A different perspective
Experts tackle a range of technology issues.
With new realities forcing change in every segment of the technology industry, there was precious little agreement on how best to proceed--and that made for all the more spirited debate.
The year, which began with the realization that dot-communism was not about to enjoy a second coming, ended with the creation of a massive Department of Homeland Security. In between, computer executives tried to make sense of the transformations affecting their companies and customers. This ran the gamut from security, identity theft and the potential of Web services to the proper place of corporate governance and what to do about the global digital divide.
And as the IT world struggled with the interlocking issues of Internet privacy, filtering and civil liberties, the industry suddenly found itself trying to figure out how to handle Washington's increasingly prominent role in computer and network security.
Napster may be dead and buried, but the legal, ethical and business questions revolving around the digital downloading remain live-wire issues. In a piece that triggered a flood of responses to CNET News.com, Hollywood congressman Howard Berman took on the digital downloading community, arguing that P2P piracy robbed songwriters on a massive scale. That elicited a sharp rejoinder from Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro and songwriter Janis Ian, who warned that Hollywood's latest anti-Internet piracy campaign to enforce copyright interests will only result in trumping consumer rights.
In the buzzword category, XML and Web services became standard parts of an IT shop director's lexicon. Beyond the acronyms, however, something important was transforming the way companies' computer networks communicated internally and with suppliers and customers. But while there was near-universal agreement that this was a turning point, there was much disagreement about how the computer industry should move forward. No less a personage than IBM's director of Web services, Bob Sutor, stuck out his neck to pen an essay explaining why the computer industry must dispose of the many misconceptions, half-truths and outright fantasies attending this Next Big Thing.
And as computer technology continued to filter throughout the globe, there were recurring calls for something to be done to address what critics said was a yawning digital divide in the United States and beyond. Indeed, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan used these pages to issue a clarion call to Silicon Valley to take up the challenge before the situation is beyond repair. How well they will respond could become a hot op-ed issue to consider in 2003.--Charles Cooper
Bill Joy: Microsoft's blind spot
February 7, 2002
AOL: The end of an error
April 30, 2002
Just deserts for scofflaws
July 9, 2002
Why free downloads help, not hurt
July 17, 2002
Can the Internet survive filtering?
July 23, 2002
The myth of cybersecurity
August 14, 2002
Identity theft: Fact and fiction
September 18, 2002
The new "copyspeak"
September 26, 2002
XML's ticking time bomb
October 8, 2002
Kofi Annan's IT challenge to Silicon Valley
November 5, 2002
A last hurrah for Comdex?
November 15, 2002
Say hello to Big Brother
November 18, 2002
The five biggest myths about Web Services
November 26, 2002