[SATLUG] From Fortune

Ernest De Leon edeleonjr at gmail.com
Fri Jan 2 10:14:51 CST 2009

There are several ways to look at this. I will give my view point only and
others are free to chime in as fit. I believe that information should be
free (as in beer and freedom.) I understand that for purposes of national
security, competitive advantage, trade secrets, etc., a lot of information
is kept secret or not released to the public at large (and I mean globally.)
Some things should be kept secret because the release of that information to
certain parties could cause great harm to many people, but at the same time,
withholding information for the sake protectionism is wrong as well. This is
especially prevalent in the technology field as a whole. Rather than
continuously innovate, many companies turn to copyright, patent and other
forms of legal protectionism to extract as much money as possible from a
given idea. This is fundamentally wrong on so many levels, but our
government values 'intellectual property,' thus ends that debate. As far as
general information goes, like the magazines in your quote, no one should be
barred from attaining that information. This is very different from
attaining certain information like plans to construct a nuclear bomb. Those
would obviously benefit no one who is trying to do good for society, and in
the hands of the wrong group, well, you know. The main reason that people or
groups withhold information from the general public is to have an advantage
over others. The phrase 'knowledge is power' has some merit. Whether the
advantage be competitiveness in the market or superiority of other sorts,
withholding information from others assures the informed party of success
over the ignorant party. I freely share all of the information that I know
with anyone who wants to know. I don't believe that withholding something
for the sake of creating a dependency on me or my services is right. I look
at it this way...lets assume that we try and hide everything we have done
thus far to advance our society. As other societies become more literate and
stable, they will eventually figure it all out and surpass us at some point.
How will we feel when we are then on the other side of the informational
divide? It is better to foster a sense of cooperation and learning between
all of us now so that we can evolve as a species rather than in subsets. I
think that we are one or two generations away from dropping most if not all
of the ignorance and prejudices that have plagued our species for several
millenia, and it is in no small part due to the overall rise in world
literacy, reasoning and critical thinking skills. Let's not let personal
fears or greed get in the way of global education.

On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Geoff/W5OMR <w5omr at att.net> wrote:

> I found this rather poignant...
> from fortune:
> Rattling around the back of my head is a disturbing image of something
> I saw at the airport ... Now I'm remembering, those giant piles of
> computer magazines right next to "People" and "Time" in the airport
> store.  Does it bother anyone else that half the world is being told
> all of our hard-won secrets of computer technology?  Remember how all
> the lawyers cried foul when "How to Avoid Probate" was published?  Are
> they taking no-fault insurance lying down?  No way!  But at the current
> rate it won't be long before there are stacks of the "Transactions on
> Information Theory" at the A&P checkout counters.  Who's going to be
> impressed with us electrical engineers then?  Are we, as the saying
> goes, giving away the store?
>               -- Robert W. Lucky, IEEE President
> --
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