Thursday, 7 January 2010

More thoughts

More thoughts about the Internet as a brave new social frontier: this is an answer to the previous post, and I wish it was better known today. It's from "A Cyberspace Independence Declaration" by John Perry Barlow, dated 1996. It makes depressing reading in the era of the corporate internet and blundering government interference.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself,
arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a
world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice
accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her
beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence
or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and
context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by
physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest,
and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be
distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our
constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope
we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we
cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

Sorry, pardner, the good old Wild West is gone, and it's Google, not The Well, that's setting the agenda. It would have been nice, though.

An after-thought: what would the Internet have been like if it hadn't been taken over by porn and spam?

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