Stop Spreading Manure

It’s an example of yet another brouhaha: a report a few years ago that Google blatantly admitted you should have no expectation of privacy whatsoever when using their services. The internet went crazy. Many sources proclaimed, “How outrageous! We told you so! Google is evil!” Mainstream news outlets picked up stories from smaller publishers, and they all confirmed the entire sordid mess.

Except the internet was wrong. Manure, to use a polite term, was being spread far, wide, and fast.

That’s where things get complicated.

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Just What Is Common Sense?

When it comes to internet safety, one of the most oft-cited pieces of advice computer professionals hand out is this:

Use common sense.

One of the most common responses is this:

Great. Just what, exactly, is that?

When it comes to technology and safety, “common sense” is incredibly important, and yet incredibly ill-defined.

Let’s see if we can define it a little. I think many of the “rules” will sound familiar.

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How the Internet Is Breaking Journalism (and What It Means to You)

I recently realized something very critical about how the internet works today and how broken it is.

The assumptions that readers are making about the information they find online – even at relatively “reputable” sites – are wrong. The internet is breaking what “journalism” means. As a result, it’s become even more critical for online information consumers (that’s you and me, by the way) to take on a burden we haven’t been trained to even concern ourselves with until now.

The burden of confirmation.

I’ve written about it before, but the sad fact is,you just can’t believe everything you read on the internet. It is now your practical responsibility to do the legwork to confirm whether something is or is not true.

Yes, I agree: that’s totally broken.

It’s partly our fault.

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