The idea is to create the biggest unfunded mandate in history by forcing all Internet service providers to retool their systems to make it easier for the feds to monitor communications. The cost to universities alone is said to be at least $7B. I don’t know what this does to municipal and home grown mesh network systems. I suppose that the intent is to make it too expensive for anyone but a TelCo to operate anything other than restrictive high-level services. The prophetic David Reed laid out the the issues five years ago, saying it much better than I can.
To this I would add an uneasiness as to what steps a person must now apply, or is allowed to apply, to protect “intellectual property.” We are required to take practical precautions to keep our freedom of privacy else we loose it. If we wreck the Internet in a rush to destroy any practical means of protecting privacy, then who in the end will be allowed to actually claim the priviledge of privacy? Only those large institutions who can afford to run their own government-approved private networks?
Duke and other schools are giving iPods to students. This site explains that they are looking for innovative ways to introduce technology in education. Poems and lit. to go. School fight songs. Info on the frosh dorms. I think that’s great. Why be so focused on visual information? It’s interesting to me that cell phone surfing seems to be done on phones outfitted with tiny visual screens and abuses of keyboards. Why not aural displays and voice interfaces? (Although I’m not too keen on the image of zombie students walking around in their own little isolation enforced by earplugs piping in the university’s message.)
Duke doesn’t mention anything about file sharing, but I wonder how much of their IT push is also meant to get them off the hook that some universities have been placed on in order to try to force them to be responsible for the file-sharing actions of their students.