[Bioforum] Re: Bionet public discussions future: please comment

Dave Matthews matthews at greengenes.cit.cornell.edu
Thu Jul 13 21:49:29 EST 2006


Hi Don,

> there is a new threat to continuing Bionet's public science
> discussions.  This comes from the joint effects of Google and related
> Internet search systems which make it easy to locate public
> information on people, and a desire by some to control/remove access
> to their publications.

I think by "publications" you just mean postings on the newsgroups?  It's 
impossible to cater to requests like this.  Even if you had the resources to
to delete items from the Bionet archives on request, the search engines
will have already cached them.  Words on the Internet can no more be 
unsaid than spoken ones, or printed ones.  One can post an Errata.  If 
it's a personal privacy issue, tough.  Bad judgment to put it on the net at
all, and such stuff has no business being in the Bionet groups in particular.
Bad judgment has consequences.

There's a good article on the new paradigm about information sharing, created
in large part by the search engines like Google, in the NY Times magazine,
May 14.  "Scan This Book!" by Kevin Kelly.
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30913FC3D5A0C778DDDAC0894DE404482
(Right, I found the citation via Google.  8)
It talks about the huge future when all words that have ever been written 
will be searchable, downloadable, annotatable, editable, remixable, ...
The Library of Alexandria made real again after 2300 years, and better than
ever.  And all the issues this raises.

> Some people dispute this, to the extent of bringing legal action on
> the issue of personal privacy, which likely will damage the ability of
> Bionet to continue its function.

Legal action??  What's up?  I depend on Bionet for some of my information.
Have done since 1993.  Right, I never expressed my appreciation before, to
you or David Kristofferson who started it.  Thanks!  Count me in as a 
supporter.

- Dave

-   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
David E. Matthews, Ph.D.          USDA-ARS Plant Genome Database Curator
Cornell University                       Email: matthews at greengenes.cit.cornell.edu
Department of Plant Breeding                 
409 Bradfield Hall                                      
Ithaca, New York 14853, USA             GrainGenes: http://wheat.pw.usda.gov


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "BIOSCI Administrator" <biosci at net.bio.net>
Newsgroups: bionet.general
To: <bioforum at magpie.bio.indiana.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2006 6:44 PM
Subject: Bionet public discussions future: please comment


> Dear bio-sciences community,
> 
> It may well be that scientists, students and general public
> interested in biology public news and discussion are not aware that
> there is a new threat to continuing Bionet's public science
> discussions.  This comes from the joint effects of Google and related
> Internet search systems which make it easy to locate public
> information on people, and a desire by some to control/remove access
> to their publications.
> 
> As stated in http://www.bio.net/docs/biosci-termsofuse.html
> the policy of Bionet has since 1992 been one of public,
> open discussion.  This has been documented in many postings at Bionet,
> and its web site documents.  Personal privacy has never been a part
> of Bionet, nor an expectation for those using it to reach a public
> audience.
> 
> Some people dispute this, to the extent of bringing legal action on
> the issue of personal privacy, which likely will damage the ability of
> Bionet to continue its function.
> 
> Those of you who use Bionet should voice your views here, on the
> relative importance of public access to Bionet versus personal privacy
> restricting public access.
> 
> Please discuss this publicly at bionet.general (Usenet)
> or e-mail to bioforum at net.bio.net
> 
> Bionet policies should reflect the consensus view of bioscientists who
> use and benefit from this system, and I will do my best to see this
> happens as long as I remain the caretaker of Bionet.
> 
> I favor maintaining the more than decade-old public policy, including
> public access to archived news and discussion, but will make any
> changes needed to support the consensus view of the science community.
> 
> Sincerely, Don Gilbert



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