Questions to Ponder: Is the Internet a Big Garbage Dump?

July 2006
by Jan Nathan, Executive Director, PMA

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I was searching for something
on the Internet the other day and realized that what is happening on the ’Net
is something similar to what happened at Mount Everest and other remote
climbing spots . . . over the years they became huge garbage dumps.


Like Everest—where climbers
discard their water bottles, photo supplies, and sometimes even people who
don’t complete the journey—the Internet has become a repository of trash.
Along with valid and valuable information, it offers material that is worthless
or, worse, harmful because people accept it as true.


For example, I was trying to help
someone find information on a publishing company that had seemingly vanished
from the face of the earth overnight. When you search the Internet, you can see
its phone number (but the phone no longer works), its fax number (which doesn’t
work anymore either), and its Web site and email address (also defunct). But the
page about it that comes up makes it appear that this company is still in
business; it looks no different than pages about companies that really are
alive and well today.


Also on the Internet as with
Everest, there seems to be no way to clean up the vast amount of garbage. Once
listed on the Web, everything may always be there . . . whether the
consequences are good, bad, or indifferent.


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