Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Info service? Bad name

I came in this morning to find the latest series of posts on PUBLIB about a new text answer service. If you go to the PUBLIB archives, look for the posts which have "Text to 542542" in the subject.

The second post mentioned the name of the service:

My reaction was visceral and immediate. What kind of dummy would choose that as a name? But before I posted to PUBLIB, I checked. Yes, KGB is the Russian abbreviation of Komityet Gosudarstvjennoj Biezopasnosti (Committee for State Security). also known as the Soviet secret police.

As a quick reference (rather than wander downstairs, and to get "clippable quotes," I went to Wikipedia. Here is one quote which reflects part of the reason for my reaction:

During the Cold War, the KGB played a critical role in the survival of the Soviet one-party state through its suppression of political dissent (termed "ideological subversion") and hounding of notable public figures such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov.
Here is a second quote:
One of the KGB’s chief preoccupations during the Cold War was the suppression of unorthodox beliefs, the persecution of the Soviet dissidents, and the containment of their opinions. Indeed, this obsession with "ideological subversion" only increased throughout the Cold War, primarily due to the rise of Yuri Andropov in the KGB and his appointment as chairman in 1967. Andropov declared that every instance of dissent, including for example religious movements that rejected the Communist Party, were a threat to the Soviet state that must be challenged. He mobilized the resources of the KGB to achieve this goal. Soon after Yuri Andropov's appointment one of the KGB departments was assigned to deal with religious leaders, churches and its members. Most dissidents were apprehended by the KGB and sent to gulags for indefinite periods, where their dissent would lack the strength it might have had in public.
Why would anyone in their right minds choose this as a name.Even worse, they call the people who work for them "agents." As a friend of mine would say: Holy cats!!

Now.....I have some other issues with the service including the fact that they pay the huge sum of 10 cents per answer. How trustworthy are the answers at that price.

I am about ready to begin a campaign against them on multiple levels.

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