made that people who haven't yet been attacked are illogically discounting the costs of future attacks in favor of present savings; but people who are being attacked today are weighing the costs and the benefits of being networked today, and generally staying networked. Go figure...)

Opinions are like assholes (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#44163207)

And that asshole doesn't even know what he's afraid of but he's going to publish his opinion.

Something something and remove all doubt.

I would take this more seriously if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163219)

It wasn't focused on cyber attacks.

After 15 years on the internet, I'm much more concerned about how easily cultures are able to pacified using the internet to reach broad swaths of people "instantly." I'm much more concerned about the tracking and intrusion into everyday life it's encouraged. I'm also disappointed, although not remotely surprised, by the darker side of humanity it has revealed due to mistaken belief there is anonymity on it - and yes I understand the irony of my "Anonymous Coward" usage.

The "good old days".. (5, Insightful)

Dynamoo (527749) | about a year ago | (#44163229)

Let's time-travel back to the 1980s and try to research a topic. You might need to allot a whole day for this.

Where would you start to look? Well, probably the library. If you really know nothing about a topic you might want to start with one the Encyclopaedia Britannica, something that hardly anybody would be able to afford to own at home. Then, if you want more specific information you might find out the Dewey classification for the topic area and check out the books on the shelves, or rummage through index cards. Perhaps (if you are lucky) the library has a computerised index. Want to look up something more topical? We used to have the Times Index, a printed index of what had been published in the Times (of London). Then it was a trip to the microfilm collection to look up back issues. Perhaps if you weren't making much progress you would have to ask around to see if someone had some pointers, maybe a contact of a contact. You *could* use the Internet and post a question to Usenet, perhaps someone would give you an answer in a few days. Maybe after a hard day's work you might be able to tease the nugget of information you wanted out of the library. Perhaps not.

Today? Well, you either Google it or look it up on Wikipedia. You'll have your answer in minutes and you can then get on and apply that knowledge. Now, tell me how that is NOT progress?

Re:The "good old days".. (2)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44163415)

Today? Well, you either Google it or look it up on Wikipedia. You'll have your answer in minutes and you can then get on and apply that knowledge. Now, tell me how that is NOT progress?

But please also think off how it empowers people, bring freedom, true information, equal rights and all other sorts of nasty things to people.

Someone need to restrict them. What would happen with authority and power if everyone was equals? The horror.

Re:The "good old days".. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44163421)

.. O'er land of the... freer than north Koreans and ...

Re:The "good old days".. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#44163477)

It's not quite that stark a comparison. People would normally ask their friends about a topic first, to see if they know something about it. This isn't that uncommon even today, as topics of interest tend to come up in conversations, which usually involve people who might be friends or colleagues. Then there's the difficulty for many people to find stuff on the internet even now - you need to know how to use a computer at a minimum. Finally, if you have the resolve to go to a library to research a topic, you'll have it again. And you only need to learn how to navigate the place the first few times, after that it's as easy as googling.

But you are largely right about progress, provided you can actually trust some of the drivel that ends written all over the Internet.

Re:The "good old days".. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163491)

Agreed. It was a real pain in the ass trying to buy Playboy at the corner store all the time, and then having to hide the evidence from mom!

Re:The "good old days".. (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#44163505)

While I'm a great supporter of The Internet, there's a downside to having all of that information so readily available. The information doesn't stick. There's no cost to obtain it. No effort required. The process of obtaining the information is part of what makes it stick.

Re:The "good old days".. (2)

Esteanil (710082) | about a year ago | (#44163521)

Let's time-travel back to the 1980s and try to research a topic. You might need to allot a whole day for this.

A whole day to build a time machine? Man are *you* slow! ;-)

Re:The "good old days".. (3, Insightful)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about a year ago | (#44163539)

The other day I had a flashback of writing a report in elementary school. The teacher would make everyone do a report on the same subject and the industrious students would then go to the library and check out all the books on the subject, leaving the slacker students with nothing.

Well, you can't check out the internet.

Re:The "good old days".. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#44163563)

Obligatory modified Simpsons:
There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Wikipedia way!
Isn't that just the wrong way?
Yes, but faster!

Cyberwarfare idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163233)

Since WWII and the Cold War, the U.S. are selling their older generation gear to allies and NATO partners. We (includes me) used it ever since, observing our troops and civilians as well.

