The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

Big Brother is Lurking

Posted in Internet by Taylor Dobbs on 03/02/2009

Another snowy day on campus has me glued to my 2-screen display setup, burning hours on the interwebs, more Firefox than empty soda cans on my desk (many). Though I am still slightly foggy on exactly what Web 2.0 is, I’m pretty sure that I’ve got at least four web 2.0 sites open at a time. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress or other blogs, web 2.0 is beginning a take-over. The only problem is: No one knows exactly what that means.

As much as we like to think otherwise, these sites are owned by someone *cough*google*cough* and our information is all going through- if not being stored at some central location. Is it just me, or is the Patriot Act grinning in that shadowy corner? The implications of deriving great success from a source not completely known can be great, but can also be disastrous. Bruce Sterling’s take on it was on BoingBoing yesterday, and he’s not so pumped to see these sites spreading faster than Australian rabbits.

My take? Well saying this stuff out loud at the nearest dining hall would probably reach more people than the blog, but I can dream. But my take is that we’re okay now, but if things keep going how they are, we’ll be too into this stuff by the time 2010 rolls in. With the advent of new technologies like Google’s Lattitude, things are getting scary. It’s a running joke among my friends that when you’re diagnosing internet problems, if Google’s down, the problem is on your end. Google is never down, but what if it was. Most of us would be fine for now, but wait a few years and answer that question again. If that’s not scary enough for you, check out the arguments against Google in this Wired story.

The point? Web 2.0 is taking over, and the central sources are staying behind the scenes – for now. Just don’t be surprised if the government uncovers vital evidence for the bigger cases in saved e-mail drafts, unpublished blog posts, tweets, and youtube videos. I just try to remember that I live in the real world, not Web 2.0, and I don’t in fact need people I don’t know to learn enough about where I am and what I’m doing to be able to land a missile that freckle on my arm.

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