Opinion

The Great Debate

from The Great Debate UK:

Does the Internet empower or censor?

What if the Internet is not really a utopian democratic catalyst of change?

The Web is often seen as a positive means of instilling democratic freedoms in countries under authoritarian rule, but many regimes are now using it to subvert democracy, Evgeny Morozov, a contributing editor at "Foreign  Policy", proposes.

The Internet can actually inhibit rather than empower civil society, Morozov, argued in a lecture on Tuesday at London's Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Social media platforms are being used by certain governments to create a "spinternet" to influence public opinion. They are also being used as part of a process of "authoritarian deliberation" to try and increase the legitimacy of authoritarian rule, he said.

Morozov spoke with Reuters after the lecture.

Forget Microsoft, Yahoo’s value is overseas

– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

eric_auchard_columnist_shot_2009_june_300_px2The fate of Yahoo Inc has become intertwined in the public’s imagination with the success or failure of its dealings with Microsoft Corp in recent years.

That’s despite the fact that as much as 70 percent of the value investors put on Yahoo’s depressed shares are tied up in its international assets or cash holdings — factors that have nothing to do with Microsoft.

from The Great Debate UK:

Google calls time on the Age of Windows

tom_dunmore

-Tom Dunmore is Brand Director & Editor-in-Chief at Stuff magazine - Stuff has over 1 million readers worldwide. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Google announced on Wednesday that it was developing its own computer operating system. It will be secure, fast, lightweight and - most of all - free. And it presents the biggest challenge yet to the long-standing dominance of Windows.

The idea behind Google ChromeOS is nothing new - it's built on a Linux foundation and will no doubt share many of the features of other open-source operating systems. But Google is the only computing brand with more might than Microsoft: it's trusted, and has a proven track record of building brilliant, free services, from search to instant messaging.

Bracing for black shoots in tech markets

Eric Auchard– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Pundits have been talking endlessly about the possible green shoots of recovery in the ravaged world economy.

But early shoots are not always green. They might want to consider the problem of black shoots. These false starts are familiar to lily growers, when a temporary rise in soil temperature occurs after a cold period.

Advancing global Internet freedom

Leslie Harris – Leslie Harris is the president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC. The views expressed are her own. —

In the wake of troubling reports as recently as last year that Western companies were assisting China with Internet censorship and the unmasking of cyber-dissidents, governments around the world seemed poised to regulate the conduct of Internet companies. Lawmakers appear to have stepped back from those efforts, but the challenges of advancing global Internet freedom remain.

The Global Online Freedom Act, drafted in the U.S. Congress, would have made it a crime for Internet companies to turn over personal information to governments in cases where that information could be used to punish dissent. The bill produced a firestorm of controversy. Human rights groups campaigned for swift passage, while the tech industry scrambled to stop the bill, which they viewed as a global eviction order from many difficult but emerging markets. At the same time, several members of the European Parliament proposed a European version of the measure, taking the accompanying controversy global.

Silence is no defense for Euro tech executives

— Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

phones

A man keys in a message onto a mobile phone in a Milan bar March 3, 2006. REUTERS/Daniele LA Monaca When on trial, any attorney will tell you, the best defense is to stick with what you know and speculate about nothing.

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