- Jan 2015
that the ease of horizontal mobilization afforded by social networks is of limited help if it doesn’t generate more lasting political structures that can contest the military rule outside the squares
Therefore, generalising, more long lasting political structures are required. So the question in the West is to what extent are democratic structures augmented, enhanced or detracted from? If the Internet is used to effectively syphon off discontent while amplifying indoctrinating messages this is not what can be called progress.
After 2004, I believed the story that the protesters in Ukraine and elsewhere were mobilized through text messaging and blogs.
believes the story ... it's a story he believes.
We were supposed to be saving the world by helping to promote democracy, but it seemed clear to me that many people, even in countries like Belarus or Moldova, or in the Caucasus, who could have been working on interesting projects with new media on their own, would eventually be spoiled by us.
Applies to these activities wherever undertaken, including any country in the West, he just so happens to be interested in former Soviet Block countries
But a lot was in the open—cyber-attacks by the US government, for example. Already by 2006 or 2007 it was crystal clear that there were dedicated units within the Department of Defense whose job was to take down the websites of jihadists and other foes, even if there was typically tension between the Pentagon and the CIA, which wanted to derive intelligence from them so didn’t want them taken down.
Which has grown into something quite else, because while it may not be possible to control the Internet by controlling every router, it is possible to effectively control the Internet by control the volume and direction of propaganda and cyber attacks. In other words it is possible to have a pivotal influence.
It seemed clear to me that this framing of Internet freedom as a pillar of US foreign policy threatened to undermine whatever potential the new tools and platform had for creating an alternative public sphere
But what is that potential, does it really exist?
Today the move to cloud computing is replicating some of that early rhetoric—except, of course, that companies now reject any analogy with utilities, since that might open up the possibility of a publicly run, publicly controlled infrastructure.
That's a distinct possibility - if the infrastructure could be built with trust. Keep hoping.
The big question, of course, is whether that player has to be a private capitalist corporation, or some federated, publicly-run set of services that could reach a data-sharing agreement free of monitoring by intelligence agencies.
So there we are. It is pretty straight forward really.
If you’re trying to figure out how a non-neoliberal regime can function in the twenty-first century and still be constructive towards both environment and technology, you have to tackle these kinds of questions. There’s no avoiding them.
Inter alia neo-liberalism is reactionary.
It’s primarily from data and not their algorithms that powerful companies currently derive their advantages, and the only way to curb that power is to take the data completely out of the market realm, so that no company can own them. Data would accrue to citizens, and could be shared at various social levels. Companies wanting to use them would have to pay some kind of licensing fee, and only be able to access attributes of the information, not the entirety of it.
Yes, well at present the security services are complicit with the present economic and legislative model, and this makes imagining any change to existing structures very difficult because such changes will be resisted by the rather shadowy security services. Cameron does a deal with them, he makes a point somewhat in support of their agenda in return for which he bigs up his position on security with the cost of looking an idiot - not a huge cost for a politician it seems.
But if you turn data into a money-printing machine for citizens, whereby we all become entrepreneurs, that will extend the financialization of everyday life to the most extreme level, driving people to obsess about monetizing their thoughts, emotions, facts, ideas—because they know that, if these can only be articulated, perhaps they will find a buyer on the open market. This would produce a human landscape worse even than the current neoliberal subjectivity. I think there are only three options. We can keep these things as they are, with Google and Facebook centralizing everything and collecting all the data, on the grounds that they have the best algorithms and generate the best predictions, and so on. We can change the status of data to let citizens own and sell them. Or citizens can own their own data but not sell them, to enable a more communal planning of their lives. That’s the option I prefer.
Very well thought out. Obviously must know about read write web, TSL certificate issues etc. But what does neoliberal subjectivity mean? An interesting phrase.
On the one hand, we can foresee these companies extending their reach ever further into everyday life, to a point where it would become difficult to even articulate why you would want a different model, since our use of these technologies and the politics embedded in them also permits or restricts our ways of thinking about how to live.
The indoctrinated future - probably closer than we think.
- cyber attacks