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  •                                 NETFUTURE
    
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    
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    Issue #40      Copyright 1997 O'Reilly & Associates       February 5, 1997
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
    CONTENTS:
    *** Editor's Note
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          Chinese Cookies
          Looking up to Government
          Businesses That Grow Unprincipled
          David Kline on SLT on David Kline
    *** Is Technological Improvement What We Want?  (Part 2) (Steve Talbott)
          The Worm Was Already in the APL
    *** About this newsletter
    

    *** Editor's Note

    You may be interested to know that you are now reading a newsletter apparently judged not worthy of listing after review by the editors of The Scout Report (scout-report@lists.internic.net), one of the longest-standing and more serious of the Net surfing guides.

    On a more positive note--if I may indulge myself--the January issue of the library journal, Choice, names the "Outstanding Academic Books" of 1996. My own The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst had the good fortune to be listed among the six "Information and Computer Science" titles selected.

    Maybe I should abandon the newsletter and write another book.

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    *** Quotes and Provocations

    Chinese Cookies

    Remember Tienenman Square and the abortive coup in Moscow? We heard rumors of faxes and email messages, and were convinced that the Net, like an alien fungus, would invade every dictatorial regime, turning its nerve system and apparatus of repression into spineless jello.

    But something seems to have gone wrong. According to Robin Munro, director of Human Rights Watch/Asia, that organization now recommends to Chinese activists that they avoid email: "It's too easy for the government to monitor, and if they were to use encryption technologies they would be immediately suspect."

    This item comes from Gary Chapman's Los Angeles Times column of January 27. Chapman goes on:

    The real human rights issue in China, argues Munro, is whether or not foreign companies, particularly American computer and software firms, are selling technology to the Chinese government that will enable it to tighten its grip on society.
    Chinese cookies, it seems, may prove fatal. It's not the MSG; but it just may be the MS Inside.

    Looking up to Government

    According to Microsoft's Bill Gates and Intel's Andy Grove, the proper way for government to support technological development is as a role model. Speaking to the current World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the two chief executives said that government's use of technology internally and in schools sets