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Subject: [IP] more on Google Motto, fine distinctions and the ethics of knowledge

  • From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>
  • To: ip@v2.listbox.com
  • Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 06:57:36 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <ob2-19-0501@bobf.frankston.com>
Date: September 4, 2006 6:55:33 PM EDT
To: dave@farber.net, ip@v2.listbox.com
Subject: RE: [IP] more on Google Motto, fine distinctions and the ethics of knowledge


While ROBOTS.TXT is a nice hack it doesn’t really protect files from being cached all over the place. Also, it’s a negative flag so the failure mode is to ignore it.

It’s convenient but not sufficient for critical information. Perhaps the issue is coming to terms to the reality of the net—it is not a single well defined entity and conventions are not the same thing is legal requirements. When Reed Hundt spoke at F2C (Freedom To Connect) he advocated laws requiring the use of Internet protocols which misses the point of the Internet. For the same reason I advocate Net Neutrality as a concept but fear legislation which over defines.

ROBOTS.TXT is a nice convention but it’s not a substitute for better tools to control availability. We also need to understand what it means to live in a world where nothing is every forgotten.

Unfortunately it means being judged by the biddies of the future and may tilt politics towards who never had a thought outside the box or else were born with a deceptive façade – once a pathology and now an asset? We’ve learned, it’s far better to have an undo capability than to live in fear of doing the wrong thing – unfortunately pressing undo doesn’t always work.


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