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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • That’s good; but think about the other side of the coin too. The Semantic Web and The Quilombo [zedshaw.com] makes this point…

    • To start with, the person doing this was using a public list of known criminals and searching and cross referencing that list though a site membership which is a known hot spot for sexual predators. You only need to do a quick search of the news from the past few months to see that this is a growing problem, and something needs to be done about it. And while you could say it is the same thing as IBM collating the German census to identify the Jewish populations (search population $x for members which meet

      • I didn’t criticise him for identifying sex offenders on Myspace, did I?

        I am worried about the trend of putting more and more ever more easily minable personal records online. In this case it was used for good, but what might happen when someone else with less noble intentions tries the same trick?

        • I didn’t criticise him for identifying sex offenders on Myspace, did I?

          No, you equated it with IBM sorting out Jews in the German census data. Of course you did it indirectly, but you still did it. This was my issue.

          I am worried about the trend of putting more and more ever more easily minable personal records online. In this case it was used for good, but what might happen when someone else with less noble intentions tries the same trick?

          I think it is safe to say that everything has the

          • Some more points (sorry):

            you equated it with IBM sorting out Jews in the German census data

            Well, of course. Both cases are, in fact, exactly the same act. But you failed to notice that I made a disctinction about the intent. I did not say it was a bad thing to do here and did not object to it being done.

            It is the tool I am worried about. Tools can be morally neutral; they do not necessarily carry an inherent value. It is their use that has moral value. Some, such as the Bomb, do have inherent value because the act they are used for dictates their very existence and design. But data mining is no such loaded tool; it is neutral. It’s the basis of science, for one.

            Even if a tool of unprecedented might is neutral, though, should someone doing great good with it preclude us from worrying about what unprecedented evil someone else might wield the very same tool for?

            Pandorra’s box is a one-way street.