Posts Tagged ‘net neutrality’

The People’s Internet

November 27, 2017

It is shocking that in a major American city like Detroit, a city that had two major car companies, 40% of the city lacks access to Internet.

Net neutrality is a big political issue. We cannot have a handful of companies controlling access to the Internet. That access has to be for everyone, rich or poor.

In Detroit, the Equitable Internet Initiative is building community-owned wireless internet infrastructure in towns that big telecom won’t touch. Hundreds of towns have built their own internet service providers. Rural communities are putting wireless internet antennas on top of mountains, grain silos, and tall trees. The fastest internet connections in the United States are provided by local governments, not big telecom. In Southern California, Tribal Digital Village is using unused television spectrum to deliver internet. All over the country, big telecom is being rejected and subverted, and you do not need to have a pile of money, an army of lawyers, or a degree in network engineering to take action.

In England in rural areas, local people are digging the trenches, laying fibre optic cable.

In Greece communities are building their own broadband network.

Postcapitalism, people are taking control of their own political, social, employment space.

Disruption Talk

January 25, 2011

Discussion between co-founder of Napster Sean Parker and Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

We tell stories, we write stories, we have the book.

We can tell stories in a book, through short stories, through a few paragraphs on a blog, or in the minimalist form of 140 characters in a tweet.

Haiku masters were able to tell a story in the minimalist form of haiku poetry.

Paulo Coelho is wrong when he says we will not have books in the future. Unless there is a complete collapse of civilisation there will always be books. Nothing beats curling up with a good book.

Paulo Coelho has sold upwards of 130 million books.

Platforms are not neutral. Facebook is not neutral. Google is not neutral.

Facebook is a social networking company, right? Google is a search company, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Both companies are information and surveillance companies. They acquire information on you and they sell it. Google even trawls through the content of your e-mails to obtain information on you.

Try posting this to your facebook account

Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? http://bit.ly/fs6rT3 What do you think? #hackercup2011

you will find it is blocked.

So much for platform neutrality.

But: Assume 500 million users, each pays $1 each to turn it into a social business and become the owners of a not-for-profit business. This would raise $500 million, more than sufficient. There would then be no need to sell users personal details to third parties. Indeed it would be a condition of ownership. Facebook would be run as a social networking site for the benefit of its members. Sadly what many mistakenly believe it to be now.

Many smart phones use Android as the operating system. Android is from google. Can we trust them not to do what they normally do which is to access our information? The truth is we do not know, it is not Open Source Software and so it is not open to public scrutiny. What we do know is that google can install and delete applications without our knowledge or consent.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Google and facebook are not charities. They are global corporations out to make money by using information on you. And never forget, the boss of facebook called his users ‘dumb fucks’ for so obligingly handing over personal data.

To change people’s minds you have to say something. In media jargon, you have to create content.

Production of content, editing of content, distribution of content, were and probably are, the three centres of power of the mainstream media.

This is no longer true, at least not true if we assume net neutrality.

I can control all three. My blog is just as likely to be read as any mainstream media, and I can get the content out quicker and usually with greater accuracy.

The mainstream media edits what we see. And for that read global corporations edit what we see. And they do so in a way to maintain their world view.

As the invention of the printing press shared information, and so the world view, so does the new media that we make use of today. Look at what Wikileaks has done.

There is also a paradigm shift between what the mainstream media does and I do. The mainstream is essentially broadcast, ie one to many. I am network and interactive. What I write others can comment upon, a dialogue takes place. Those who like what I write in turn pass it on to others, by posting on their facebook walls, by tweeting and re-tweeting on twitter.

What I write, although original creative thought (unless reposting what others have written that I think is worth passing on), is often based upon interaction with others, the germ of an idea is expanded upon.

Paulo Coelho makes extensive use of twitter and social networking. There is not only interaction between himself and his readers and followers, thus not one way, there is also interactions between his followers and readers, especially on his blog.

Summer 2009, twitter and social networking almost brought down the evil regime in Iran. Earlier this month it forced Ben Ali the president of Tunisia to flee the country like a rat up a drainpipe. Evil regimes across the Middle East are likely to fall like dominoes as we saw across Eastern Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall. [Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia]

Social networking had come of age. It was no longer a medium for mindless celebrities to post drivel and trivia about their meaningless lives. It was being used to make a difference in the world.

Paulo Coelho spreads ideas, be it through his blog or his books. He encourages people to break out of their straitjackets, to follow their dreams. No surprise then that earlier this month the regime in Iran decided to ban all his books (or at least ban his publisher). The only surprise was that they were not banned sooner or that publication was permitted at all. Iran is now being flooded with books in Farsi that can be freely downloaded off the net.

Iran bans Paulo Coelho
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

People can get hung up on technology. What is important is not the technology, it is what you do with it. Who would have thought of social networks as tools of the revolution? A car can take you from A to B. It can also be used as a lethal weapon.

Content matters. Writers want to be read, artists to be heard. We hear a lot of hype about net piracy, go back a couple of decades and it was about sale of cassette tapes. Each sale of a cassette tape was wrongly associated with the loss of an album sale. Those who are bleating are the global record companies and the manufactured pop bands who between them have destroyed music. Look at the top perfomers of today who have been around for what seems like ever. They performed because they liked performing. It is the manufactured rubbish on programmes like X Factor who seek instant fame.

Paulo Coelho has over a million followers on twitter, over four million on facebook. Interviews, book launches are boring, the same dumb questions, what is this book about? Why not try reading it?

O Aleph was published in Brazil last year with with no promotion, no book tours, no publicity. It shot to Number One in Brazil. Worldwide publication this year is eagerly awaited.

The writings of Paulo Coelho, the new media, are disruptive, they force change, force paradigm shifts.

A paradigm shift would be for business to shift to creating shared value not share value.

Paulo Coelho at World Economic Forum in Davos
Moglen: Why Facebook is Evil
Corporate Social Networking
Their business and ours
Google’s surveillance is taking us further down the road to hell
Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks
“Let The Hacking Begin” Declares Person Who Hacked Zuckerberg’s Facebook Fan Page
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
The sad shrinking of Myspace into the digital void
Zuckerberg says it’s time for Facebook to become a “Social Business”
“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
The wrong kind of sharing: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked
Egypt, The Age Of Disruption And The ‘Me’ In Media