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The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
    -John Gilmore

Please discuss.

--
Banazir

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Jul. 9th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
Ah, another Firefly maven!
Enjoy! Always good to meet another of the newly-minted fireflyfans!

How much of the series had you seen before?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
Very good, then
Seen Serenity yet?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
discoflamingo
Jul. 9th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
"Information wants you to give me a dollar."
--- Bruce Sterling
banazir
Jul. 9th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
That's a good one!
Now:

"Context is everything, and getting there is half the fun."
    - J. M. Straczynski

So... context, please?

--
Banazir
discoflamingo
Jul. 9th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: That's a good one!
David Brin talks a bit about the ability to limit the flow of information (via pay-for-content and/or censorship) in The Transparent Society. I collect some of his points and my own here:

a) The Internet was originally designed to be a multiply redundant data communication network that could maintain integrity during nuclear warhead strikes that could destroy multiple central hubs. This redundancy almost assuredly undermines any "chokepoint" style of defense.

b) An arms race tends to favor the aggressor, since a change in offensive infrastructure requires less context switching (to turn a phrase) than a change in defensive infrastructure. In a digital arms race (like net attacks [worms, virii, and 1337 3xpl01t], crypto, or DRM), this difference in time is amplified by the time required to iron out emergent properties of in a defensive system and the near-instantaneous rollout of new offensive technology in the digital realm.


The book is packed away right now, or I would find you a chapter reference. To answer your original question, the quotation comes from the beginning of that chapter:

"Information wants to be free."
--- Popular Internet truism

"Information wants you to give me a dollar."
--- Bruce Sterling
twinofhugin
Jul. 9th, 2005 10:56 am (UTC)
more like people do... people will keep digging for information and the net provides enough alternate data sources that a little censorship here and there just means some news sources get ignored? it's not censorship that should be worried about but information poisoning...

but I have a virus to disassemble, ah work...
auriam
Jul. 9th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
...except when networks are implemented not as originally intended, and all information is forced to flow through choke points which censors or snoops can administer... like China's Great Firewall, or the FBI's Carnivore system.
poovanna
Jul. 10th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
It's kinda depressing that China & Iran are cracking down on internet activity like blogging in a big way. And its working due to the reasons you mentioned. There are news reports that companies like Microsoft & Google etc., are allegedly tailoring their software as per the diktats of the Communist party to censor keywords, enable better tracking of users etc.,

While these companies may be justified in changing their practices, for the sake of business, once in awhile you hear of some great news of people/tech companies that do their bit to help their oppressed fellow men and women. This is something I found, that put a smile on my face.
penfold_x
Jul. 11th, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
OT: what is the name of the film you get your icon from? It's a film, right? I think I saw it once and I was thinking about it the other night and my inability to remember anything but the animation style and creepy music bugged me.
sui_degeneris
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
Fantastic Planet
banazir
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC)
Re: Fantastic Planet
Thank yew!

I wondered, too, but never got around to asking auriam.

--
Banazir
gondhir
Jul. 17th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Carnivore
Carnivore doesn't really apply in this case for a couple main reasons.

1) It doesn't exist anymore. The FBI uses commercially available software for the kinds of things they were going to use Carnivore for.

2) Carnivore (as intended) would not have created a choke point, it would have used the choke points already present on the Internet. For example, if you have the Internet at your home then all of your data MUSt pass through your ISP. That's a choke point.

Additionally, Carnivore wasn't really as scary as a lot of people made it out to be. All it was for was to implement court-ordered email-taps. The main reasons it scared people were:

1) It has a scary name.

2) People thought it would monitor all of the traffic on the Internet and report on anyone who, for instance, used the word "Allah" or "Bomb" or "President" in an email. Aside from the fact that this would be illegal, it's far beyond the capabilities of the FBI or anyone else for that matter.

3) In a regular phone-tap, law enforcement has to tell the phone company what phone line it is that they're going to monitor and they have to do so with the cooperation of the phone company. This keeps law enforcement from "spying" on whoever it feels like (at least without the collusion of the phone companies). Carnivore (and the software suites the FBI has used instead) are simply a computer that the FBI plugs into the ISP's network. The ISP has no control whatsoever over what that computer monitors so theoretically, the FBI (or the agent operating it) could set it to monitor anyone else on the local network too. This, of course, would be an illegal search and there are legal measures in place to stop this (just as there are legal measures in place to keep the FBI from illegally breaking into your house, snooping around, and then leaving).
banazir
Jul. 18th, 2005 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: Carnivore
1. Took them long enough to confirm that (in January, 2005). How long ago was Carnivore first rumored (by name) to exist?

