Cover image for Web of deception : misinformation on the Internet
Web of deception : misinformation on the Internet
Mintz, Anne P.
Publication Information:
Medford, N.J : CyberAge Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxv, 275 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Web hoaxes, counterfeit sites, and other spurious information on the Internet / Paul S. Piper -- Charlatans, leeches, and old wives : medical misinformation / Susan M. Detwiler -- It's a dangerous world out there : misinformation in the corporate universe / Helene Kassler -- Internet users at risk : the identity/privacy target zone / Stephen E. Arnold -- Brother have you got a dime? Charity scams on the Web / Carol Ebbinghouse -- Welcome to the dark side : how e-commerce, online consumer, and e-mail fraud rely on misdirection and misinformation / Lysbeth B. Chuck -- Make sure you read the fine print : legal advice on the Internet / Carol Ebbinghouse -- How to evaluate a web site / LaJean Humphries -- This is what I asked for? The searching quagmire / Susan Feldman -- How a search engine works / Elizabeth D. Liddy -- Getting mad, getting even, getting money : remedies for intentional misinformation / Carol Ebbinghouse -- Endnote : What a tangled web we weave / Barbara Quint and Anne P. Mintz.
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ZA4201 .W43 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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As the Internet has become flooded with untrustworthy information, some of which is intentionally misleading or erroneous, this book teaches web surfers how inaccurate data can affect their health, privacy, investments, business decisions, online purchases, and legal affairs. Bringing together the world's leading information-age observers, analysts, writers, and practitioners, this analysis reveals the Web as fertile ground for deception and misinformation. These experts provide hard-won advice on how to recognize misinformation in its myriad forms and disguises. Included are an array of tips on how to evaluate web sites for quality and bias, checklists for navigating the Internet more effectively, and advice for those who have been duped.

Author Notes

Anne P. Mintz has taught online database searching at the Columbia University Graduate School of Library Service. She is currently the director of knowledge management at Forbes Inc. She lives in New York City.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

There's a vast amount of intentionally misleading and erroneous information on the Web, says Anne P. Mintz, the director of knowledge management at Forbes Inc. To help readers recognize and deal with this problem, she has gathered 10 contributors to write Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet. The authors-who range from database experts to consultants to librarians-examine various pitfalls casual Internet users and professionals should watch out for. The subjects include e-commerce fraud, Web sites that "play doctor," identity theft, charity scams and more. One of the book's most revealing chapters is librarian LaJean Humphries's explanation of how to evaluate a Web site. She suggests considering who wrote the site's content, how often it is updated and if the document is well written. A "webliography" lists sites that offer quality information (among them, and Mintz's wise book will be of great help to parents, educators and every Internet surfer. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Edited by the director of knowledge management at Forbes Inc., this collection of essays on the use of the Internet to deceive intentionally brings together the experience of both information industry professionals and librarians in order to shed light on the darker corners of the Internet. Contributers include Mintz, Paul Piper, Susan Detwiler, Stephen Arnold, and Susan Feldman. Certainly deception and antisocial behavior (and gullible victims) preexisted long before the Internet; however, the electronic realm has proved to be a fertile playground for thieves, charlatans, and propagandists. The types of intentionally deceptive Internet activity covered include counterfeit