Blown To Bits

Dutch Praise (I Think) for Blown to Bits

Saturday, December 20th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

It’s a little hard to tell, since I have to rely on Google Translate to render the Dutch reviews into English. Like all mechanical translation efforts over the past fifty years, Google Translate occasionally produces comic results, but it’s generally pretty easy to understand what was intended. That Google offers this wonderful service free, as an adjunct to its advertising-enhanced search engine, is itself a marvel of the digital explosion. (Apparently the Dutch word for “members” — of some kind — is “Ledeen”!)

Review #1, as rendered from the web site into English by Google Translate:

On September 19, 2007 Tanya Rider rode in a ravine near Seattle. Eight days they hung upside down in the wreck of her car before rescue workers had the right to her mobile phone to call for information and to find her.

Hal Abelson, Ken Members and Harry Lewis begin their book “Blown to bits’ with this example to the opportunities and complexities of the digital life in general. Tanya had a mobile phone with them, making the phone company would be able to trace at the time that the device was destroyed in the crash. When Tanya’s husband Tom moved to the police to report her disappearance, but police could not trace the cell phone. Since she has the right not only because of Tanya’s privacy. Only after a week when Tom began to suspect a crime, they could and there were so Tanya, who was seriously injured, but ultimately survived.

In the era before everything was digital this dilemma would not have existed. The information from the mobile phone was simply not there, so there is no need to be invented manners. But now contain numerous computers worldwide personal data of the bank to the flickr account (that of yourself, but also that of others where you maybe in the background is a portrait of someone else, perhaps in the company of someone with whom you are not in the public want to be seen).

Abelson, members and Lewis have each more than forty years of experience in the ICT, in universities and industry. They have the whole process to see happen. In eight chapters analyze them as many phenomena, with the impact these have on the way society works.

Of course, there is the inevitable chapter on privacy, but the chapter about data which you thought he was gone, so is instructive. While it seems easy to erase information, that is not in practice. If you nude ten seconds on the Internet has been, you can be sure that there are already so many copies of it that you do not get out more. Passages in Erased Word documents remain in reality it is only invisible, as the U.S. army to his disgrace had in a research report which appeared sensitive passages removed. And formatting is not really enough to all information from a hard disk to retrieve.

A full chapter is also on Google and other information brokers. Where information used by sheer size was inscrutable, there is now little more of a hindrance. Everything can be found – or not, if you see Google in China, for example. It is not only substantive information, but also meta-information: who has consulted at any moment?

All this information is food become lawyers. Previously copied teenagers plates on straps and nobody could control. But now the way is to become illegal music to come, the record companies suddenly a detection tool. They have succeeded if the law into their hands to set up even if you’re innocent, it is better for the companies to pay as they knock on your door – what they do with enthusiasm. Information is a powerful weapon in the hands of the powerful.

The chapters can be read in any order and there is certainly necessary overlap between. The authors do not lift finger on the digital threat, but try as sober as possible the finger on the sore spots to explain rather surprised than alarmed. People are rescued by the explosion bit, and they killed it. Freedoms are won and lost. Which way the balance eventually will spread, it is not to say.

And Review #2, from ZB Digitaal:

Now it is not my habit to whether to refer to a book that I have not even voted for the half but the book paints a clear picture of such complex Internet issues that I can not wait to gain share with others, especially because the book in its entirety and can be downloaded free-even per individual chapter.

Chapters 2 and 3, I have already read: they influenced my views about online privacy and security aspects of proper documents. I like to do. Blown to Bits highlights not only the dangers of the digital era, the book teaches you a lot about the opportunities and potential. It is a book that the spirit strengthened.

No comment on a discussion in English can be found on Slashdot to find one in English. When the book is obviously also a blog.

And if you intend the book immediately to buy or borrow: watch or even that you not that other orders or applied ….

That last sentence is a warning not to buy the other book by the same name!

2 Responses to “Dutch Praise (I Think) for Blown to Bits”

  1. Harry Lewis Says:

    Edwin Mijnsbergen, who runs the ZB Digitaal site, reports that the sentence which was translated as “No comment on a discussion in English can be found on Slashdot to find one in English. When the book is obviously also a blog,” should have been translated as:
    “On the blog Geen Commentaar (No Comments) you can find a review in Dutch, on Slashdot you can find one in English. Of cause the book is accompanied by a blog as well.” Mechanical translation is still a work in progress! Also that “leden” (not “Ledeen”) is Dutch for “members.”

  2. Edwin Says:

    @ Harry:

    The translations are still confusing now and then but I love the way
    they open new doors.

    Thanks for mentioning the praise, because praise for the book it is!