Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sir Tim's Problems with Reality Continue

This is not the first time I have cast a jaundiced eye upon Sir Tim Berners-Lee's rather perverse form of "Enlightenment rationalism," which seems to be grounded more in the imperial Britain that ruled the nineteenth-century waves than in the social turmoil of our current century. However, when he flogs his stuff on a public medium like the BBC, I feel a reality check is in order. As reported by Joe McKendrick in a ZDNet article originally written for Service Oriented, Sir Tim used the BBC to sing the praises of HTML5, which will enable a future in which "every single web page out there, if you like, is like a computer." He then goes on to resume his attack on governments trying to take over the Internet, with an added swipe against corporate interests concerned only with (gasp!) making money.

Perhaps it is just my MIT upbringing, but I feel that Sir Tim has never really grasped a fundamental axiom of human nature as it applies to man in the world of technology. The axiom is a simple one:
Any entity, hardware or software, capable of computation is capable of being hacked.
The world "malware" never appears in McKendrick's article; and, while I did not watch the BBC video, I am fairly confident that the word is not in Sir Tim's working vocabulary. If Sir Tim does not yet realize that the primary beneficiaries of HTML5 will probably be the next generation of malware designers and advertisers coming up with even more annoying ways to distract you from your reason for visiting a Web page in the first place, then he will be in for a rude awakening!

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