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Svar på italienska frågor

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Ska till florens om en månad och svara på frågor till bloggen för tillställningen:

1) Why the problem of intellectual property is a problem of democracy and not only a legal matter?

This is evident because intellectual property is not just a law but an entire system of production, of desire and of organizing social and networked spaces. If you go down the path of intellectual property, and of stricter and tougher intellectual property laws, there is a whole system that also needs to follow on that. The copyright industry needs the copyright law, but along with this they need networks that work in their favour, people that desire their products, controlled urban spaces for entertainment, certain kind of communication technology and devices, cities to be arranged a certain way, databases that store data on network users, certain enforcment procedures, international trade treaties and so on. They need to assemble all of these entities around the law because the law can’t sustain itself. The further network technology evolve, the more of these support structures needs to be put in place to make intellectual property work and they bring enormous damage to society and create a kind of inelasticity that prevent new social dynamics to evolve. 2)But besides trials, what do you think about corporations or

neoliberal discourse which are trying to use the network culture for businness oriented purposes.

I’m not too afraid of the resources of the web being used for business purposes. Users attention is like a natural resource that can be used for business, art or activism. It’s just about learning how to use it and since we can be in a much deeper contact with the network culture than most companies I think we have all the opportunity to engage with the network in a deeper sense that the pr-departments of the companies. Networks can’t be controled by corporations, only modulated and that also means there is a possibility of contesting their use of them and turn their services or campaigns into other directions. As long as the network remain open and neutral I dont have a problem with the media industry or other actors trying to get a piece of it. Im confident enough that there are better alternatives than their so called professional content. But I say as long as they remain open and neutral because this is not necessarily the case in the future. The copyright industry can’t compete on a fair basis but always need laws and infrstructure that put them in a monopoly situation. This is what they will try to get and frankly I’m sick of them. There was a time when I kind of felt it would be nice if they learned to adapt to the ways of the internets, but ACTA is just the latest example of how they completely refuse, or rather are incapable, of transforming their complex hierarchical organizations into something different and therefor will continue to rather change the legal and infrastructural environment they operate in than change themselves. So there it’s them or the internet now…

3) What is the future of TPB and how would you explane, in a few words, the success of the swedish pirate archipelago (the bay, the party, the embassy, etc).

3) In sweden we are in a time now where the first-generation entities such as Piratbyrån and Pirate Bay occupy less space (this has mostly moved abroad) in favour of new names for entities, such as telecomix, the julia group and in a certain arena, the pirate party. This is because new areas have been opened up by the former. Looking at TPB you will see some familiar names popping up elsewhere as well (check the credits of the WikiLeaks video of the helicopter attack in Iraq…). So let’s just say that the ecosystem of swedish pirate related activity is doing very well. And I think this broad ecosystem with fuzzy borders between organizations is the key. New ideas can get support easily and new problems gets discovered and tackled immediately. Around the pirate archipelago there is also a vast ocean of swedish internet life, from programmers to journalist who thanks to the web2.0 services like twitter are now in immediate contact with each other.


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April 19th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

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Fighting the 3D Reptiles

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bild-5

This post will be an english summary and extension of my talk at festa dei pirati in Rome, Italy on the 20th of March. It was called “Fighting the 3D Reptiles” and was about the media industry vision of the future internet.

Festa dei Pirati is a weekend of seminars, performances and discussions organized by a broad coalition of Italian groups interested in things from free culture to law. I spoke at last summers Festa dei Pirati too, that time about the history of Swedish file-sharing movement, the Pirate Bay trial and the activism that followed that trial dealing with EU law. Because the last year, a lot of internet activism, actually most internet activism, has come to be about fighting nasty laws on national, EU and global levels. This has been done in the name of concepts like democracy, freedom of speech and citizens rights.

This is great activism, but it also feels like in the middle of this it is easy to loose track of what you are doing and why. Its easy that the law sets the framework for the activity. Beyond fighting for these values, democracy, freedom – we also need to update our conception of how we think the internet can rearrange social relations, spaces and culture.

There used to be a time when being for the internet was enough, because everyone else was so far behind. That our opposition was against the internet, stuck in analog ways of thinking and so on. Your own position could just be one of “pro-internet” and that was fine. No need to think more about what that meant.

My talk argued that this kind of futurism is not a good position anymore and that we should look for something else.

