In his previous book, The Cuckoo's Egg, Clifford Stoll related the story of how, through the Internet, he uncovered a computer spy ring. In Silicon Snake Oil he deals with the myths and realities of the Internet, looking at the darker side of the information superhighway and attempting to reveal its hidden hazards. It illustrates how electronic data transfer can be slow, less reliable, and more expensive than communication by phone, fax, and even the postal service. Stoll also argues that discussion groups, lauded for providing access to information and diverse opinons, are in fact hotbeds of rumour, where conversations about issues frequently degenerate into the rude, offensive and tasteless, and where technical questions often elicit inaccurate answers.
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