Cory Doctorow at Webstock

A really fascinating and bit scary talk about impact of technology and the battle to controll it.
Full video stream of the talk is on Vimeo

Below I’ve listed couple of my own takeaways.

  • area of technology is an arena for biggest power and control struggle in current time
  • with little man power one can assert a lot of control over large numbers of people purely because of use of technology and large scale survailance. East German Stasi had 60k people per inteligence agent now US has 10k per agent and they can spy on 7bn people
  • DRM and lockin turn us from owners of content to mere renters. We no longer have same type of rights over what we bought.
    (personally I wonder if stores should rename their button from “buy” to “rent” to ensure it’s really clear what are your rights. Refering someone to T&C is pointless and serves as way of tricking people)

  • exposing poor constuction and design of products gets more difficult since you are no longer able to look under the hood. If you do you may be breaking laws. Hence inherently DRM and copyright laws tend to promote and defend bad design.

Personally I find that ideas behind open source communities and software are more and more appealing. It’s more chaotic but ultimately it’s clearer.
It may not be easy to move to Linux that quickly and without some effort but it is definately doable (I’m writing this in a laptop running Ubuntu into a plain text file.)

As it’s is the case with many things it’s up to people to vote with their feet and if enough will go for the open and transparent models of technology that what’s going to pervail.