If information is power, is there such a thing as too much power or too much knowledge?
I recently wondered that after listening to an NPR program on Google. It contained information that was both fascinating and infuriating.
This was the first time – except for during the recent news of a Goodle exec snubbing CNET and blackballing its reporters - that I really got mad at Google. But if some of what is being suggested is true, that Google is not correcting errors its links point to (even if it means a person is found not guilty of a crime or a listing for women’s shelter is listed), then there’s a problem.
I listened the program a few hours after hearing something disturbing at Borders: Two teens reading a book on how to do effective pranks.
Prank #1 – Write something false on a Web page and then watch Google mention it and smear the person’s name.
Or #2 – Make up something about an enemy then claim that enemy wrote it and it’s a copyright violation and watch the person get in trouble with the government.
It’s authors of books like these – which the boys bought, declaring it “brilliant!” – that drive me crazy and make life on the Net harder for everyone else.
It’s not like Google doesn’t have other problems on its plate, like this copyright issue I wrote about here.
Perhaps The Onion – in one of their classic satire pieces – said it best:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Executives at Google, the rapidly growing online-search company that promises to “organize the world’s information,” announced Monday the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index.