Thursday, April 05, 2007

Blogger registrations?

It's becoming blatantly obvious that our government is perfectly clueless when it comes to technology. What makes it worse is that the people advising them about said technologies are equally as clueless as well.

I have blogged about this several times already. Registration of bloggers, as is already done by our neighbour, doesn't help the situation in anyway, besides creating more paperwork for the government. I guess some company will end up with the contract to set up a blogger registration system somewhere in PutraJaya.

The age of licensing and registration to control information flow is over. In this new knowledge era, information is everywhere. There is no way practical way to control the flow of information. Any attempt at massive information control is just doomed to failure. It's like trying to control the flow of a massive river. It's just a matter of time before the dam breaks.

It's even possible to easily bypass the greatest information filter in the world, the Great Firewall of China, without circumventing it. There are plenty of other information channels besides the Internet. In fact, there are more mobile phones in this world, than computers. And of course, the coffee shop is traditionally still the *best* fountain of information.

Like Najib said in the article [he makes some sense for once], bloggers merely make the job of government more troublesome. The Internet is a great leveler of many things. It reduces the divide between rich and poor, educated and clueless and now, between those in power and the powerless.

Also, he mentioned that only a minority of bloggers are spreading lies and distorting truths. Well, I have to agree with that, seeing that most blogs are about pretty tame stuff, like what people had for dinner and where they had been on holiday recently.

So, it doesn't make sense to persecute the 99% of the population because of the 1% that choose to go overboard. And please do not mistake this for what it truly is, it's persecution of bloggers. Just because the government is failing to manage that 1%, it's treating all 99% of the rest of us as criminals.

In fact, the best solution to the problem came from Lim Kit Siang. He suggested that ministers should start their own blogs. Fight fire with fire. I'm sure that if our PM started blogging about his thoughts, his blog would have millions of eyeballs daily. If you want people to know the truth, just go out and tell it to them.

However, that's not the mentality of people in charge. For some reason, I got a shocked response when I suggested this very same method, during my graduate scholarship interview with our national oil company. I told them that it was the fault of our own government when Dr Mahathir was accused of being anti-semitic.

We would only need to look at Barrack Obama, who had raised USD 25 million in Q1 for his campaign. His people orchestrated a media campaign on the Net, invading popular social spaces such as MySpace. Heck, companies are even beginning to stake out real estate space and holding product launches in Second Life.

The world is changing. Our governments need to keep up with the times. If they continue to behave like they lived in the last century, they will sooner or later be outpaced by their own citizenship. Knowledge is power. Learn to manage it and you will have power. Lose it, and you become powerless.

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