Pit Schultz on Fri, 23 Feb 96 23:24 MET

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nettime: re: cyberspace

----- Forwarded message from Geert Lovink -----

>From xs4all.nl!geert Fri Feb 23 10:31:09 1996
Comments: MTA at mail.physik.TU-Berlin.DE is sendmail v8.7.2.
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 1996 09:31:37 +0100
From: Geert Lovink <geert@xs4all.nl>
Message-Id: <199602230831.AA13901@xs1.xs4all.nl>
To: nettime@is.in-berlin.de

From: Tibor Beke <tbeke@math.mit.edu>
Subject: Re: [online-e] Re: A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

> Ummm..
>        What the hell is this guy thinking?

John Barlow was much, much better as a Greatful Dead songwriter than as a
self-acclaimed `cognitive dissident'. As I was reading his proclamation,
I only hoped he has not defected from his very own cognition. Still, it
was moving in a 70's and touching in an American (ie naive) way.

> I know the bill was passed with that provision in it, but let us be
> realistic here.  The provisions restricting this free speech will never
> ever a) be able to be upheld by the courts according to this constitution
> that Mr. Barlow seems to understand so vividly

That seems fairly clear now, less so perhaps a month ago. Also, as Steve
has constantly been fretting ;-> other countries' legislations may be
affected by the US example without there being _such_ strong grassroots
free-speech activism. Complete with support; monetary, organizational,
lobbying and PR capabilities.

I've held the other view, namely that the Internet's unrestrained
'standards' will eventually transform traditional media, including
content control. But what is eventually? :-)

> and b) can never ever be thoroughly monitored by the government.

Dear, just who said they have to be monitored by the government. I
understand and sympathise with the great majority on this list who,
apparently, utter the phrases 'g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t i-s b-a-d'
'g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t i-s e-v-i-l' repetitively during their waking hours.
But if there is a $250,000 fine and 5 year sentence on one's writing
'shit' in a public message, it doesn't have to be the government that
drags one to court. It could be the listowner, a list recipient, the
Christian Coalition, the Parents' Advisory Board. How odd! Just in those
countries where grassroots free speech activism is strong, so is
grassroots decency activism.

>         This guy thinks that Cyberspace is a tangible home.  Well, major
> Tom to ground control, its merely a source of information that can be
> transmitted transacted at a lightening quick pace.  Excpet for some more
> advanced graphics, communication capabilities, and "chatting" its no more
> and no less.

So McLuhan was wrong? ;-) But I tend to agree with you, the Internet at
present mostly boasts quantitative differences over traditional media.
I'd have to search hard and fast for deep conceptual (ie not technical)
innovation. Also, this cyber-trash is truly irritating, and it mostly
comes from people who could not on their lives tell the origin of 'cyber'
or why it's a misnomer.

Still, there is something to this 'community of the mind'. The Internet,
for the first time since the war, allows an individual to be immersed in a
cheap, open, quite extensive, quite global info-stream. Let's try to make
sure _this_ quality is not destroyed.

>         Maybe the government doesn't understand its true benefits or its
> true purpose, but what the hell is the purpose of the Electronic Frontier
> Foundation?

See the February issue of Wired (US edition) for an all-out bash on the
EFF. But for the time being, let's refrain from bashing the EFF. Look
through their server (http://www.eff.org). They've done a great many
intelligent things. Some of it overlaps with EPIC or ACLU, and some
doesn't -- like Big Dummy's, and a certain international focus.

> Pal, there is never going to be guerilla warfare over the
> internet. Enjoy your little information anarchy over the internet.

Perhaps that's what's going to happen; the Internet stays unregulated,
unregulatable, and correspondingly unstable, continuously spurring and
pushing `established' venues which eventually will include media designed
specifically (and thus working better) for on-line commerce or on-line

Tibor Beke

----- End of forwarded message from Geert Lovink -----
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