Because the media industry is fighting a two front war today. On the one hand there is the lobbying for laws that have come to define internet activism, but on the other hand there is a lot of resources spent on research into the “future internet” which redefines what internet is about.

This future internet is composed of several components. There is a new kind of content, “immersive experiences” composed of high quality, streaming, sometimes 3D,  content on your HD-TV coupled with simple services, that is supposed to be better than the poor media experiences of internet today. There is also a new legal framework that has to be in place to support this, hence the laws. And finally there is a new kind of network that have to be implemented to carry these heavy streams, which involves new cooperation between network provider, hardware manufacturer and “content provider” where this data will be prioritized to ensure the quality of service.

This future internet has several functions. It is a way to battle piracy by providing something that can’t be pirated (only if you have deals with the network provider you can transmit this), it creates a business model (you stream it so you can charge for it) and it creates desire (people will want the media industry’s products again).

One consequence of this for the internet activism that is fighting laws is that before it could be argued that the copyright industry wanted laws so they could stop the internet and conserve their old business model. But with this, they can instead argue that the laws have to be implemented to enable the future internet. All of the sudden it is the internet activist who is the reactionary, wanting only to stay with today’s internet and not evolve into the future. Criticism against the copyright industry will sound retro and nostalgic. The media industry now “gets the internet” and can claim that they are the digital future.

//

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So what’s wrong with 3D future internet? If the consumers want internet to be streaming content on their TV, who are we to say that this is wrong? Isn’t this just a version of old cultural critique of the false conciousness of the masses who are being fooled just because they don’t do as the avant-garde wants? No, it’s not. The reason is that it is not only about creating the subjectivity of the 3D-desiring user. The whole system of laws, networks and desire has to be put in place. It is not so much the service itself that is the problem, but all that have to be put in place in order for it so function. Also no matter if this future internet will be realized or not, it can already as a vision have damaging consequences for how decision makers imagine the future of the net. So, we need to bring forth another vision of what the future internet can be, which of course, on contrary to the coordinated vision from the media industry won’t be one single vision. I’m not going to give that vision here, but I have some points that I believe will be crucial components. Things that are not covered by the 3D-vision of the internet. Yes, I will also explain why I have this aversion against 3D…

These three points are:

  • Disruptive development
  • Post-digital circulation
  • Artworks/Networks

Which constrasts three characteristics of the Future Internet:

  • Linear
  • Digital services
  • Content

Let’s go through them as pairs:
Disruptive vs. linear

The Future Internet vision is a linear vision that has to create new desires by increasing the quality of transmission every 18 month or so (when the shock and awe of the last format is gone) while still retaining about the same cultural setup. Streaming film or sports will be about the same even though it is with a 3D effect or with the ability to choose angles. The linearity also means that it is possible for them to predict the future by just increasing one variable, and then have every part of the “value chain” working towards the same vision.
Against this we should pose an internet that is fundamentally disruptive. That don’t progress by linear increment but disrupting of entire ways of doing culture. It is also a perspective that acknowledges that a number of external factors can change the state of the entire cultural system. This means that it is a more risky version that can’t predict the future and that suggest that resources into developing the internet should be devoted to covering a number of different scenarios. The disruptive perspective is not about the quality of an expression that remain the same but fundamentally change and invent cultural expressions.

bild-4

The linear progress also invites one to wonder what will be next. When they have gone from HD to 3D. What is next? There is not another dimension to add and more quality won’t really be perceived by humans. One suggestion that came up during a wine lunch in Rome was the bubblenets. The idea was that you would mount a bubble helmet on your head, which locks around your neck for the period of your subscription (minimum 18 months). This helmet would then augment and manipulate your reality with various special effects. Make it more beautiful, exciting, informative and so on. On the downside, the helmet woudl also only let air in if your paid for the premium service. A joke of course, but the bubblenet would have components that should be taken seriously. The locked-in, subscription-based format and the idea of takning something that used to be free (air) and charge for it. This process has been dubbed “Spotification“.

Post-digital / digital
The digital vs. analog debate is played out. The media industry is heavily pushing its “legal services” and Future Internet technology. Today it is them who has taken over the role as digital advocates while the internauts are now comfortably circulating in and out of networks. The digital services of the Future Internet wants the consumer to satisfy all possible need within the system. In the post-digital perspective on the other hand, the system always creates a surplus that must get an outlet outside of the system. Simple example is of course the relation between downloading music and music festivals/clubs/concerts. The post-digital perspective also has the advantage of regaining a perspective on the city and how the intenrets ability to form communities effect the city and creates demands for a new kind of city life.

