Home > Computers and Internet > Attack of the Blogs: Forbes.com

Attack of the Blogs: Forbes.com

31-Oct-05 08:00 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Responsible reporting in blogs is increasingly becoming an issue for the media and technology professionals alike.  Indeed this could also be tracked under the same heading as the various copyright infringment / intellectual property rights / free speech issues faced by the net today, such as:
  • Google & video / literary copyright infringment,
  • Music & peer-to-peer infringing on property rights of media/content producers, and
  • ISP content responsibility.

But the latest chapter in the whole media.net issue file is an article on Forbes.com (and apprently in the Nov. 14th issue of Forbes) concerning attacks from the blogosphere "brand-smashing" and attacking perople or orginzations with slanderous and (were it not the net) otherwise slanderous material (free membership required for link).  Certainly, the blueprint he cites as the nowadays popular method of destroying a company has worked over and over again.  And blogs are not to be taken at par with media articles – because there’s no way to verify the identity of the reporter who is held to existing laws against slander and the like.


But the author of the Forbes article goes much further than to merely point out the downside of blogospheric anonymity.  He seems to suggest that remedies exist in law should exist to prevent such damage being done; and practically-speaking, there aren’t many that come to mind that wouldn’t involve either:

a)  ISPs being forced to be responsible for content and

b) Internet anyonymity being eliminated (at least for bloggers).

Yes, once again – the dark elements of humankind are forcing all of us to have our liberty curtailed.  The argument made by the Forbes columnist is passionate and points to a very real problem.  Bloggers need to pay far more attention to getting their facts straight as a function of responsible blogging.  And it needn’t be perfect – God knows the media gets it wrong often enough.


On the flipside, blog readers need to be far, far more critical of what they read.  And if one should take what’s written in the popular media by professional reporters with a grain of salt, a sizeable block is the right dose to use in the blogosphere.


And by no means should blogs ever be used as a tool for slander.


But since such things are inevitable, ultimately either ISPs or blog site operators will be forced to surrender currently anyonymous info on bloggers, which is a shame.  It’s the only viable way I can see to make any law on the subject enforceable.  As distasteful as the whole notion is, anonymity is becoming such a problem in this regard, and when the number of blog-abuse cases mount, even the most libertarian-minded legislators may simply have no choice.


If you’re still not convinced, imagine a blog where personal, private or slanderous information about you is posted.  Wouldn’t you want to have a way to hold the puretrator of such a deed to account?


Fortunately, I’m dull enough to sneak well-under the radar of anyone wishing to post even the most odious aspects of my personal life on the net. 😉

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