Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Information cannot be free
a on Wed, 15 Aug 2001 05:24:18 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Information cannot be free

> i prefer scoring, recommendation and hypertext to censorship.

yes, although i believe he did have a valid point on the amount of
communication correlating to value of information, and how that relates to the
way free networks operate.

its great when you have a tool like google that really works well with free
information - but if those tools dont exist then free information is often
really useless. corresponding to this, i believe that censorship (such a harsh
word, but i use it in its loosest sense) actually has value. you wouldn't
expect an adobe user manual to have 600 pages of useless noise, for example.
both forms are of great value, and both require the right methods of access.

> "information wants to be free" may be bollocks, but i don't think it's an
> accepted hacker mantra.  but in the case of many classes of information,
> it's of greater value if it is freely available.

yeh, i think he was flawed in his relationship between information freedom and
hacker culture. what lead me to thinking about this was the stuff i read about
HAL before you went, and the stories I heard about it while you were out there.

there was an article emploring attendees not to engage in illegal activities
for fear of giving HAL (a _hackers_ convention) a bad reputation (ie, making a
clear distinction between hacking and cracking, for example). but what i heard
was that HAL was a breeding ground for trouble - warez servers, continuous
cracking on the local net, etc. it would be good if you could honestly confirm
or deny if this was the case.

anyway, my worry is that the hacker community cannot actually separate itself
from its sinister alter-ego. this makes the efforts of people like rms even
harder because they strictly do not condone illegal activities. so you end up
with this increasing mass of hacker types exploring 'freedom of information'
with systems such as gnutella (which, let's face it, is used to distribute
information illegally) and using their pseudo-political rhetoric to justify
partaking in illegal activities normally associated with cracking (ie, "let's
crack a proprietary encryption system!" - yes, it may be the right thing to do,
but it's _still illegal_)

i'm not making any accusations that this is the case - i'm just confused
because often the hacker community sends out conflicting signals with regards
to all these issues. i'd like to hear more opinions.

how does an honest hacker reconcile the knowledge that others in her community
are using her same political stance to justify illegal activities? the same
question needs to be flipped and asked to those involved in closed-information
systems, too.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net