Artwork/Network
This is a perspective that challenges the idea that culture equals content and delivery of content. That the meaning of culture is stored in the content which is retain across several relations. Instead, what makes culture meaningful is it being performed, and this performance happen in every point across its circulation and is performed by a number of different actors. The Artwork/Network perspective is an ecological perspective that focuses of where and how culture circulates.

This list of features of a different future of the internet than the one presented by the media industry is definitely not final, but points out the need for having one, or at least attacking the problem, and shows that there is a lot missing in the vision they present. Apart from the vision of the media industry, there is also a lot of future internet visions outside of the cultural field that should be thought of. For example everything that now gets the prefic “smart”. Smart cities, smart education, smart transport, smart healthcare. For a glimpse of that, check out this video by IBM.

//

The important thing to remember when dealing with this is that there is no evil plan and there is no use of being against this. Rather it is about knowing that what is presented, simply because it is presented by companies with certain momentums, competences, demands and traditions, will be a very limited view of what the internet can be. It is not that they have considered the ideas we have and discarded them. They simply are ignorant (which doesn’t mean they would like what they would here). Trust me, I go to their conferences.

We must add to this and make sure it is possible to add to it. And it is possible to catch them completely by surprise, making their visions look completely ridiculous. Problem is that their stuff is all that some people with the cash get to see.

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March 31st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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chrisk på Resistance studies.

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Anteckningar från Christopher Kullenbergs föreläsning på Resistance Studies.

Internets historia:
* USA byggde ett paket-switchat distribuerat nätverk. Ett distribuerat nätverk har en hög grad av resiliens eftersom vlken punkt som helst kan slås ut utan att resten av nätverket splittras. Det går också att på generiskt sätt lägga till nya noder.

* I Sovjet byggde man circuit-switchat decentraliserat nätverk. Ett decentraliserat nätverk är sårbart mot attacker på vissa supernoder som kan göra att de mindre noderna inte kan kommunicera.

* Frankrike hade minitel som gick på telefonnätet men hade terminaler som bara kom åt vissa specifika tjänster. Det förekom en strejk delvis organiserad genom minitel 1986.

* Tidig aktivism genom IRC går att spåra till sovjetunionens fall och Israel under gulfkriget.

Dagens internet kan bäst beskrivas som ett mellanting mellan distribuerat och decentraliserat. Uppdelningen i ISP och konsument gör att jag i det aktualiserade läget bara har en uppkoppling mot internet. Går min ISP ner kan jag inte koppla vidare (kanske via grannens nät). Dock är det inte så svårt att söka upp nya uppkopplingar, så man kan säga att det distribuerade nätverket existerar virtuellt även om det aktualiserade nätverket alltid är decentraliserat.

Krypto maskerat innehåll, proxy maskerar destination. Två taktiker för att undvika censur.

* Aktivism:

Att vi använder samma teknologier som den globala kapitalismen räddar oss. Det är anledningen till att den inte är bannlyst. Kina är beroende av att ha utländska företag som Volvo i landet som kommunicerar krypterat via tunnlar. Därför kan de inte stänga ner internet utan att kollapsa. Här kan en strategi vara att alltid använda sig av verktyg som även företagen är beroende av och där de olika formerna av användande är svåra att skilja åt. Denna strategi skiljer sig från den som misstänkliggör användandet av internet eftersom den antas ha en slags affinitet med det militär-industriella komplexet på grund av sitt ursprung. Strategin att lämna den militärindustriella teknologin är en slags exodus-strategi och kan användas till olika grad. Viss användning av öppen mjukvara kan placeras här. Vad ska vi kalla den strategi som klamrar sig fast vid militärindustriell teknologi just eftersom man får en extra skjuts då? Civilsociologens strategi. Varken accelerationism eller eskalationism passar eftersom utvecklingen inte anses snabbas på av detta. Det är snarare nån som av parasitär strategi.

* Iran har kapacitet att störa ut satellittelefoni som annars kan betraktas som en sista utväg ur stängda länder. Den icke-linjära informationsteorin lär oss ju att det ofta räcker med bara en informationsläcka så länge sneakernet kan arbeta för att få informationen till den noden. Att en hel befolkning har möjlighet att få ut information är inte nödvändigt. Det räcker alltså med weak ties mellan två samhällen för att ett informationsutbyte ska fortgå. Strong ties är bara nödvändigt vid hög komplexitetsgrad.

