Friday, 11 March 2011

Networks of Enlightenment #ucpdwep

In Eben Mogel's article, "Liberation by Software", he presents an interesting view on the democratic future of our interconnected world. Mogel goes on to highlight the powerful role that the Free Software Movement has to play in promoting and enabling the establishment of democratic media.

Amplify’d from

Now, the vast interconnection of humanity we call the internet promises to divorce the press and power forever, by dissolving the press. Now, every mobile phone, every document scanner, every camera, every laptop, are part of an immense network in which everything we see, we think, we know, can be transmitted to everyone else, everywhere, immediately. Democracy in its deepest sense follows. Ignorance ceases to be the inevitable lot of the vast majority of humanity.

The great promise of the Enlightenment is finally fulfilled: the greatest intellectual, political and moral revolution in the history of humanity.

If that's the way the network behaves. But it can also be completely controlled, filtered, monitored and surveilled, giving power the most overwhelming conceivable advantage over freedom. Which way the network behaves is determined solely by the software that comprises it. Freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of thought itself are now "implemented" rather than "declared", "protected" or "guaranteed".

Mao Tse-Tung declared that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. His successors believe that it grows out of controlling the internet. The young people of liberty destined to overthrow them have already started to grow up; they know power grows out of the freedom of the software that is the net.

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