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compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion

IS the title of the article published today by Larry Downes as his Ziff Davis "CIO INSIGHT"

"Ten years ago, two defining events occurred that altered the course of evolution—specifically, the evolution of the Internet from an academic experiment to the global infrastructure it has become" First posted by Michael Grove @zaadz on 21st May 2007 at 6.00 pm 

First, President Clinton signed into law the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which, on paper, radically deregulated the provisioning of telephone, data and other information services. A few days later, while attending the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, John Perry Barlow—a lyricist for the Grateful Dead and the cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among other things—dispatched a revolutionary document into the ether, a "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace."The two events were related. Added at the last minute, and tucked away in the 1996 Act was a provision titled the "Communications Decency Act," which made it a crime to use the Internet to transmit "indecent" materials to minors. The Congress that wrote the CDA and the President who signed it almost certainly knew this provision was unconstitutional,a violation of long-settled principles of First Amendment law. But telecom reform had been years in the making, and everyone was tired of negotiating. The CDA became law.

Barlow's declaration, addressed to the "Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel," represented one man's disgust with politicians who were trying not so much to legislate a new medium (about which they knew nothing), but rather to appear to be legislating. Barlow, paying homage to the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, declared the Internet off-limits to the governments of the physical world, and promised not a violent revolution but a war of attrition.


"You have no moral right to rule us," Barlow wrote, "nor do you

possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear."

This last observation has proven prescient. In the ten years since the CDA was enacted (and, as expected, declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court a year later), governments at all levels and across geographies have tried with more or less effort, and more or less sincerity, to define, regulate, tax, constrain, ban, encourage or disparage (or all of the above) the thousands of new applications for transmitting information that have been released into the roiling waters of the Internet. In nearly every instance, those efforts have failed.

One thing all this legislating has succeeded in doing has been to solidify resistance among the increasingly numerous, wealthy and powerful residents of what Barlow called the "civilization of the Mind." The declaration, or rather the CDA, launched what we might think of as the other Information Revolution—the one that struggles to maintain the political independence of the internet.

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Today's revolutionaries lobby against bad laws and bad judicial decisions through not-for-profit organizations including the EFF, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the ACLU.

They define and operate their own quasi-governments—the governments of open source, of peer-to-peer, of Creative Commons and the blogosphere. They stage acts of civil disobedience and sometimes outright revolt, ignoring threats of enforcement made against them by private and public
enforcers from the world of "flesh and steel." The information revolutionaries can't always hide in the bits, and when captured, many have been dealt with severely. Companies such as, Napster and Netscape are either gone or unrecognizable. Identity thieves, spammers, hackers and copyright pirates are picked off individually by governments and corporations. But even before their bodies are carried from the field, ten replacements, even more resistant to the antiviral agents of the physical world, appear, spread and take hold.

Well, here we go again. A few weeks ago, President Bush signed into law a reauthorization of the innocently named Violence Against Women Act, which, like the Telecommunications Act exactly ten years earlier, has hidden inside it an explosive device aimed at the First Amendment. Section 113 of VAWA, which claims to deal with the new crime of "cyberstalking," modifies the exact same section of U.S. telecommunications law, 47 U.S.C. § 223, the CDA tried and failed to change.

Where the CDA outlawed "indecency," the cyberstalking provision has made it a crime to use the Internet to communicate without disclosing your identity and with the "intent to annoy." Think of it as CDA II.

CDA II is one of the worst statutes I've ever read. It applies to any "device or software" that is capable of communicating over the Internet, but not necessarily one that is being used in that way. As one of my more devious students has pointed out, CDA II, in theory, would apply if he threw his PDA at me from the back row of class. Even if he missed me—even if I didn't realize he'd thrown it—he could be looking at two years in a federal prison.

And what does it mean to disclose one's identity in an electronic communication? (CDA II grafts itself onto an earlier provision that applies to obscene phone calls where the caller doesn't give his or her name.) Does my e-mail address identify me? My chat-profile name? Or, to avoid liability, do I need to include my name and address in every reply I post to your (dumb) blog?




The definition of "Internet" the new law uses may also have unintended consequences. It references an older law that limits "the Internet" to software and devices that use the TCP/IP protocol, or its successors or predecessors. Much of what today passes through electronic communications, and which the drafters probably intended to regulate, is arguably outside that definition.

It's important to understand what CDA II does not try to do. It does not criminalize communications that some recipient finds annoying, or which might annoy some hypothetical thin-skinned reader. The sender must intend to annoy (even if she fails), and as a criminal sanction that intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And so long as you identify yourself in the process, you may annoy with complete abandon.

Popular and trade media reports of CDA II have made some embarrassing mistakes of legal interpretation, but their basic message is right—this provision, poorly drafted and full of ambiguities as to its meaning, application and enforcement, attempts to criminalize what is almost assuredly protected speech. Just like the CDA.

But aside from some ranting on Web sites (some of it potentially violating the new law!), the revolutionaries have said almost nothing about CDA II. Ten years after "dumping some tea in the virtual harbor," Barlow hasn't issued a statement on the cyberstalking provision. When I asked him why, he told me, sounding a little weary himself, "All I can say is that some things never change."


Or maybe there's no need to rally the troops. No doubt lawsuits to void CDA II are already being drafted. More to the point, the "weary giants of flesh and steel" aren't the real threat anymore. The real threat to the Internet comes from within, from viruses and malicious hacking, and from foolish and greedy individuals and companies whose efforts to exploit the value-generating engine of the Internet sometimes distract and sometimes stall the machinery, though so far, at least, they haven't stopped it.


