[-empyre-] ending the first week of netopticon
christina.spiesel at yale.edu
Mon Jan 17 04:50:34 EST 2011
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/15/report-belarusian-mo.htmlThis is a
story about police in Belarusse pressuring cell phone companies to
provide the phone numbers of persons in the vicinity of a demonstration
who are now being contacted regarding their political views. The author
notes that the story is unsourced. Meanwhile, I received word that a
Tunisian activist who has spoken at Yale in a public event was forced to
give interrogators his Twitter password.
As Marc and I are about to pass the mixing spoon to another set of
discussants, I want to take a minute to reflect on this week.First,
thank you all from this member for what has been a stimulating
conversation. I have learned things from you and will enjoy following up
on links where I could not earlier in the week.
I think that these threads are on the table still:
The inter-penetration of the netopticon with technologies of
surveillance in real life.
The difficulty of predicting consequences of actions in this
multi-layered reality we inhabit. And as part ofthat, the difference
between surface appearance and the background/underground as "in the
city is peaceful", butwhat is the price?
There are some differences between those who look to theory to drive
artistic expression and those who are apt to maintain that any artistic
expression might be seen to be counter to an efficient world (me, for
instance) and therefore have some value as resistance even if they are
not about resistance.Great art is always unpredictable in its appearance
-- but that is humble opinion, not a rule.
Questions we haven't gone too far into have to do with the importance of
alternative kinds of software. Any software package lets us do some
things and denies us the ability to do others. Many people think of
software as inevitable but I doubt that many readers of this list do.
Nevertheless, I was fascinated to learn relatively recently from Jaron
Lanier about the creation of midi transcription and how deeply embedded
it is as standardsoftware. The creator had a bias that came from the
instrument he played and this standard tool might have been very
different if the inventor had played the violin.This is very muchlike
what my husband, a primary care physician, says about the invention of
third party payment plans (insurance) for health care back when.Those
plans were skewed toward paying for procedures probably in part because
physicianswhose work isepisodic -- surgeons -- had time to participate
in meetings.Standards battles are being fought all over, whether it is
interoperability of downloadedbooks or switching protocols in routers.
And, of course, it is possible to look at the battles on the street, say
in recording the police, as issues of interoperability as well.
Looking at the big picture, I am tossing in two book titles on my to-do
list not from the world of media studies: Protocol Politics: /The
Globalization of Internet Politics (Information Revolution and Global
Politics)/ by Laura DeNardis, and /Access Controlled, The Shaping of
Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace/, by Ronald Diebert and others.
Both MIT Press.
Wishing you all the best from snowy New Haven,
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