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What do you think? Can the Internet be use effectively to change policy in truly authoritarian governments?"The petition calls for elections in which both men and women would be allowed to vote.
The signatories want freedom of expression to be protected by law and they want the powers of the interior ministry curtailed.
But the Saudi authorities have made it clear they will not tolerate public calls for political change.
Is the greatest danger in this that pols are finally recognizing the threat posed by the web? What might this do to future legislation surrounding the web?"Each originally percolated in the world of new media — Web sites and news outlets that did not exist a generation ago — before charging into the traditional world of newspapers and television networks. In each case, the accusations quickly pivoted into a debate about the motivations and alleged biases of the accusers. Cumulatively, the stories highlight a new brand of politics in which nearly any revelation in the news becomes a weapon or shield in the daily partisan wars, and the aim of candidates and their operatives is not so much to win an argument as to brand opponents as fundamentally unfit.
The government is not banning Microsoft, but it is actively encouraging all 12,500 public schools in the state to install Linux.""schools and public offices across the state are being encouraged to install free software systems instead of purchasing Microsoft's Windows programs.
"It is well-known that Microsoft wants to have a monopoly in the field of computer technology. Naturally, being a democratic and progressive government, we want to encourage the spread of free software," M. A. Baby, the state's education minister, said by telephone."
First, I'll state the following, which should be obvious to everyone but - apparently - is not: there is no communication, no statement, without bias. From birth, we are conditioned to see and think by our unique individual experiences. I'll give you a basic lesson in semiotics, ripped straight from Saussure's Course in General Linguistics: every utterance is composed of a chain of signs. Each of these signs is composed of a signifier (the word) and a signified (that which the word is supposed to connote). Each signifier initially holds a different meaning for the hearer - if I say the word "tree" to you, you may think of a pine, while I think of an oak - thus, chains of signifiers tend to lessen (but never erase) the lack of clarity. This is a thumbnail description, but adequate for my purposes - if you want to understand more, visit the wikipedia entry (this one's accurate enough, I've checked it out).
Anyone engaging in a communicative act must thus be able to adequately arrange his chain of signifiers to convey a meaning close enough to the thoughts coursing through his mind. Thoughts that are intended for communication must be arranged and ordered - translated - through the conscious mind. This is why we have such cliches as, "Words cannot express," "I don't have the words, " "Words alone are inadequate to
The rest of this entry is found at my blog: Rhetoric, Culture, & The Digital.
To take these in reverse order: the free market cannot be relied upon to adequately secure individual human rights. The free market has a shitty record in this department because corporations - although they legally act as individuals - care only for the bottom line and pleasing shareholders. If you search Google, you'll find countless images and descriptions of child labor abuses during the Victorian era - before child labor laws: missing fingers (those tiny little bastards could remove objects from gears pretty easily), 16 hour workdays (until the Ten Hours act was passed, making it legal for 13-18 year olds to work only ten hour days), kids playing in the street in raw sewage, and more! Take a look at victorianweb's site about the subject. Hey, take a look at the good old USA, where the meat-packing industry was so corrupt that laws had to be passed against the canning and distribution of rotting meat and other disgusting practices. The free market may be great, but when deregulated, it's a bastard (and the leading cause of communism). Technology cannot solve all of our problems. Even "secure" technology is rife with flawed security issues. No computer software is too tough to be safe from an enterprising hacker: Google "security flaws" and you'll get over 14,400,000 hits. Anything that can be programmed can be hacked. Hardware designed by human engineers can be modified by geeks nationwide. Voting is the fundamental right of the citizen in our nation. The right to vote is too important to risk with any computerized system. Paper ballots, marked with ink (instead of punched cards) are the only means by which voters can be certain that a computer will not "miscalculate" or "accidentally delete" their votes - they can be sure that their vote is recorded accurately, at least until someone "accidentally throws away" their vote. The fact that we have to have this discussion makes me ill.