What's new is just the idiocy of the media who want to play their game as well.

I'm glad the internet lifted the veil (5, Insightful)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | about a year ago | (#44163241)

I think the author longs for the bygone era when journalists were the primary source of how the majority of people shaped our personal views of the world. I for one, am glad that the veil has been lifted.

Beware the roads! (5, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | about a year ago | (#44163251)

If I could, I would try to convince the Romans of the past to stop building roads. The reason for this is that I've discovered that since the advent of roads, there has been such a phenomenon as road-side bandits, highway robberies, and even standing armies using this newly found infrastructure to lay siege to our vast empire.

Ever since the Romans came along and deprecated our glorious and superior dirt infrastructure, we've been carelessly hooking up critical systems to this "road"-system: tax-collection, food transportation, even up to the point where we are now moving cattle over these infernal cobblestones instead of using the much safer glorious dirt infrastructure. We've hooked up entire towns, cities, even castles and palaces to this infrastructure we can barely contain and are surprised when those of malicious intent use it to our disadvantage.

Back in the good old days of our vastly superiour dirt infrastructure we had no such troubles with malcontents, criminals and foreign armies. It was a pleasant land of peasants toiling about in our magnificent dirt.

In conclusion, the Roman empire was a detriment to all of society. While seemingly introducing a convenient mode of transportation, and making all of our society dependant on our infrastucture, they clearly have introduced this concept with the intent of ending civilization as we know it. I therefor call out to you, citizens, fellow countrymen: Tear down these "roads" that threaten us all! Go back to rolling around in our glorious dirt, and burn down anything even remotely Roman (even if it contains water, such as aquaducts, don't even get me started on those).

Re:Beware the roads! (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44163339)

Man, where are the mod points when you need them most. I would mod you up into the stratosphere for this funny, finely sarcastic and well-informed comment ( being, btw, a great admirer of ancient roman culture and engineering ). Of course, one could imagine writing something similar about weaving textile ( origins lost in time ), first successful domestication of animals ( idem ditto ), or printing books ( central and western europe, end of the middle ages ). Best comment of the year, sofar.

Re:Beware the roads! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44163347)

On the other hand: "Hi. I've just invented roads and cars. They will kill about 22,000 people a year in the US alone."

Congressman looking to get paid to get ot of the way: "WHOA NELLIE! I can't allow that!"

Re:Beware the roads! (3, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#44163359)

Thag say fire bad.

Fire hurt Thag.

Thag see fire make sharp stick harder. Even after fire gone, fire still hurt with sharp stick.

Thag like rock. Have rock for long time, everyone good. Rock good for Thag father, and Thag father father, and father father father.

Keep rock, all stay good.

Have fire, all get bad.

Fire bad.

Re:Beware the roads! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44163559)

If I could, I would try to convince the Romans of the past to stop building roads. The reason for this is that I've discovered that since the advent of roads, there has been such a phenomenon as road-side bandits, highway robberies, and even standing armies using this newly found infrastructure to lay siege to our vast empire.

They are also the reason for not being able to deliver larger rocket boosters [snopes.com] .

Meh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163255)

The net was awesome until the barrier to entry got too low... (aol)

That got every fucktard in the world online. And then came the marketing scum...

And here we are.

Oh, Irony (2)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44163475)

You do, I hope, see the irony in your comment.

Its pretty funny.

Re:Oh, Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163517)

The internet as it has become has made me thus.
But i still remember being able to log in at 300 baud and and anyone you talked to would be intelligent.

Now you can go for months without seeing intelligence. Tends to make you bitter.

Now get off my lawn. boy.

ZIMMERMANM SOLUTION !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163257)

Kill everybody but the good guys (America). Kick off Russia. Kick off Nigeria. Kick off China. Kick off ... !! And let the internet be what it was intended - AMERICAN !!

This is so stupid it's beyond belief (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#44163267)

So you want to suppress the internet because of cyber-warfare? How about suppressing cars because there are car accidents? Or suppressing humanity because humans get diseases?

When something new comes to light, new problems appear with it. Intelligent people try to solve the problems. Idiots try to suppress the new thing.

Incidentally, this guy's opinion is published far and wide thanks to the internet. Oh the irony...