web sites and web hoaxes, medical misinformation, corporate misinformation, identity theft, privacy invasion/data mining, charity scams, consumer fraud, questionable legal advice, and search engine/ad placement issues. Examples of intentional deception range from the hilarious to the potentially deadly. Other chapters provide information on evaluating web sites and using search engines and what to do if you are a victim of fraud. Short of unplugging from the Internet completely, there are ways to protect and advise library patrons who use the net, and this book provides detailed information, countermeasures, and useful web sites. It would be difficult for any print book to be up-to-date on the creatively devious ways that online users can be exploited on a daily basis. However, the remedies offered are still current and broad enough to be useful. Although data mining is discussed, a chapter on adware, or so-called "spyware," would be helpful in any future edition. Recommended for public, school, and academic librarians, especially those who teach information literacy workshops. [Index not seen.] Robert L. Battenfeld, Long Island Univ.-Southampton Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-The 10 information-industry professionals who contributed essays to this book were commissioned to share their expertise in illuminating and analyzing the "dark side" of the Web. They aim to impart critical-awareness skills, a healthy dose of skepticism, and practical tips to Internet users. By coaching consumers to engage proactively in investigative search techniques, they want to educate an online community that will be less likely to fall prey to hoaxes, charitable scams, identity theft, medical or legal misinformation, and fraudulent e-commerce schemes. Chapters on how to evaluate Web sites and on how search engines work will be particularly valuable to students, arming them with checklists for establishing authority, strengthening their ability to discern bias, and alerting them to considerations of "paid placement" and subtle advertising in ranked search results. Each topic is thoughtfully addressed, documented with excellent examples, and, in some cases, accompanied by remedies or "countermeasures" to pursue to redress a grievance. An extensive index and a Webliography of quality sites mentioned in the text (many representing links to key government and nonprofit resources) round out the book. The multiple authorship of the text causes the writing to be a bit uneven; some chapters are readily accessible to casual readers, while others target a more sophisticated audience. Nevertheless, the book represents a welcome addition to the arsenal of tools offering guidance on identifying trustworthy, accurate data on the Web, and provides a public service by enumerating techniques for spotting misrepresentations.-Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Steve ForbesPaul S. PiperSusan M. DetwilerHelene KasslerStephen E. ArnoldCarol EbbinghouseLysbeth B. ChuckCarol EbbinghouseLaJean HumphriesSusan FeldmanElizabeth D. LiddyCarol EbbinghouseBarbara Quint and Anne P. Mintz
Forewordp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction: Lies, Damned Lies and the Internetp. xvii
Chapter 1 Web Hoaxes, Counterfeit Sites, and Other Spurious Information on the Internetp. 1
A Rough Taxonomyp. 1
Counterfeit Web Sitesp. 2
Suspicious Web Sitesp. 6
Newsp. 7
Disinformationp. 8
September 11, 2001p. 9
Subject-Specific Misinformationp. 11
Science and Health Informationp. 11
Businessp. 12
Fictitious Sitesp. 13
Parodies and Spoofsp. 14
Entertainmentp. 17
News Groups--LISTSERV and UseNetp. 17
Hacksp. 18
One Person Gathers What Another Person Spillsp. 18
Where to Go for Helpp. 20
Countermeasuresp. 22
Chapter 2 Charlatans, Leeches, and Old Wives: Medical Misinformationp. 23
Please--Don't Help!p. 25
Who Says and Why?p. 25
Ouch!p. 28
For One Thin Dime, One-Tenth of a Dollarp. 31
Doctor? Who Needs a Doctor?p. 34
Speaking Out of Both Sides of the Mouthp. 36
You'll Need a Prescription for Thatp. 37
One Last Villagerp. 38
When Does Breaking Health News Become Permanent Information?p. 39
Avoiding the Charlatansp. 41
Checklist for Ordering Medicines Online (Carol Ebbinghouse)p. 46
