Snowflake students have become the target of a new rightwing crusade. But exaggerated claims of censorship reveal a deeper anxiety at the core of modern conservatism
Tagged with “freedom” (8)
On the current “tech lash”: Doctorow welcomes the tech lash we’re seeing, because “on the one hand, we’re very worried that a small coterie of unaccountable technologists can write code that changes the lives of billions of people for the worse. But it seems like the mainstream of the critique of that won’t, or can’t, contemplate the possibility that a small group of people might write code that would change people’s lives for the better. That may be the way, or part of the way, that we hold tech to account—by having our own tech, by seizing the means of information.”
We do need to build a better web: He continues, arguing that there are “companies with a fair degree of impunity to just make ads more invasive, more surveillant, more crappy, and more dangerous. Gathering all that data and warehousing it means that you put it at risk of being breached or subpoenaed or in some other way commandeered and then used against the people who you are advertising to.”
Go forth and learn from Larry Lessig: Harvard Law school professor and founder of the Creative Commons, Lessig is key here, as Doctorow references: “Larry says that the world is influenced by four forces: 1) code, what’s technologically possible, 2) law, what’s legally available, 3) norms, what’s socially acceptable, and 4) markets, what’s profitable.”
How we build a better web: Cory makes a two-prong argument on how we build a better web, which starts with a way to “sort the sheep from the goats or the willing from the unwilling…1) we should always design computers that obey their users or owners when there’s a conflict between what that person wants and what some remote entity like, say, a government or a police force or an advertiser or whatever wants. 2) Part two is that it should always be legal to disclose defects in computers. So, if you discover that there’s a problem with a computer that other people rely on, you should be able to warn them even if the manufacturer would prefer that you not.”
On privacy, data breaches, and a new business as usual: Doctorow opines that we’re not at a watershed moment because: “When the next crisis comes, it reaches an even higher peak. More people care about it and they care about it more intensely. When the crisis passes and the new normal asserts itself, it’s a new normal in which the crisis is more salient yet. That’s how we attain change.”
The good and bad of technology in the long history of the internet: Doctorow says this is nothing new: "That consciousness has been there since the very beginning, really. No one founds a group like the Electronic Frontier Foundation because they think technology is going to automatically be great. The reason the Free Software Foundation and EFF and other projects try to think about the social implications and how technology could be made safer for human habitation is because of this dual sense that on the one hand, technology held an enormous power to change the balance in social justice struggles and to make people’s lives much better.
"At the same time, it held an enormous power to make people’s lives much worse and change the balance of power so that it favored the already powerful. Technology has done both. If there’s a real criticism of the techlash it’s that it decides that only one of those things is real. They’re both real. Technology has given us community and it’s given us kindness and it’s given us all kinds of joys and human flourishing. It’s taken those away, too."
Designer and social entrepreneur Aral Balkan believes it is time to build an alternate future where we own our own tools, services, and data. And to do this we must create a new category of design-led, experience-driven ‘technology’.
In this powerful talk from TEDGlobal, Rebecca MacKinnon describes the expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace, and asks: How do we design the next phase of the Internet with accountability and freedom at its core, rather than control? She believes the internet is headed for a "Magna Carta" moment when citizens around the world demand that their governments protect free speech and their right to connection.
This week’s edition of the podcast is dedicated to the Sense About Science Lecture 2013, given by the sci-fi writer and web activist Cory Doctorow.
Cory’s lecture was entitled "We get to choose: How to demand an internet that sets us free" and was delivered to an invited audience at The Institution of Engineering and Technology on 13 May.
To find out more about Cory Doctorow’s writings go to his website craphound.com.
Once, personal technology and the Internet meant that we didn’t need permission to compute, communicate and innovate. Now, governments and tech companies are systematically restricting our liberties, and creating an online surveillance state. In many cases, however, we’re letting it happen, by trading freedom for convenience and (often the illusion of) security. Yes, we need better laws and regulations. But what steps can we take as individuals to be more secure and free — to take back the permissions we’re losing?
The Internet Age: an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture.
However each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested a wave of similar idealistic optimism, before succumbing to the inevitable undertow of industrial consolidation. Every once free and open technology has, in time, become centralised and closed; a huge corporate power taking control of the ‘master switch.’
Today, as a similar struggle looms over the internet, increasingly the pipeline of all other media, the stakes have never been higher.
Tim Wu is a Columbia Law professor, author, policy advocate, who first coined the phrase "net neutrality". He visits the RSA to deliver an essential review of information technology history and to share his unique insight into the next chapter of global communications.
Speaker: Timothy Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School, policy advocate and author of The Master Switch (Atlantic Books, 2011).
Chair: Tom Chatfield, author, tech and cultural commentator and game writer.
Al Franken Senator US Senate Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He graduated from Harvard in 1973, where he met his wife Franni. They’ve been married for 33 years, and have two children: daughter Thomasin, 28, and son Joe, 24. Al spent the last 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and Uzbekistan - as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times. In 2008, Al was elected to the Senate as a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party from Minnesota, and was sworn in July of 2009 following a statewide hand recount. He currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Al is a long-time advocate for affordable, accessible health care, an economy that works for our middle class, the protection of a secure retirement, the promise of a 21st century education for our kids, and the creation of a green economy that creates jobs and improves our environment.