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by Stephen Downes
August 10, 2010

Google CEO Schmidt: People Aren't Ready for the Technology Revolution
Google CEO Eric Schmidt raised the question of whether there can be any online anonymity in a talk recently. According to ReadWriteWeb, on the misuse of information for criminal or anti-social purposes, he said, "The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it." Yes, there is the argument from privacy, but for most of us, anonymity is already pretty much an illusion. Oh, and if you think the last five years have seen a lot of change, just wait for the next five years.

"Privacy is incredibly important," Schmidt stated. "Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It's very important that Google and everyone else respects people's privacy. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal. It's the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it's not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity. There are no systems in our society which allow you to do that. Judges insist on unmasking who the perpetrator was. So absolute anonymity could lead to some very difficult decisions for our governments and our society as a whole." Marshall Kirkpatrick , ReadWriteWeb, August 10, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Plagiarism Is Not a Big Moral Deal
I know I'm not supposed to like Stanley Fish, but I can't help myself. Though he and I may come from very different perspectives, he routinely turns to arguments so simple and yet elegant it's hard not to be appreciative. Today's column in the New York Times is a case in point. "Plagiarism is an idea that makes sense only in the precincts of certain specialized practices and is not a normative philosophical notion," he argues, neatly cutting off all debate about whether ideas can be original, whether people can own words, whether it is moral to cite these words, whether computers make the whole issue moot. That's all irrelevant. "If it is wrong to plagiarize in some context of practice, it is not because the idea of originality has been affirmed by deep philosophical reasoning, but because the ensemble of activities that take place in the practice would be unintelligible if the possibility of being original were not presupposed." Lovely. Stanley Fish, New York Times, August 10, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

#MetaOER Project: Open Repository on Open Educational Resources on Open Educational Resources
Jordi Cornet writes to say that the UNESCO Chair at the UOC has been developing MetaOER, "to collect and centralize key Open Educational Resources on Open Educational Resources (OER documents that show how to create, license, share… other OER resources)." There's a PDF Wrap-Up and a Feed. Unattributed, UNESCO Chair in E-Learning, August 10, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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