Referencesp. 48
Chapter 3 It's a Dangerous World Out There: Misinformation in the Corporate Universep. 51
A Long History of Deceptionp. 53
The Wicked Web They Weavep. 54
Battling Elusive Rumors: Meet John Doe; Sue John Doep. 55
Sometimes It Is the Technologyp. 57
Pump and Dump--the Internet Wayp. 58
And Sometimes It Is the Companyp. 60
Other Tricks of the Tradep. 61
Web Sleight of Handp. 63
General Net Confusionp. 63
No Escape from a Dirty Web of Deceptionp. 65
Will the Real Price Please Stand Up?p. 65
The Dangers When Business Becomes Personalp. 65
Rewriting Boundaries Electronicallyp. 66
Keeping Up with Mouse Capersp. 67
Prime Pickings for Bonnie and Clydep. 70
Where to Go for Helpp. 71
Countermeasuresp. 73
Chapter 4 Internet Users at Risk: The Identity/Privacy Target Zonep. 75
Monitoring Actionp. 77
Data Miningp. 78
The Lingo of Securityp. 78
More Silence, Pleasep. 81
"Virtual" Criminalsp. 82
U.S. Military's Use of Social Security Numbersp. 83
Old and New Crime Blendp. 83
People: The Weak Link in Securityp. 84
Ignorance Equates to Vulnerabilityp. 85
Mathematics and Privacy Empower Data Miningp. 89
Legislation or Technology?p. 93
Referencesp. 95
Chapter 5 Brother Have You Got a Dime? Charity Scams on the Webp. 97
The Watchdogsp. 100
Businesses Give, Toop. 103
Using the Web to Avoid Charity Scamsp. 105
When to Suspect a Scamp. 108
How to Report a Possible Charity Scamp. 109
Referencesp. 111
Chapter 6 Welcome to the Dark Side: How E-Commerce, Online Consumer, and E-Mail Fraud Rely on Misdirection and Misinformationp. 113
The Nigerian Letter: E-Mail Brings a Deadly Worldwide Scam into Your Homep. 114
Web-Based Fraud: You Can Even Get It Retailp. 116
Who's in Charge?p. 119
Whose Laws Apply?p. 122
What Can the Feds Do?p. 123
What Can--or Can't--the States Do?p. 124
Around the World Wide Web with Credit Card ... and Cautionp. 125
What to Watch Out Forp. 129
Going, Going, Gone for Goodp. 130
The Dirty Dozenp. 132
Other FTC Activitiesp. 137
Countermeasuresp. 139
Checklist for Consumer-Friendly Web Sitesp. 143
Where to Go for Helpp. 146
Referencesp. 148
Chapter 7 Make Sure You Read the Fine Print: Legal Advice on the Internetp. 149
How to Locate Legal Information on Your Ownp. 154
How to Evaluate Professional Advice Sites on the Internetp. 157
How to Evaluate Web-Based Directories of Professionalsp. 160
Recommended Readingp. 162
Lawyers Meet the Netp. 162
Legal Advice Sitesp. 162
Privacy Concernsp. 163
Evaluating Legal Web Site Qualityp. 163
Chapter 8 How to Evaluate a Web Sitep. 165
Factors to Considerp. 165
Looks Can Be Deceivingp. 169
Sources of Web Reviewsp. 170
Sites to Help You with Evaluationp. 170
The Critical Factorp. 171
You Decidep. 173
Chapter 9 This Is What I Asked For? The Searching Quagmirep. 175
Deceptive Advertising Practicesp. 175
The Danger of Hidden Assumptionsp. 177
What's Going On Behind the Curtain?p. 178
Outside Influences: Pernicious and Otherwisep. 179
Misconceptions That Lead Us Astrayp. 180
Search Engine Assumptions About Searchersp. 186
What Are We to Do?p. 190
Recipes and Recommendations for Better Searchingp. 191
Is It Bias or Selection?p. 192
A Quick Guide to How Search Engines Rank Pagesp. 194
Games Webmasters Playp. 195
Chapter 10 How a Search Engine Worksp. 197
Document Processorp. 198
Query Processorp. 201
Search and Matching Functionsp. 204
What Document Features Make a Good Match to a Queryp. 205
Summaryp. 207
Chapter 11 Getting Mad, Getting Even, Getting Money: Remedies for Intentional Misinformationp. 209
Getting Mad: Where and How to Complainp. 209
The First Place to Complainp. 209
Alternative Dispute Resolutionp. 210
Complaining to the Agenciesp. 212
Getting Even: The Revenge Web Sitep. 214
Getting Money: The Court Is Now in Sessionp. 215
Evaluating Your Chances for Successp. 218
Where to File Suitp. 218
Intentional Misinformation: Fraud Actionsp. 221
Countering a Cybersmear of Your Companyp. 222
Government Agencies and Nongovernmental Organizationsp. 225
General Sitesp. 225
Government Agencies (Many with Online Complaint Forms)p. 225
Industry and Self-Regulation Agenciesp. 226
Referencesp. 228
Endnote: What a Tangled Web We Weavep. 229
Webliographyp. 235
Contributorsp. 247
Indexp. 253