Repeal the Wheel!

Writes Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post,

If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more. But the Internet’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: cyberwar.

The trouble, it could be argued, began long before plumbers fit the first pipes together for the Intertubes. If it weren’t for the wheel, all those plumbers couldn’t roll about, fitting more and more Intertubes together. If it weren’t for the wheel, delivery trucks couldn’t deliver the digital weapons used by cyber-crackers to wage cyber-war. If it weren’t for the wheel, aircraft couldn’t roll down runways only to be weaponized by evil doers who got to the airport via the wheels on taxi cabs and rental cars. If it weren’t for the wheel, misuse of the very underpinnings of industry could be rolled back! Pushed back, that is, if we’d just REPEAL THE WHEEL!

Crikey. Rants like Samuelson’s are an insult to Luddites everywhere.

He lists a number of very real threats in the form of cyber-war targets, such as “power grids, pipelines, communication and financial systems, business record-keeping and supply-chain operations, railroads and airlines, databases of all types (from hospitals to government agencies).” But many of these would remain extremely vulnerable if the Internet were to magically evaporate tomorrow. Instead of imagining a world without the internet and the connectivity it provides, imagine a government that focuses more on hardening these infrastructure elements rather than criminalizing every aspect of behavior performed by it’s citizenry down to the level of an individual’s salt and soda intake.

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