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Yes, and the elite has the tools (the same ones) to communicate and organize their actions. Plus, they have the money to use the tools, and the political power to control the tools.

The thing about those books used to communicate the Enlightenment was that you could hide them under your bed when the police showed up. Recent events have shown that the modern day tools are not like that at all.

Yet we embrace Google...

Google's new cloud computing ChromeOS looks like a plan "to push people into careless computing" by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control, warns Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the operating system GNU.

Two years ago Stallman, a computing veteran who is a strong advocate of free software via his Free Software Foundation, warned that making extensive use of cloud computing was "worse than stupidity" because it meant a loss of control of data.

Now he says he is increasingly concerned about the release by Google of its ChromeOS operating system, which is based on GNU/Linux and designed to store the minimum possible data locally. Instead it relies on a data connection to link to Google's "cloud" of servers, which are at unknown locations, to store documents and other information.

The risks include loss of legal rights to data if it is stored on a company's machine's rather than your own, Stallman points out: "In the US, you even lose legal rights if you store your data in a company's machines instead of your own. The police need to present you with a search warrant to get your data from you; but if they are stored in a company's server, the police can get it without showing you anything. They may not even have to give the company a search warrant."

by asdf on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 03:23:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree about the dangers of cloud computing, but not with the elite knowing how to use the tools (or build them).

Few of the elite understand coding. It is done for them often by people who, in my experience in Finland, are rather anarchic and their non-coding peers and friends are in the group most threatened by elitist machinations. The coders may have a foot in the corporate world, but by night....

There are plenty of online equivalents to hiding a book under your bed.

In the long run what matters is speed. If we can organize protest - of whatever kind - FASTER than 'they' can plan to contain it, then we will win. OR we create and manage businesses that are far more efficient and fair than theirs à la Chris Cook.

Perhaps my and Chris's optimism comes from our Nordic experience, but imo we are only at the very beginning of online democracy.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 09:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but the "anonymous" crowd has not been very impressive, for example...
by asdf on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 10:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are using only the most obvious 'tools' for headline effect. Effective warning shots. They are capable of much nastier interventions.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 11:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The other factor is that elements of the elite have, or could easily have, totally isolated equivalents of the web for their own institutional use, whether virtual private networks or physically separate networks. I do agree that individuals, such as PFC Manning of recent Wikileaks notoriety, can expose much of this, but at very considerable personal cost to that individual. For that degree of personal sacrifice to be sufficiently justified to inspire many more there needs to be much greater impact from such instances. Taking down BOA would constitute "greater impact".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 11:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Private networks already exist. All banks use them. But unless they're physically isolated or physically secured, they're open to infiltration.

And they're also open to social engineering attacks. From experience, many low and mid level people who work for banks are incredibly stupid and inefficient, and someone ruthless might not find them difficult to manipulate.

But inherent openness is the best antidote for all toxic social systems.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 12:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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