* i2p är vädligt svårt att upptäcka genom deep packet inspection. Skönt att höra! Militärindustiella komplexet använder ju inte i2p och därför skulle den kunna blockas helt. Bittorrent är väl det protokoll som ligger närmast en totalblockering.

Å ena sidan har vi negativ/subtraktiv attack mot internet, alltså censur, blockering och annat borttagande av information. Å andra sidan har vi positiv/additativ attack mot internet, alltså spam, falsk information och annat tillägg av information. Skulle det bara finnas negativa attacker skulle det lätt gå att sprida information och tekniker för kringående av spärrar. Eftersom det också finns positiva attacker (falska budskap om demonstrationsrutter, adresser till falska proxies) så kan information och tekniker för kringående bara spridas i mindre trust-networks. Det gäller att bygga upp en tillit till avsändaren, något som ofta görs på sneakernets, vilka har en begränsad kopierbarhet.

Det är skillnad på kringgående och tunnling. Kringående är att hitta an annan nod, motsvaras av att gå över bergen istället för genom gränsposteringen. Tunnling är att gömma information i annan information, motsvarande att gömma sig i bagageutrymmet när man passerar gränsposteringen.

Darknets är troligen mer användbart för ett trust-nätverk att dela information som sedan kan spridas vidare via sneakernets. Poängen med dem är att internet ska kunna utsättas för oerhört kraftiga attacker och krympa till en bråkdel av sin tidigare energi, men så länge det inte stängs ner helt (vilket det inte gör pga volvo-effekten) så kan ett mikroskopiskt darknet behållas och utifrån det kan nät byggas upp igen via internetNoll (alltså alla möjliga former av ställföreträdande protokoll, digitala som analoga).

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March 4th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

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Decentralisera den sociala webben

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Mikrobloggning. Vi måste ordna det. Vi på internet. Öppet, decentraliserat, expanderbart.

Mikrobloggningen är primalflödet på nätet. Det som riktar om alla flöden. Följ @monki så spelar det ingen roll var jag skapar saker på nätet. Om du är intresserad så kan du följa allt via @monki. En länk jag fann intressant, en bloggpost jag skrev (på en av 20 bloggar), en kommentar på någon annans blogg, ett foruminlägg, en bild, en film. Alla flöden går via mikrobloggen. Mikroflödets aggregering tillåter oss att vara flyktigare på resten av nätet. Det är mer än kanalisering än något som skulle ha att göra med innehållsproduktion.

Så vi måste fixa det på vårt sätt. Inte på twitters sätt. Öppet protokoll som vem som helst kan skriva gränssnitt och funktioner till. Fixar vi det så kan vi fixa alla andra saker sen. Fixar vi det kan vi fixa ett protokoll för bilder där du kan tagga @monki i bilden så får jag reda på det. Så kan jag aggregera alla taggade bilder någon annanstans om jag vill ha ett facebook-liknande bildalbum av andras bilder av mig. Har vi bara mikroflödet ordnat så går alla typ av information att länka via det. Mikroflödet är skapandet av relationer mellan information på internet. Låt oss börja här.

Hur svårt kan det vara? Mikrobloggande är världens enklaste grej. Det behövs bara en överenskommelse om inloggning, socialt nätverk och lite sync. Nåt sätt för att skydda privata meddelanden, även om det faktiskt kan vara en påbyggnadsfunktion. Det behöver inte vara hur snabbt som helst som sök behöver vara. Sök är svårt att decentralisera på grund av hastigheten. Men mikrobloggande kan dröja några sekunder innan meddelandet kommer ut. Det behöver inte vara informationstungt som strömmande video. Strömmande video är svårt att decentralisera på grund av datamängden.

Eben Moglen talar om att decentralisera den sociala webben i en föreläsning har gjorde för några veckor sedan på Internet Society in New York med titeln “Freedom in the Cloud: Software Freedom, Privacy and Security for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing”.

