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Re: <nettime> Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Rules for the digital world
Andreas Broeckmann on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:19:19 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Rules for the digital world

Am 10.03.14 02:58, schrieb Nick:

> Quoth Felix Stalder:
>> Enzensberger's text was just a joke, and the FAZ printed
>> it because it would stir controversy, not because it had much to
>> offer intellectually.
> Was it really just a joke? I'm not so sure dismissing it as that is
> appropriate. Sure it necessarily isn't a deep critique of the power
> dynamics at play with some of the newer technologies people are
> using now, but it wasn't designed as that, and I for one find the
> provocations basically reasonable.

OK, then let's look at the "rules" one-by-one. (for reasons of time right now, i'll only do the first ones, you will get the drift..., and maybe somebody else will continue, add, contest.)


my main critique is against the general thrust of HME's proposal, i.e. the suggestion that it is possible to "resist" as an individual. he admits the limited range of his proposals when he writes at the end: "These simple measures can't solve the political problem that society is faced with." i think that he should have started his text with this admission, and then also make suggestions for strategies towards such solutions - which, of course, cannot be individualistic, but need to be collective, and political. (the title, "Defend Yourselves!" is of course borrowed from stephane hessel's manifesto, "Indignez-vous!"; it is a strange distortion to suggest that such defense, or indignation, can be effective in any way if performed in such privatistic ways as suggested in HME's "rules".)

Published yesterday by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,

This is an unauthorized, quick translation.

Defend Yourselves!

For those who aren't nerds, hackers or cryptographers and have better
things to do than keep up with the pitfalls of digitalization every
hour, there are ten simple rules to resist exploitation and surveillance:

i disagree: not only specialists like "nerds, hackers or cryptographers" should have a basic and differentiated understanding of the cultural techniques that digital technologies offer; by analogy, of course, you can always tell somebody that a vocabulary of 300-500 words is enough to read a tabloid newspaper and that should be sufficient for getting by; but would you really tell anybody to stop after those 300 words and then go do "better things"?

If you own a mobile phone, throw it away. You had a life before this
device, and the human race will continue to exist after its
disappearance. One should avoid the superstitious worship that it
enjoys. Neither those devices nor their users are any smart, but only
those who plug them to us in order to accumulate boundless riches and
control ordinary people.

"accumulate boundless riches", "control ordinary people" - all this is pure polemics. is the longevity of the human race really the measure by which to assess the uselessness of the mobile (or smart?) phone? what about communication with your family or business partners? the examples of how mobile phones have improved business opportunities, learning, and communication in underdeveloped parts of the world. many services are affordable even for people with little money. - these examples should not legitimise over-pricing and data-veillance, but they put the simple "throw it away" in question. rather, the question is: can you afford not to have a mobile phone?

Whoever offers something for free is suspicious. One should
categorically refuse anything that passes itself off as a bargain, bonus
or freebie. It's always a lie. The dupes pay with their privacy, their
data and often enough with their money.

true, and well said, even though i don't agree with the "categorical refusal", because we may want to, or have to, choose to make use of some of those services. i think that one should be aware of the price that one is paying, in whatever currency. - (besides, there was a campaign by the dutch ISP xs4all already in the 1990s, called "Free is not free".)

Online banking is a blessing, but only for secret services and criminals.

i disagree: it can also also a blessing for those who don't have a bank counter within walking distance; a reality of the current banking system is also that it is often cheaper, in terms of banking fees, to make your transactions by online banking. which means that not to use online banking is something that you have to be able to afford. (the political answer, if such an answer was sought, could be to force banks to offer transactions at the counter at the same price as online transactions.) - and then the other question is whether other forms of banking are less of a blessing for "secret services and criminals"...

Governments and industries want to abolish cash. They would like to get
rid of a legal tender that anyone can redeem. Coins and bills are
annoying for banks, traders, security and fiscal authorities. Plastic
cards are not only cheaper to produce. Our watchdogs prefer them because

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