September 27, 2005

Fallout from “Open Sourcing” the Weather [6:23 pm]

Slate’s Timothy Noah on AccuWeather’s efforts to reclaim the weather: Santorum’s Mighty Wind, Part 2 - If you can’t lick ‘em, spoof ‘em

When last we checked in on AccuWeather, it had persuaded Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who is ostensibly a proponent of the free market, to sponsor a bill that would give special protection to AccuWeather and a handful of other private weather services. The bill would achieve this by forcing the National Weather Service to withhold its forecasts from the general public. AccuWeather is located in Santorum’s home state [....]

Now AccuWeather has apparently decided that if you can’t lick ‘em, hijack their Web traffic. If you entered “nationalweatherservice.org” into your computer, you might reasonably assume you’d be taken to the NWS site. But you would be wrong. It will actually take you to AccuWeather. The NWS (whose real URL, incidentally, is www.nws.noaa.gov) has complained about this display of private-sector ingenuity in the past, and it’s even gotten AccuWeather to apologize and desist. Apparently, though, you can’t keep a good spoofer down.

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