Re:This is so stupid it's beyond belief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163381)

Or suppressing humanity because humans get diseases?

Help! Help! I'm being suppressed!

"Repeal" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163271)

The first problem is that he starts talking about the Internet as if it were created by some mandate of some governing authority, and that if that mandate hadn't happened, the Internet wouldn't exist. Except that "the Internet" isn't really a unit, and no one body controls it. Once again, pundits and politicians just don't get it.

Why of course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163273)

Why of course? There are other reasons to want to repeal the internet. For instance, because it is deepening the Western cultural narcissism of our age, and spreading it throughout the world, backed by the US's hubristic and demonstrably false claim that they have discovered the best possible way to live.

Doesn't go far enough (5, Funny)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year ago | (#44163277)

Having read TFA, I am forced to conclude that if I could, I would repeal the printing press.

See, the printing press gave rise to mass publishing. Mass publishing gave rise to newspapers. Which in turn led to the Washington Post. Which in turn led to the ability of somebody as atrociously stupid as Robert J. Samuelson to find a mass audience for his idiocy.

Or is that not going far enough. If we're going to be truly safe, do we need to repeal writing?

In some ways I agree, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163291)

My colleagues at Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] ridiculed me mercilessly when I told them that I was for the very first time prepared to accept the responsibility of being root on a Linux box connected directly to the Internet.

It's not like it's hard to install and configure Linux. What is hard is to ensure that it's not broken into.

I challenged them all to deface so much as one page on any of the sites I serve from that box. It's been a couple years, but none have yet been defaced. While it is possible I've been penetrated, it's been done in a way I cannot detect.

By comparison, I am able to root any Apple A/UX 2.0 box within ten or twenty seconds of it being connected to the same network I have access to. That is, if it's within a firewall, I have to be inside that same firewall. I can also cover up the fact that I'm logged in. I never tried to make myself completely indetectable, say by patching ls, ps and so one, but I know how I could.

My rootkit was maybe fifteen lines of C code. I attached it to a Radar report, then referred it to the A/UX team because I was so pissed off that they did not even know what the CERT advisories even were.

I feared I would be fired, but no, I was enthusiastically invited to play "Capture the Flag" on one of Apple's BSD VAXen. The objective was to alter the file "/flag" in any way whatsoever. At the same it's contents were something like "Kevin Mitnick RUL3Z!". But I was never able to scratch that VAX's security in any way.

My logs on my current server tell me it receives thousands of breakin attempts every single day, the vast majority of them attempts to GET /phpMyAdmin.php, /phpMy-Admin.php and so on. My guess is that some clueless PHP "coders" get the bright idea they can lock down their box rather than changing the password from the default!

But there are lots of other kinds of exploit attempts. The most serious one was a persistent effort to load some URLs that I found to be part of some commercial content management system that had not been updated in five years or so. I'm sorry I don't recall what its name was. I don't use it, but whoever does likely has many well-known, unpatched vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, telephone wardialing is a far, far greater problem than CyberWarfare over the Internet. I'd rather not be too specific as to why, but I've been thinking lately that I would do well to send a registered letter to the Department of Homeland Security.

I personally know how to cause a huge detonation over a telephone modem. That's all I'm going to say about it, that and that it's been long enough that the ignorant mother fucker who is responsible for enabling that detonation has had plenty of time to fix his broken code. I didn't want to put his whole company out of business as in many respects their product has many merits. It's just buggy as all get-out, with many security vulnerabilities being no more than commonplace bugs that enable one to break in - or make something explode - when stimulated in certain ways.

Root cause: substandard computer security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163293)

At the heart of this opinion piece is the fact that we still cannot make computers both usable/useful and secure. Every reason why the Internet should be repealed has something to do with computer security, be it worms, remote control of powerplants, etc, from foreigners, etc.

Which is to say that the problem isn't confined to cyber-warefare, rather the lack of means that can be deployed to mitigate attacks.

I'd love for someone to come up with a real answer to DDoS so that the 21st century mafia were not able to use standover tactics ("Give us $100000 every month or we'll DDoS you into oblivion for a week.")

The Internet is not for war (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#44163297)

The reason? Mass blindness of course.

Fixed that for you.

