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Re: <eyebeam><blast> territory/public space

3 messages, from Craig Brozefsky, Brett Stalbaum, and  Jason Edward

On Wed, 25 Feb 1998, Saskia Sassen wrote:

> Craig Brozefsky's technical comments are welcome. thanks. I am aware of
> the growing privatisation of the infrasturcture and appreciate your
> specifics. My concern is with processes enacted in the Net. You don't
> think that the spread of firewalled corporate sites on the Web and the
> more recent surge in software for so-called virtual business networks --
> via "tunnelling" or encryption -- matters? 

Craig Brozefsky <craig@onshore.com> writes:

I am not sure if you thought I answered that question with a 'no', or if
you do not think I addressed it at all.  My intention was certainly to
say, 'yes' it does matter and we should take it into account when
formulating a theory of public/private space online.  This is why I
pointed out that the infrastructure is 'private'.  This does not mean
that this state of affairs should be taken as a given and not challenged
or critiqued. 

What about firewalls and encrypted traffic causes you concern?  Do you
think these artifacts are representative of certain processes on the
'Net' that are counter to what you call 'net practices'?  I gave an
example of something I would call 'net practice', the GNU/FSF community
which makes use of these artifacts and even distributed them openly and
supports them. This is why I hesitate to put 'net practices' in pure
opposition to those things which attempt to control the flow of
information, or to establish private space online.

> What do you think about the
> growing privatisation of the infrastructure? Does it possibly signal a
> time when the price-setting for access will be affected? 

I don't think I should bore the list with a lengthy market analysis, but
price setting usually requires either a sanctioned monopoly or a
coalition of a small group of companies in the same market.  The
telecommunications market has just disolved previous monopolies, and set
the entire industry into a downward price spiral due to stiff
competition.  The computer industry is also going thru a price-war and
PC prices are lower than ever and dropping at incredible rates.  So I
would say that price-setting is not likely anytime soon. 

Perhaps we should be more wary of what happens to a service, or object
that is somehow deemed essential to our participation in the world, and
is also a product, a commodity.

> When I speak of resistance etc. it is not to software--
> resistance/countervailing presence, etc. would be also in the software,
> of course. It is that I think of the Net as a produced space--one
> wherein the early hacker culture played an enormous role to strengthen
> opnness and interconnectivity. So I can't help but think that current
> software production aimed at "privatisations" on the Net will also have
> a shaping role. Let us hope that GNU etc. works. 

Could you tell us what you think that role would be?  I disagree with
your assesment of software production trends, but I think there is
something that is making you concerned here that goes beyond that
assesment.  What kind of ideas do you have about private space online? 
What do you think helps it, or hinders it?  How would you relate public
and private space to one another?  I'm deeply interested in getting
answers to these questions.


Brett Stalbaum <beestal@pacbell.net> writes:

Regarding the recent hacker infiltration of pentagon computer systems
(see for reference
http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9802/25/pentagon.cyberattack/), I feel
it is necessary to distinguish to some degree these endeavors from my
work on the Joint Tactical Disinformation Distribution System.
Importantly, the JTDDS is not a hacking project in the true spirt of
those unspecified individuals who have achieved recent success, (and
whose accomplishments are deservingly noteworthy). Rather than the
implementation of the strategies represented in border penetration,
Trojan horses, and site alteration, the JTDDS focuses only on uploading
messages intended to demark the boundaries of a virtual "shape"
(abstract to all civilians except perhaps to a number of hackers). This
conceptual network-art performance is mediated through visits to the
JTDDS site.

A visit to this site implicates the user in unauthorized attempts to
upload information to U.S. government web servers. This is strictly
prohibited and may be punishable under the Public Law 99-474 (The
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986).


Jason Edward Kaufman <jekauf@ix.netcom.com> writes:

Saskia Sassen writes that "being present to each other...overrides
national based politics, and overrides the universailzing (sic.)
approach to matters." I agree. I, for one, have few opportunities for
exchange with people from countries that demonize the United States and
many Western European nations. Few of them likely have the economic or
technical means of communicating over the internet. And language
differences, in the absence of accurate translation functions, erect a
further barrier. Moreover, their repressive governments will likely
severely limit the opportunities for their citizens to participate.
Therefore, it is of tremendous importance to our national security and
to global peace that access to the internet and fluidity of personal
exchange be expanded and enhanced, particularly in these "enemy" states.

There is no greater engine for peace than economic globalisation. But
given our US foreign policy vis a vis China, in which we turn a blind
cheek to rampant human rights abuses with the hope that economic
exchange can promote capitalism and hence democracy, it would seem that
sometimes we put the horse before the cart. Corporations are willing to
profit from anyone. If we put money in the pockets of tyrants, we
saboutage our ultimate ambition to promote freedom and peace. It is the
responsibility of moral governments to exercise caution when waving the
banner of free trade and economic globalisation.

Jason Edward Kaufman
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