Unfinished thoughts on "The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing"

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Cory Doctorow has a talk on the need to give people rights over the technology they use, not only own. Worth reading of course, and i'm not going to sumarize,

A couple thoughts. First, please can we acknoweledge that the root of many of his concerns is the extreme, unfair inequality we have, and we have to at least mention the need to do something about that, because we will never be able to compensate for this tortured landscape working from this tortured landscape.

We have to look at these things from a balance-of-power perspective i think. Consumer-company, worker-company, This goes beyond even that as long as things are weighted in favor of capital, the capitalist corporation will have inordinate power in each of these relationships. Rather, any system or industry that requires or has high degree of bureaucracy tends to put too much power in the bureaucracy, or whoever manages to control it, while people interacting as users of services or workers fitting into the system tend to be under-organized.

If we can use technology to weaken the corporation and the state, and increase the power (meaning organizational capacity) of voluntary self-organization, the problem of devices being issued by the central power, or us using a service run by people with interests counter to our own (rather than by ourselves) is solved at the root.

Second, he could have chosen much more present and likely examples, i think, of the advantage corporations, governments, and institutions will take over control of technology. The end of work/life division and the need for private communication on so-called work devices is a key point he made well.

Also i wish he'd made the point that monitoring everything (recordings on busses now, that is insane) is pretty ineffective in catching someone planning a -- what, murder? what even potentially justifies wholesale removal of privacy? -- because of information overload, but very effective at giving the surveillers the tools to ruin the life of someone they pick out as a threat to the status quo.