I'd like to repeal: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163305)

Fire - terribly dangerous - kills lots of people

The Wheel - kills even more than Fire, every year, on our roads

Language - The minute we started to communicate, we started having disagreements, which ended up as Wars.

Disease - Why not, since we're talking about stupid impossible things? Let's have everyone living till 102.

The Brain - responsible for all the unhappiness in the world. We were better off when we were apes. Or small floating things in the primeval ocean....

Re:I'd like to repeal: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163419)

Life. The world was so peaceful before life entered the stage. Have you ever heard of one rock eating another? Or of predatory planets?

He's partially right, but I would not repeal it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163331)

We just don't have enough "open" net, and an infrastructure to protect us from spying. We need further generations of the Internet to surplant this one and fast.

The cyberattacks are a result of "closed" systems, and some things should never be on this Internet like bombs, power generation plants, hospitals.

I'm reminded of a Douglas Adams quote: (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44163363)

From HHGTG [heretical.com] :

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

None of these problems are hard to solve (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#44163389)

Utilities connected to the public internet? Make doing that except on a one time, emergency basis a felony and threaten to charge the entire management with felony murder if anyone dies because of a "cyber attack." The possibility of facing the death penalty for criminal negligence leading to homicide will cause them to suddenly find a way to invest whatever resources are needed to get off the internet post haste.

Stolen trade secrets? Just build a private company network with no internet access. ZOMG it's so expensive that like... you can buy a "corporate machine" for like $400 now. A KVM or dual monitor set up would be fine.

Lets take it to its logical conclusion (1)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44163511)

Make doing that except on a one time, emergency basis a felony and threaten to charge the entire management with felony murder if anyone dies because of a "cyber attack."

While youre at it, lets get rid of murder and all violent crimes by making them capital offences where the presumption is guilty until proven innocent. Lets get rid of that pesky jury trial and time wasting right of appeal as well. That should scare off them criminals from even thinking about carrying out crimes.

Since we're relying on excessive punishments as a deterrence factor, why not also make speeding a felony as well.

Why you are a terrorist for internetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163397)

So, why are you a terrorist for using the internet?
Because you are. /WASHINGton post

What do he got to hide? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44163399)

That he's an idiot?

Hey people, it's just a question =P

TROLL (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44163405)

is what the author of TFA is. Obviously he's being disingenuous.

This is simply a lot of ink spilt in order to sell more newspapers, nothing more.

A New Era (3, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44163413)

My father grew up during the '30s, amidst nation-states all on an ineluctable course for war. Information was scarce, could take weeks before reaching citizens, and was always colored. Until he recently died, such was his mindset: nation-states, triumphing nationalism, shifting alliances, scarce and coloured information. And I remember, when growing up during the last 2 decades of the Cold War, that I sometimes went to bed realizing that nuclear war might and could break out overnight. That, in that case, I would either never wake up again: our family's home was close to a piece of infrastructure important for routing supplies to armies fighting in the Northwest-European plains, or otherwise might wake up as a radiation victim. The Cold War: information was not as scarce. We had newspapers, radio, television - but information was incomplete. We later learned that information on much of what happened behind the Iron Curtain had simply been suppressed to us, ordinary citizens, and that the same was true for the citizens "on the other side".

The Cold War passed, and exactly 12 years of prosperity, along with unbridled & blooming innovation, followed. Until 9/11/2001. We have, since, been sliding into what seems more and more to become as much of a status quo as the Cold War was: the Information War.

Many are struggling to adapt to the new mindset required to cope with this new paradigm, as German Federal Chancellor Merkel illustrated by likening the US eavesdropping and bugging practices to "Cold War practice". The Information War is taking up speed: information is nearly free-flowing over the internet - and at the stake of conflict itself.

I can imagine, hence, the confusion and revulsion of Samuelson, who must have somehow - like most of us did - settled for a world in a state of seemingly permanent Cold War. War has never, or hardly ever, been about infrastructure, and such Samuelson's text is far off the mark. War has always been about either assets or power, and the asset now at stake is: information. It must be hard, for people of Samuelson's generation, to get that into their heads, although they better do - lest they lose fundamental understanding of what our world has become, and is becoming ever faster: an always-shifting patchwork of information sinks and sources.

if you want to repeal the internet (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#44163429)

there's usually just one cable to cut.

