Open source defense technology?

Summary: To blame the Internet for Jihad because Jihadists use it is like blaming Henry Ford for car bombs.

IBM logoHidden in the background of IBM's UIMA announcement at LinuxWorld is how the search technology came to be.

It's a joint venture with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA). In the middle of what the President still calls the Global War on Terror, tools developed with Department of Defense input are being let out into the world.

The idea of UIMA is to combine what search engines do best with what people do best, which is learn and make non-obvious connections. IBM calls it a platform for unstructured search across the enterprise. And by the end of the year it will all be at Sourceforge.

The announcement comes just a day after the Washington Post ran a story claiming Al Qaeda has basically moved its base of operations to the Net.

Does anyone see something of a contradiction there?

Personally I think IBM is on the right side. To blame the Internet for Jihad because Jihadists use it is like blaming Henry Ford for car bombs. But the Post article did drop like a bomb on many Washington decision-makers, and I guarantee it will be followed by attempts to restrict the resource.

Some say that restriction has already begun. Photographer and blogger Hugh Crawford says the weekend's FCC actions represent a new effort to control exactly what technology is permitted online, turning ISPs into choke-points on innovation. Analyst Susan Crawford says he understates the case. (Ray Gifford of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, the tech-industry think tank, is not nearly so upset.)

So in the midst of this debate, IBM takes a key search technology and makes it open source, with 15 companies already committed to using the framework, as our own Elinor Mills writes.

Strange days, indeed.

Topics: IBM

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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