Excerpts from editorials from around New England.
The wild, wild Web
The Internet has often been compared with the Wild West. The analogy makes some sense, at least on the surface. Like America’s frontier in the 1800s, the rules aren’t exactly set in stone. And there can be surprises aplenty. And many opportunities — for both good and bad. But the comparison can be taken only so far.
The so-called Wild West was populated by those who were at least generally aware of how things ran in the more civilized section of these United States — “back East,” in the vernacular of the day. There’s no real equivalent today on the wild, wild Web, no established authority that most of us are aware of, anyway. The Internet, for most folks, is just sort of there, and mostly taken for granted. But we do so at our peril.
Even as these words appear in print and online, there’s a meeting that’s been going on — in Dubai — that seeks to carve out a new set of rules for the Internet. While few have been paying attention to the 12-day conference, there are those at the meeting who have been talking about some fundamental online changes. Repressive governments want much more control. Many folks are looking for less online anonymity. Snoops want to know everything.
Many tech companies, of course, have taken notice of the gathering. Google isn’t going to let the internet turn all crazy without putting up a stink. Good.
— The Republican of Springfield (Mass.)
Not too late to restore honor
John Shepherd Jr. enlisted in the Army and earned a Bronze Star for valor fighting with the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta in 1969. But after his platoon leader was killed while trying to help him out of a canal, Shepherd appeared to come undone, eventually refusing to go out on patrol.