In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: How Trustworthy Is The Web?
2. Today's Top Story
- Survey: 86% Expect To Implement Vista Sooner Or Later
- Allchin Backtracks On Vista 'No Antivirus' Comments
- Critical Wireless Flaw Leaves Windows Users Open To Attack
- Windows Vista, Office 2007 Code Leaked To The Net
3. Breaking News
- Q&A With Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
- EDS Acquires SAP Specialist
- Sony Sold 88,400 PS3s In Japan In 2 days, Says Publisher
- How Red Hat Lost Friends And Gained Enemies
- Online Spending On Travel To Reach $128 Billion
- Sites Give Sneak Peek At Black Friday Deals
- CSC: We've Blown $80 Million At Sears And Want Our Money Back
- Juniper Brings Funk To Access Control
- Sun Releases Java To Open Source Development
- Google Apps For Your Domain Gains New Start Page
- Intel Makes Software Play With Enterprise 2.0 Suite Of Apps
- Web 2.0 Is All About 'Open.' Well, Except When It Comes To The Data
- Blogs And Wikis Move In As E-Mail Overload Becomes Unbearable
4. Grab Bag
- Nations That Censor The Net (BusinessWeek)
- Clearing A Path From Desktop To The Recycler (NY Timesreg. required)
- Moore's Law Is Dead, Says Gordon Moore (Techworld)
5. In Depth: E-Voting
- E-Voting Performance Not What It Should Be
- E-Voting Glitches Examined; Reform Push Planned
- E-Voting Tested On Election Day
- E-Voting Security Scrutinized During Midterm Elections
- E-Voting Gaffe Reported
6. Voice Of Authority
- Dem Victory Punctures E-Voting Conspiracy Theories
7. White Papers
- 17 Rules For Successful User Management Initiatives
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day:
"The wisest of the wise may err." Aeschylus
My 11-year-old daughter loves Wikipedia. Just loves it. Give her an assignment that requires research, and that site is her first stop. And no matter how much I have cautioned her, she takes everything she finds there as gospel truth.
When I did a reality check last Friday on some Wikipedia data my daughter had dug up about an obscure early French explorer, I found something interesting. Curious to see how Wikipedia information jibed with that from other sites, I did awhat else?Google search, only to find that most other sites had simply copied the Wikipedia entry. Word for word, in many cases. In short: even if eventually corrected, erroneous information put into Wikipedia had already been propagated throughout the Web. Worse, that means that less sophisticated researcherslike my daughtercould easily conclude that the sheer volume of corroboration from multiple sources meant that the information must be true.
My experienceadmittedly anecdotalis backed up by several independent studies published recently that brought home two key facts: first, people are increasingly dependent on Web searches to find important information. Secondly, the vast majority of people don't question the accuracy or timeliness of what they find there.
In other words, there's a growing reliance on blind faith to make often-critical decisions.
The studies largely focused on health data. The conclusion of a widely reported study by Australian researchers was that doctors trying to correctly diagnose difficult cases should turn to Google for an answer. Physicians at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane chose three to five search terms for 26 illnesses the New England Journal had listed as particularly difficult to diagnosis. A Google search on each resulted in correct diagnoses almost 60% of the time. Although a 40% error rate might not sound comforting if you're suffering from a mysterious mix of symptoms, in fact, researchers concluded that using the Web as an aid to traditional means of diagnosing more obscure diseasesread: individual doctors' knowledge and printed reference materialshas become an essential tool in modern health care.
But before you celebrate that all this expert knowledge is literally at our fingertips, you should know about another study released last week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Only 25% of Americas who already use the Web to get health advice check the sources and dates of the data they find there.
How many people are we talking about? Plenty. According to a study by Forrester Research, a full 38% of online consumers sought medical advice from the Web in 2006, compared with 30% in 2003. According to the Pew study, on a single day in Augustthe date on which its research was basedthat was 10 million Americans. Annually, that adds up to more than 3.6 billion consumers who may be being steered in the wrong direction.
What do you think? How dependent are you on the Web for doing primary research, whether for business or personal reasons? More importantly, what can we doperhaps through education, watchdog groups, and better search technologyto help improve our ability to separate the informational wheat from the chaff? Let me know by responding to my blog entry.
Allchin Backtracks On Vista 'No Antivirus' Comments
Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, has clarified his widely reported comment that Vista was so secure he had not bothered to install antivirus software on a home PC used by his 7-year-old son.
Juniper Brings Funk To Access Control
Competing with Cisco Systems, Juniper's upgraded Unified Access Control uses standardized hardware, software, and protocols to keep malware-infested devices from connecting to and corrupting enterprise networks.
Sun Releases Java To Open Source Development
The cross-platform technology Sun created more than 10 years ago will be available under the GNU General Public License, which is the same contract that governs use and development of the Linux operating system.
Wireless In The Enterprise
Learn what more than 500 companies are planning regarding their companies' wireless and mobile computing strategies in InformationWeek Research's Wireless/Mobile Computing report.
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4. Grab Bag
Nations That Censor The Net (BusinessWeek)
Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based watchdog group that acts as an advocate for international freedom of the press, has released the names of the governments that are the worst offenders for censoring Internet usage.
Moore's Law Is Dead, Says Gordon Moore (Techworld)
It's been more than 40 years since former Intel chief Gordon Moore published his famous "law" predicting that chip processing power would double every two years. Now, however, Moore says that this trend "can't continue forever."
E-Voting Glitches Examined; Reform Push Planned
Some 17% of the complaints to Common Cause focused on mechanical failure, which is likely to be one of several components in a push for reform as the 2008 presidential election approaches.
E-Voting Tested On Election Day
Poll watchers and voters in 10 states reported jammed phone lines, overloaded servers, voting machine glitches, poll worker difficulty operating the machines, and slow computer systems.
E-Voting Gaffe Reported
Elections Science Institute says e-voting systems could have been exposed to computer viruses.
6. Voice Of Authority
Dem Victory Punctures E-Voting Conspiracy Theories
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee says that although there were many reported problems with e-voting systems in last week's elections, for the most part they worked fineas evidenced by the Democrats' big win.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.