Thursday, March 11, 2004

1.) I liked how Smith’s “Cyber subversion” article pointed out that “information technologies are equally effective as tools of political subversion.” In my cyberlaw class, we recently talked about how control can be hidden in the architecture and technology. The effects and origins of state or market sponsored control can be concealed behind technological solutions. This was an idea I wanted to discuss last week, but I didn’t get a chance, so I thought I would mention it here. The example I wanted to mention was the court case of Universal Studios v. Corley. Corley developed a decryption computer program that circumvented CSS encryption technology that motion picture studios place on DVDs to prevent unauthorized viewing or taping. Corley stated on his website how it was possible to circumvent this technology, and later he was taken into court. Was Corley exercising his first amendment rights? Could his speech be protected? Does code become an act? The case also shows a different conception of activism online where an act of divulging information becomes a form of electronic civil disobedience. Are there other examples of electronic civil disobedience? Is it part of a trend?
2.) What is your reaction of the quote by Philip Berano on page three of the Stoecker article: “Only the naïve or the scurrilous believe the third wave claim that ‘information is power.’ Power is power, and information is particularly useful to those who are already powerful.” Is information power? Does online activism prove this?
3.) The digitization of information changes the function of distribution. How does it change expression and functionality? What about content? Is there an impartiality or neutrality? For instance, last week, I heard on the nightly news how both Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart were turning to the Internet to tell their side of the story. I found it ironic that two celebrities were using the Internet as a “neutral media.” Is the Internet a neutral media? Was this true in the Corley case?

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