I don't get how the media can so miss the boat on technology. And I'm not talking about splitting atoms or hacking kernels. I'm talking about just normal every day stuff that a 10 year old understands. For example, this morning on the Today Show there was a report about a murder possibly linked to an ad placed on craigslist. The story was rife with the dangers of craigslist (though it seemed to be missing the ominous music of an impending shark attack). They had a security expert on to tell us of the online danger and how we should have a virus scanner installed. (And, I might add, that is just a sign that you are running the wrong OS... but... I digress.)
The fact is: this isn't a story about technology at all.
This is a story about a smoking hot chick that placed an ad saying she would do a massage in your hotel room. Now, I'm not saying she necessarily was doing anything illegal. I'm not saying being a hot chick or dressing provocatively gives anyone a license to do anything they want to you. What I am saying is: whether it is or not, it smells like prostitution. And if I think it smells that way, so might the dude that killed her. And, while I really don't think that prostitution should necessarily be illegal: the fact is that it is illegal and it's dangerous. It's dangerous if you are walking the sleazy alleys behind a bar on the bad side of town and it's dangerous if you are advertising on craigslist.
And to even mention the dangers of craigslist here is ludicrous. Selling your kid's outgrown baby clothes and selling your hoohoo have totally different levels of risk. Craigslist just isn't a factor here (unless you are a cop tracking down the murderer in this specific case.) Any large city has a whole section of hookers under "massage" and "escort services" in their phone book. Should I be worried about using my phone? What if I need to call 911? Or make a dinner reservation? Are those safe?
And why the hell did the producers get someone to come on and talk about keeping your virus scanner updated? Are they implying that if this poor girl had simply installed McAffee that she would have been safer? That's like recommending proper tire inflation for those times when you are visiting the crack house across town. It's not like it isn't important... it's just not important to the story.
The real story here is that risky behavior carries some amount of ... risk. Whether she was a prostitute or her ad just had the flavor of a prostitute -- a young female going to a stranger's hotel room where there is likely to be hot oil and nudity involved is a risky business. Whether the ad was on a billboard, in the yellow pages or done with one of those fancy new computational machines really isn't part of the story. And no amount of firewalls or virus scanners are going to make it safer.