Congress, meanwhile, grows increasingly shrill and increasingly incoherent in its efforts to police the new world. It's the madness of King George. "

Larry Downes is Associate Dean of the UC-Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems. He is the author of Unleashing the Killer App - the ground-breaking E-commerce best seller for which Nicholas Negroponte wrote the fprward - and The Strategy Machine. His next column will appear in May.

Copyright (c) 2006 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

First posted by Michael Grove @zaadz on 21st May 2007 at 6.00 pm 


Access_public Access: Public



views (373)

Michael : catalyst-producer

about 1 year later
Michael said

In the emerging information-sharing, open-source culture of the Web, people expect to share what they know and be engaged in a conversation. They expect to learn from a huge range of sources, many informal and expert by experience, rather than by title.

Michael Skoler

Michael : catalyst-producer

over 2 years later
Michael said

Welcome to what is quickly becoming the Hyperconnected World - a new era in communications where anything that would benefit from being connected - WILL BE connected to the network - which has become the largest and most complex machine mankind has ever built.

Nortel - Hyperconnectivity: an unstoppable force of change

The other information revolution, based as it is on the gift of the world wide web to the people, to provide ALL of these stories of experience of cooperation and collaboration of ..., for the mutual benefit of the peoples, IS now established as a result of an infrastructure which has become the machine which IS US and using US to potentially establish the most appropriate new order environment.

As has always happened throughout history, however, those that control the infrastructure of our inter-network of networks want to make more profits from that infrastructure as a result of implementing their own translation of the old order model based on the infranet initiative. So be it. BUT this time around the very people who are about to start funding those increased profits, have the opportunity to establish from the outset, a promise from their masters that a proportion of the profits be directed to the new order environmentally sustainable future of their children and their children’s children, NOT just in line with the TAX SLAVE STATUS which the old order model requires of them.

WE SHALL ALL have to start rethinking LOVE, FAMILY and OURSELVES and that WE R NOT THE WEB … WE are the HUB of the WEB

Michael : catalyst-producer

over 2 years later
Michael said

ALL that WE KNOW - ALL that WE ARE
comes from the way our neurons are connected … said Tim Berners-Lee

“Research and education have become like motherhood and apple pie; harmless, wholesome and completely unobjectionable …

[therefore], behoves us to develop a more reflective and qualified
view about the value of knowledge

Nick Bostrum

Leave Your Wise and Insightful Comment

Views: 302

Comment by Michael Grove on March 3, 2011 at 9:47
Comment by Michael Grove on March 24, 2011 at 9:00

"I want to believe in innovation and its possibilities,

but I am more thoroughly convinced of entropy.

Most of what we do merely creates local upticks in organization

in an overall downward sloping curve.

In that regard, technology is a bag of tricks that allows us to slow & even reverse the trend, sometimes only locally, but always only temporarily and at increasing aggregate energy cost."


Paul Kedrosky (entrepreneur, editor of the econoblog Infectious Greed)

Comment by Michael Grove on October 26, 2011 at 11:59


Where do THE REALLY GOOD ideas come from NOW?


as of 11/11/2011 - THE very best IDEAS come from HERE
Comment by Michael Grove on January 19, 2012 at 11:39

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has voluntarily suspended its website for 24 hours. The English version of the website became inaccessible at 5am GMT on Wednesday morning. Instead of a database of more than 3.8 million articles, visitors are greeted with an open letter encouraging them to contact Congress in protest.

Google joined the protest against two proposed pieces of legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act. The search engine blacked-out its logo on the US version of its website and added a link encouraging Americans to oppose the bills.

By , Head of Technology (Editorial)

Comment by Michael Grove on January 19, 2012 at 11:46

In the event of the above Wikipedia Blackout - 12,000 comments were posted on Wikipedia's Blog - including my own which I would say ironically places the whole of this issue into context.

Comment by Michael Grove on March 15, 2012 at 13:06

Fascinating research into a “global mind ” picked up startling data in the days and hours before the 9/11 attacks, indicating widespread foreknowledge.

The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) uses electromagnetically-shielded computers located throughout the world that generate random numbers.  In its 13-year history, these computers show statistically significant deviations during global events that affect humans.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 30, 2012 at 20:13

THANK HEAVEN the Dutch Parliament have killed ACTA before the EU vote in June, saying that -

"The government will never sign any such agreement."

BUT as ever the EU, being the EU, will no doubt continue to waste yet more of our hard-earned taxpayer's money to continue ever-talking about - yet another way they can undemocratically take control of the collective mind-set of the peoples of Europe - in complete disregard of the views of its paymasters! 

Comment by Michael Grove on September 24, 2012 at 14:50

Why tablets are the future of computing

"This transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we’ve embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? … We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable."

                                                                                                                    Steve Jobs



Comment by Michael Grove on October 21, 2012 at 19:19

Ms Shields, the vice-president of Facebook who is responsible for the business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is to become the new chief executive of the Tech City Investment Organisation.

In a significant coup for Downing Street, Ms Shields will spearhead a push to bring greater foreign direct investment into the area around Shoreditch which has seen investments from Google, Intel and Cisco.

Comment by Michael Grove on October 23, 2012 at 22:38

"People love their iPads," Apple CEO Tim Cook remarks as he announced a new milestone of 100 million units sold of the company's market-leading tablet.

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