The Coming War on General Purpose Computation – Cory Doctorow at 28C3

Cory Doctorow held his keynote speech at 28C3, the 28th Chaos Computer Congress last Monday. He’s in great form and the subject is +5 insightful, check it out below or read the transcript here.


9 Responses to “The Coming War on General Purpose Computation – Cory Doctorow at 28C3”

  1. Nice. This post and following discussion presents a useful overview of the arguments against SOPA for those interested:

    • That is a great overview of many things wrong with SOPA/PIPA and related acts. There’s a related discussion over at Slashdot:

      I find it depressing that these kinds of measures are passed to protect companies and their ‘IP’, but never to protect actual human beings (it’s ok to censor (potential) pirates, but if the KKK/Fox/Westboro Baptists spout the most degenerate racist bullshit their freedom is sacred).

      • Absolutely. I have however mixed feelings though about the argument that politicians shouldn’t make laws on technology because they don’t understand (well enough); is that really the case in the US? Because otherwise it seems a quite arrogant stance, and even a bit pointless.

  2. True, ‘never’ might be a bit overstated, but in general the current generation of politicians in the US (and over here) understand way too little about it and, even worse, seem proud about knowing little about it and are eager to dismiss expert opinions.

    From the article:

    Very few politicians get technology. Many actually seem proud that they don’t use the Internet or even email, like it’s some kind of badge of honor that they’ve kept their heads in the sand for so long. These are the same people who will vote on noxious legislation like SOPA, openly dismissing the concerns and facts presented by those who know the technology intimately. The best quote from the SOPA debates:
    “We’re operating on the Internet without any doctors or nurses on the room.”

    And then there are people like former senator and current MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd who recently said:
    “The entire film industry of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone. (Due to piracy)”. Guess he never heard of Millenium.

    And closer to home we have people like Opstelten en Teeven who still don’t understand (or don’t care) that to fight piracy SOPA-style, you need to spy on every bit every citizen sends over the Internet.

  3. More threats. Restriction of Open Access publishing, which is so necessary for scientific practice these days.

    Moreover, it is unbelievable that politicians can be legally paid to support such bills. Really a complete failure of democracy.

    • Libraries and academic institutions should really make a stand against this (the law and the current practices of the publishers), or else we might need a ‘sciencebay’, where you can download all these publications for free.

      In a sense it’s very smart of them (the commercial academic publishers) to rent a few politicians and buy a law to safeguard their profits from ‘teh evil interwebs’. They’re quicker then the RIAA/MPAA, who only went this route after the genie was out of the bottle.

      It’s still wrong, evil and undemocratic of course, but the real bug is in the ‘democratic’ system that allows for such big corporate influences/bribes. I think political donations should be restricted to natural persons and should always be public. It’s also another reason Luddite politicians shouldn’t make laws regarding the Internet: the Internet goes beyond the boundaries of their jurisdiction, these kind of laws screw the whole world.

      • It’s already bubbling; the KNAW is already pursuing an Open Data/Open Access policy and there is quite some debate on it.

        The main problem is the ranking system; you are judged by publishing in officially ranked journals which makes them so powerful. But the genie is already slipping..

      • Here’s an interesting piece on boing-boing touching on open research:
        Will ‘terrorism’ be the next reason to close research data?

      • I was hoping they would, I expect the academic/scientific community to be quite smart and rational overall.

        The ranking problem will sort itself out if the Open Data proves itself to be just as reliable. Crowd-sourcing the role of the journals will probably even be an improvement, since there’s less room for shady commercial/political deals. As an analogy, I think the Pirate Bay gives a more objective view on which movies or games are popular than ‘official’ ranking in magazines and comercial websites.

        But laws like the Research Works Act could stop the process of Open Data, at least when American scientists or money is involved. I read the (proposed) law and it’s quite simple and short and wrong in so many ways, sickening. I guess the USA doesn’t need a smaller government, but a smarter government (as do we btw).

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