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No further comments about the blocking issue – perhaps we should agree to differ.
This week I have something rather different to think about –similar situations but in two rather different areas.
The first of these areas is privacy. Is the attitude towards personal privacy changing? Does the “younger generation” not value privacy at all any longer, or has there been a shift in terms of which aspects of a person’s life are considered to be private? I have heard it proposed by experts that in twenty years or so privacy will no longer exist as a concept, but my own observation suggests rather a shift in what is considered to be private. Today I downloaded a piece of software onto my laptop and realised that, in the end, secure privacy no longer exists. This is from the “Terms and Conditions” – “… may disclose any or all personal data and contents you have sent, posted or published if required to comply with applicable law or the order or requirement of a court, administrative agency or other governmental body.” “other governmental body” sounds dangerously general to me. But if privacy as a concept is becoming quaint, old fashioned, unimaginable, like the “glimpse of stocking” that in “olden days“ according to Cole Porter’s song was “looked on as something shocking”, then perhaps now we would agree with him “anything goes”?
The second area is intellectual property. If the philosophy of the new world is open-ness, an absence of privacy, then what becomes of ownership of words? Will plagiarism, like privacy, cease to exist as a concept? I have read at least one paper that proposed the abolition of the concept of plagiarism because it is old fashioned and contrary to the sharing spirit of the age. Because of my academic background plagiarism shocks me. The recent discovery of a block of four pages of “tweaked” plagiarised material in a report submitted by a consultant with an academic background was quite horrifying. Should it be? Or is the intellectual property of the world turning into a vast global commons from which anyone can appropriate whatever material they wish, with impunity and without any obligation for citation?
And as an ‘afterword” from the Financial Times, a quotation from a participant at the London Conference on Cyberspace, currently in session “Carl Bildt, Sweden’s minister for foreign affairs, told the conference, rather optimistically, that the internet would mean that there would be no “hidden corners of the world” or any “dark spaces”.