Re:if you want to repeal the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163465)

Go and live in a hut in Montana, but please just don't start putting bombs in the post.

Re:if you want to repeal the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163469)

Yes it's in Baltimore. It has been cut a few times in the past :)

Social network is an oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163455)

Having one's face stuck in a computer chatting and liking is not socialising.

Re:Social network is an oxymoron (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44163551)

Having one's face stuck in a computer chatting and liking is not socialising.

+1 like

Ugh (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#44163513)

'If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not â" as most people imagine â" a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it.'

That makes about as much sense as:

'If I could, I would repeal the fire. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not â" as most people imagine â" a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it.'

Why not do that instead. It would certainly have ended a lot of conflicts if we didn't have fire. Actually, you could reference just about any man made technology as contributing to man's demise. Anything can be perverted to be a weapon. Where do they find these idiots and why on Earth are they paid money for spreading this nonsensical drivel?

Don't use the damned thing (1)

mdragan (1166333) | about a year ago | (#44163531)

Nobody is forcing anyone to connect to the internet (well, except EA and UbiSoft if you really need to play their games).
People who think the Internet should not exist, should just unplug that cable from the computer, or better, they shouldn't get a subscription from the ISP. It's THAT simple! No more fear of those crazy cyberwarrior ninjas and their electronic katanas.

Re:Don't use the damned thing (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44163547)

Nobody is forcing anyone to connect to the internet (well, except EA and UbiSoft if you really need to play their games). People who think the Internet should not exist, should just unplug that cable from the computer, or better, they shouldn't get a subscription from the ISP. It's THAT simple! No more fear of those crazy cyberwarrior ninjas and their electronic katanas.

Not that simple. If you read the article the guy is talking about cyber attacks on utilities, financial institutions, etc. If you have that fear as well as unplugging you need to go off-grid, have your own water supply and be self-sufficient for food.

Lots of other reasons to regret the Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44163555)

Cyberwarfare is an interesting choice as the top regret, but it strikes me as something that can be addressed (or at least managed) through engineering and adaption of protocols to keep sensitive systems off the worldwide Internet.

Here's my top of the head list of what we've lost from "Al's invention":

1) Loss of Privacy. The NSA is in the news, but I'm thinking more in terms of Google and Big Data, permanently archiving, cataloging and predicting every move that every one of us makes.

2) Loss of Leisure. We used to have down time after we left the company parking lot, except for a few unfortunates who had to carry beepers. Now we're all unfortunates, we're all on call 24x7 even when we're on vacation, and it's tough to schedule vacation these days.

3) Offshoring of Jobs. It's now very easy for corporations like IBM to save money (at least at first) by replacing an American or UK job with five jobs in India, Viet Nam or some other developing country.

4) Reputation Bombing and Management. What used to be word of mouth, whisper campaigns and slam books has now become worldwide and permanent, powered by social networking sites and search engines. A local restaurant can be ruined by disgruntled ex-employees or competitors trolling Yelp and similar sites. A 23-year old posting foolish pictures on Facebook or Tumblr (or their boyfriends/girlfriends or some random dude posting them) will have to deal with them probably for the rest of their lives. Google never forgets and neither does the Internet.

5) Loss of Local Retailing. Twenty years ago we could drive around town and visit lots of well-stocked stores for music, books, electronics. Today, not so much thanks to Amazon and its online competitors. And remember how Amazon drove Tower Records out of business - by consistently offering top musical CD's at 30-35 percent off list. If you haven't noticed, Amazon doesn't do that anymore with music now that it has no bricks and mortar competitors to worry about. They still do that for books though - for now.

6) Machine Intelligence. This is the scariest one, much scarier to me than cyberwarfare. Machines can be programmed not just to execute the designs of teams of programmers, but to essential develop new patterns and designs. At a certain point, lots of jobs will become unnecessary, and machines themselves will pose a threat to humanity (right now we're starting to see that with the issue of drones).

But no, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. We're stuck with these times, and yes, Google, Amazon and the others have certainly brought us some amazing benefits (I'll leave it to others to discuss the benefits of Facebook).

Well damnit it all, just blame it on.... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year ago | (#44163601)

...ARPA, or its evolution into DARPA & ARPANET.
You shall reap what you soe....

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