We've recently seen silly articles hyping the threat of terrorists
using virtual worlds and other Web 2.0 sites for recruitment,
planning, and training. And we've seen equally silly articles
ridiculing the idea. The truth is that Web 2.0 tools are great for
terrorism, for the same reasons they're great for legitimate projects.
That doesn't mean we should shut down Facebook and Second Life to
protect ourselves from instant, horrible death. But we do need to
rationally evaluate possible threats.
Lately there has been some rather bizarre hype about the potential
threat from terrorists in cyberspace. Security specialists have been
expressing increasing concern about the potential for mischief with
Web 2.0. In particular, during the past six months a spate of
newspaper articles have been citing security experts about the alleged danger that terrorists will use virtual worlds for
nefarious purposes. Groups such as the U.S. government's Intelligence
Advanced Research Projects Activity say they fear that terrorists --
using virtual personas called "avatars" -- will recruit new members
online, transfer funds in ways that cannot be traced, and may engage
in training exercises that are useful for real-world terrorist operations. They point to existing "terrorist groups"
operating on virtual reality sites as an ominous sign.
The threat of terrorists using Web 2.0 is real. The same
characteristics that make Second Life and other Web 2.0 tools great
for collaboration on legitimate projects make them great for
collaboration by terrorists: The tools are inexpensive, they're easy
to use, you can use them anonymously and shield your real identity,
they're globally available, and they facilitate communications between
teams of people.
Faced with the prospect of terrorists using Web 2.0 tools, what
should we do about it?:
We can put our fingers in our ears and go la, la, la, la, la,
la and pretend the problem doesn't exist.
We can demonize Web 2.0 tools and virtual worlds, hold shrill
government hearings, publish sensationalist headlines, scare the spit
out of everybody, create thousands of pages of pointless government
regulation, inconvenience hundreds of millions of Internet users, and
wantonly violate civil rights.
Or we can look into apparent terrorist threats on Web 2.0
sites, while keeping a cool head and letting the overwhelming majority
of people continue using the sites for work, play, and -- most
definitely -- political dissent.
What do you think? Is terrorism using Web 2.0 a threat? Let us know.
"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." -
Today's Video: "Frozen Grand Central" Two hundred people in Grand Central Terminal freeze in place, on cue,
for five minutes, confounding passersby.
Seen a great video? Share it with the rest of the InformationWeek community. Just leave a message on our forum with a brief description and the
link. We'll highlight the best video of the day in this newsletter.
The Future of Content Management
The current shift in content management affords everyone the opportunity to publish anything in real time, causing a massive influx of content online. Content management systems, once unique to large companies, are emerging as a standard requirement for almost every business operation that values its online presence.
Pakistan didn't win any friends in the InformationWeek
community for its blocking YouTube. In a community poll, 72% of
responders said that Pakistan and other countries that block the
Internet are wrong. On the InformationWeek Forum, "tsrl" said:
"The government of Pakistan has the right to police their borders,
physically or electronically. If the people of Pakistan do not like
the actions of the government, they AND ONLY THEY, have the right to
change the situation." What do you think? Take our poll or Leave a message on the InformationWeek Forum -- or both.
Virtualization At The Desktop?
Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.
The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.
Suddenly SaaS Is A CIO's Best Friend
As recession looms, fingers are pointing to software as a service as a viable, fiscally responsible option for upgrading application portfolios. Is recession-driven SaaS another notable turning point for technology?
Congress Tries To Drink Big Oil's Milkshake
If Daniel Plainview weren't fictional, he'd be howling bloody hell. Congress on Wednesday passed a bill that would yank $17.65 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and reallocate the savings to fund tax incentives for wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies.
Firefox, Or Pigfoot?
One index of success for an open source project is how many other projects are derived from it -- or how many people have created alternate builds of the same project. Firefox's success has spawned a whole slew of community-compiled editions of the program, and this week I've been living with one of them, code-named "Pigfoot."
Join Us For GridTalk Friday On The Future Of Motorati Island
Join us Friday to look at one of the most active communities in Second Life: Motorati Island. The sponsors, headed by Pontiac, recently turned the island over to the United Spinal Association. Renamed Motorability, it's headed up by Patty Streeter, who will be our guest for GridTalk noon SLT.
Fireproof Storage? I Don't Get It
Over the past couple of years ioSafe, Sentry, and Schwab have introduced a new generation of backup targets, fireproof storage. A Frankenstein like crossbreeding of USB hard drive or NAS and fireproof safe, they can protect your backups against fire, flood (as they're waterproof, too) and gloom of night. Last Interop our own Steve Hill drove out to the desert with the friendly folks from ioSafe, poured a flammable liquid on one of there NAS boxes and had himself a nice little computer barbecue so they could demonstrate that the data inside laughs at fire. Cool I thought but why?
EMC Boosts Mozy Pro Prices Up To 300%
In an e-mail sent to MozyPro resellers this week, EMC announced new pricing for online backup of servers via its MozyPro division effective March 1. Users that purchase plans under the current pricing will be grandfathered in, so if you were thinking that MozyPro was the right answer for your servers, sign up now. Of course, you also may want to consider another provider, like Intronis Technologies' eSureIT or IBackup Professional, now that MozyPro is in their price range.
Where To Start With ILM
Last week I hosted an ILM (Information Life-cycle Management) video Web cast. One of the questions that came up was "Where do I start with ILM without much risk?" It's a good question.
Forrester Consulting: Unified Communications Delivers Global Benefits
This Forrester Consulting study shows how Unified Communications
(UC) makes it simpler to contact others over any device in any location,
enhancing business agility, cutting costs, and boosting employee
productivity. Forrester finds that UC is already delivering major savings
for organizations around the world in retail banking, manufacturing and
education. Download the full report for free.
Software as a Service Research Report
No longer a niche software delivery model, software as a service
(SaaS) can help small and midsize companies get access to enteprise-class
software functionality without having to commit enterprise-level capital
resources. Download the full report for free.
The Internet & the Developing World
The evolution of the Internet has been full of surprises –
surprises that have sometimes resulted in radical changes in the
commercial landscape, such as the arrival of Amazon, eBay, Google,
YouTube, and Skype. Could one of the next big surprises turn out to be
linked to developing countries? Read the full report for free from
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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.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.