I very strongly support any new opportunity that can help define “how we make and exchange information, knowledge and culture”. Why?
In his path-breaking book: The Wealth of Networks” Yochaï Benkler indeed shows very clearly the wide-ranging positive consequences of preventing any transactional barrier to curtail every possibility for the “Networked Information Economy” to offer “individuals greater autonomy, political communities greater democracy and societies greater opportunities for cultural self-reflection and human connection”
I strongly recomment reading Yochaï Benkler in his “The Wealth of Networks” (freely downloadable from the web): it is a mind-boggling book, possibly one of the most important academic endeavors to analyse what kind of future is possible.
Indeed, the author is hinting “at the possible emergence of a new information environment, one in which individuals are FREE to take a more active role that was possible before. Its practical promises: Individual freedom, a platform for better democratic participation, a medium to foster a more critical and self-reflective culture, a mechanism to achieve improvements in human development everywhere.”
But the author also stresses what he calls the battle ahead, the battle against vested interests, wealth and power who fiercely resist change. A better future is possible, if we win this battle over what kind of ” institutional ecology will allow the digital environment to deliver on its promises”.
Therefore I am so watchful and active in preventing any curtailing these possibilities.
Not so long ago it was SOPA, PIPA and ACTA that were to be fought. Today it is much more serious. It is CISPA , that despite general public outcry, was voted in the US House of Representatives on Thursday last week (April 26th).
This is what I posted today (April 29th) on Google+ . Let me share it here.
“I just listened very carefully for an hour to the discussion below ( do listen to this also, it is particularly informative).
I believe that again the democratic process has been side-lined.
Democracy occurs when all parties are being listened to and responded to. In this case it is overly clear that the people in America, and beyond them, the people of the World (who are also using the web), are not listened to nor their concerns responded to. This is the major point Rainey Reitman made overly clear.
The process through which this bill took shape is clearly an example of “closed hegemony” at work: only two constituents of society, a hegemonic coalition of government and business, decide policy with FAR REACHING IMPACT (see some of my former posts), thereby excluding the citizens whose Human and Civic Rights are a central issue in the construction of this bill. These rights, through this exclusion, are litteraly trampled upon. Larry Lessig (and many others) are right when he writes of a “Republic Lost”
As Citizens ( in my case non US, but still a citizen of the World), I believe we have the right to VERY STRONGLY OPPOSE this bill, be it only on the ground that it has not been designed using a democratic process, and that our civil liberties are apparently severely put into jeopardy.
One more point: I hated the interventions of Dean Garfield, speaking as representative of the Industry. It reminded me of President Bush’s rhetoric, unduly using an imaginary nuclear threat to “National Security” to get the partisan interests of a “military-business complex” served, by attacking Iran on shaky grounds, at the expense of the taxpayer and World Peace.”
Please, do inform yourself. I am convinced that every virtuous, open, well-meaning, non-partisan citizen will feel the danger to democracy, civic liberty and Human Rights and will want to actively engage in fighting this non democratic evolution.
We’ve to remain very watchful, it is particularly relevant to remind ourself today of President Eisenhower’s warning in this remarkable passage of his farewell address to the US Nation (2 minutes true history)