2. Existing choke points per se have never bothered me. Registration of anonymous remailers or significant curtailment of such, blocking of major DNS servers and gateways - that's a lot more harmful IMO. e.g., the PROC blocks the IPs of many sites, even American universities. One needs to know how to use proxies and tunnel in various ways to get a full Google.

  • a) I'm not sure about the scary name part. Is "<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/echelon>ECHELON</a>" any scarier? It seems to cause about the same level of consternation from where I sit.

  • b) M-x spook in Emacs: it does a body good. Seriously, as John Naisbitt wrote: "we are drowning in data, but starving for information".

  • c) I think that for much of the general public, the fact that the federal government (or state and local authorities) have a technology about which they have not been collectively informed, and which the government will neither confirm nor deny, inspires mistrust. It's the whole "I love my country, but I fear my government" and "Government is not eloquence..." thing.


In any case, I agree that (b) goes a long way towards making Carnivore a moot point, but (c) rather restores it to the realm of civil liberties and privacy issues.

zengeneral and I are not the people to ask about privacy and the law, of course, as we are pretty far towards the low/no privacy end of the spectrum, for what I suspect are different reasons.

--
Banazir
de_profundiis
Jul. 10th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
IMHO knowledge belongs to the world and it's inhabitants. it's not something that should be kept secret.
Ignorance leads to a universal un-balance of power, i.e. the world today!
banazir
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Normative and positive views of the Net: design vs. analysis
Ah, yes, but that is a normative view of information, not a positive view on the Internet.
i.e., you've stated an opinion about "the way things should be" vis-a-vis sharing of info, but not have not yet a position on whether the net does this or not, and if so, how or why.

In this case, the distinction is between what was say to would-be architects of the net, web, grid, and post-grid environments, and those who "merely" analyze it to understand its dynamics and hypothetical emergent properties.

--
Banazir
de_profundiis
Jul. 15th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Normative and positive views of the Net: design vs. analysis
but not have not yet a position on whether the net does this or not, and if so, how or why.

I believe the www reflects the present state of our world. As such, humanity's flaws, as well as virtues, all take form in this virtual micro/macrocosm, as projections of our own fears, hopes and dreams.
Information is free... whatever that means. We are force fed with the knowledge others think it's best for us.
I believe it's up with each one individual to recognize (or not) the whole dis-information culture, and thus break free from it. The next step is to find the answers, and those are definatly free.
penfold_x
Jul. 11th, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
There's a demon in the Internet
I don't think the Internet has a consciousness. It's just a highly visible way of examing the interests and actions of humans. Do humans try to get around censorship? Sure. They try to get the information anyone tries to hide from them (usually, it's not hidden unless someone wants it).

This sounds really noble and cool until you realize it applies everything, including pictures of children being sexually abused or the password to your bank account.
banazir
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
Re: There's a demon in the Internet
I don't think the Internet has a consciousness. It's just a highly visible way of [examining] the interests and actions of humans.
Yes - and transmitting, amplifying, and retaining them. A complex information system has some properties of a human, namely memory and a reactive capability. That said, we don't require sapience/intelligence or sentience/consciousness for an entity to possess the ability to "recognize" damage and "route around it". Not even a central nervous system is required: a typical plant has an immune system that is very nearly as sophisticated as that of significant animal species.

The rub, IMO, lies in the word "interprets". Do we mean in the sense of an computer programming language interpreter (or compiler, as the formal terminology can be loosely adapted witht he proper undestanding)? Or a UN translator working as a real-time interpreter? The latter requires some understanding on the NET'S part (not its architect), while the former is algorithmically laid out.

Do humans try to get around censorship? Sure. They try to get the information anyone tries to hide from them (usually, it's not hidden unless someone wants it).
True on all counts (and relevant to my most recent post).

This sounds really noble and cool until you realize it applies everything, including pictures of children being sexually abused or the password to your bank account.
Please see my reply above to de_profundiis. Information comes in many varieties, from baneful to beneficial, and of the baneful varieties there are many that do not deserve formulation and propagation, depicting as they do crimes against individuals and humanity. Some information, if it wants to be free, is a late escapee from information jail. This, however, is still (mostly) a positive statement about content, rather than one about the reactive nature of the net.

"Should it?" aside, "does it?" How well-programmed is the net? Enough to recognized censorship as an exogenously-imposed absence of data? Enough to automatically attempt to correct for it?

--
Banazir
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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