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Innovation in Information Security

Coverage of important Information Security and Information Technology news and events from the research team at S?nnet Beskerming.

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A Lesson in Courtesy

Anybody who spends time analysing news sources reporting on the same subject will soon be able to identify when different reporters are using a common source for their articles, even if it is being paraphrased by different reporters. Over time it is possible to trace how a story has evolved and filtered through networks and aggregation / distribution services to end up in the final format being presented by the reporter.

Similar pattern recognition has been used for a long time by teachers and professors marking submitted essays and reports, so it is nothing new or unknown for most writers who have achieved at least a secondary education.

In most cases reporters and professional writers will cite their sources, or at least acknowledge the original material that was the basis for their new article. The Internet makes this step relatively painless and straight forward, allowing the reporter to provide appropriate credit to the original information source for the work that they put into collating and presenting the original report, without detracting from the article that they have written.

This doesn't always happen.

Several recent articles by S?nnet Beskerming researchers have been very loosely paraphrased (right down to links and paragraph layout) by a number of high profile 'professional' news / security outlets without attribution of S?nnet Beskerming as the source. Even worse, as part of their loose paraphrasing effort, the 'professional' outlets have introduced significant errors into the reports - errors that would have been plainly obvious if they had actually followed the links in the original report.

S?nnet Beskerming does not make any money from advertising or sponsored content associated with commentary and news reporting that originates on, and generally encourages gratis replication and dissemination of content that originates from the site (with appropriate attribution). When 'professional' reporting sites are given credit for their poorly plagiarised reports and are suggested as authoritative content, complete with advertising revenue based off plagiarised content, they wear out their welcome very rapidly.

Many other news sources that have compiled similar reports, and which have used S?nnet Beskerming material as a starting point, have properly attributed our articles as source material. S?nnet Beskerming supports and encourages this style of reporting / commentary from anyone who is looking to reproduce or include our content in their own reporting (some sites also have agreements to republish our content in toto).

Unfortunately S?nnet Beskerming is not alone in having this happen to original content. Many, many other sources are finding that their hard work and original reporting is being unfairly stolen and reproduced without attribution or acknowledgement.

If the situation does not change in the future (we know what reporting sites have been abusing this resource), restrictive licensing will be introduced to deny abusers a valid licence to view and incorporate S?nnet Beskerming content in their own reporting. Repeated abuse will result in appropriate actions being taken.

S?nnet Beskerming wishes to keep this resource freely available for as long as possible. Repeated abuse from sites that should know better will not be tolerated.

15 August 2007

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