Han går hårt ut och spårar utvecklingen av dagens webb. Sociala webben av idag är en långsam katastrof som utvecklat sig över flera år där relationen mellan dels en server där alla loggar och all makt finns och dels en tunn klient som inte har något att säga till om har polariserats och förstelnats som webbens självklara infrastruktur.   Servrarna virtualiseras allt mer medan klienterna blir mer personliga och fattigare. Tydligt exempel på stigberoende där andra val kunde ha lett till en helt annan utveckling, men där vi har tagit oss in på en stig där allt från hårdvara till gränssnitt utvecklas för att förstärka uppdelningen. Har avskyr Facebook mer än allt annat och klämmer till med den sköna dissen “Zuckerman has done more evil to mankind than anyone else his age”.

Lyssna/kolla gärna på föreläsningen så bygger vi sen.

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February 17th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

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Småflöden

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Jag har samlat småflöden som jag spottar ur mig på webben här. Delicious, google readers delade och klangbotens tumblr. Skippade twitter för att undvika noise.

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January 21st, 2010 at 11:47 am

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Pop culture and tunnels

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I used to love pop. Pop in the various indies of the 90′s was great, when it was taken as a serious subject of analysis and being. Styles evolved, tastes were developed and refined. Pop in the beginning of 2000 was AMAZING, when it popped up everywhere; mutated and freed from all anxiety. This is when we started Piratbyrån. Piratbyrån was pop to the bone. Piratbyrån was about going to awards and sippin champagne, hustling free tickets for movie premiers that was already out on the pirate bay, about being super good looking and fine connoisseur of movie, music, software and philosophy, living the life-style to the fullest, but getting it all for free. Piratbyrån was about accelerating contemporary culture. Wellfare begins at 100mbit, yes, let’s all live life anti-oedipal, now!

Copyriot describes the atmosphere (Please read that post and the comments on it…):
This accelerationism also enabled a certain political transversality and new alliances between hackers, artists and intellectuals, and it could quite easily be underpinned by a mainstream deleuzianism and/or benjaminism.

Skip to 2010:
To be associated with pop today is to be associated with digital music sales, innovative business models and streaming music services; which is exactly as unsexy as it sounds. There is no exciting surface, even to transverse as free flying nomads anymore.

Copyriot again from the same post:
Now in 2010, we are tunneling communications. Well, we do not only dig tunnels – we also connect them to post-digital spaces – but we certainly do not call for accelerated communications any more. At least, acceleration has ceased completely to be politically interesting

There is a need for a new strategy that i can’t quite formulate yet, but I think the new attitude and status of tunneling is a key factor. When the tunnel used to be a way of hiding from the mainstream (literary the main stream), of shying away from the flow of pop culture, that stream don’t flow so much anymore. The tunnels on the other hand have been transformed into something else than a hiding place. It seems that here is where the movements are. In a totally smoothed surface, when no movement can exist without being immediately in the spot light, transformed into a transaction, the activity moves into the tunnels. Not for reasons of shadyness, but for nurturing. Tunneling is rather than accelerationism a part of escalationism (again, following the argument form CR). It is a quest for making space, or rather place, happen. Each activity also generates its on geography and it interlocks and overlaps with other activity, in fact any activity can be connected, but it takes work to make tunnels. Tunneling is ontological.

Not how this differs from subcultures or old school cryptoanarchism. It is no longer a dialectic with the mainstream. The logic is not “OR”, surface OR underground. It is rather an AND. This tunnel AND this tunnel AND this tunnel, making up new spaces.

//

Many questions remain to be explored though (tunnel activity is planned..). For example,a s i stated in a comment at the CR-post already in 2006 Piratbyrån said that: “The alternative to p2p piracy is not No Piracy, but person2person piracy” and by on the one hand stating that the efforts against piracy were fruitless, on the other hand warning against the loss of the open index. How can this be managed in tunnels? There is no map of the tunnels. Redundancy is one way of solving it, but what else is there?

//

I described a similar relation about a year ago in a presentation at transmediale summarized here: http://www.blay.se/2009/01/30/transmediale-shuffle-terror/
That time it was instead the relation between the open ocean and the scrubby forest that was explored (and jungle vs. tunnel has been explored in the comments at Copyriot).

Perhaps by bot is trying to deal with the same comparison of forest and tunnel.
02:45 + tellurian | monki: In this soggy mess, tunnels are dug more easily, even though they may collapse without warning. #tunnel()

Is that an encoded description of the raid on forskningsavdelningen?

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January 19th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

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Nya bottar i nätverken

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Har spenderat senaste dagarna med att göra tre nya bottar som nu befolkar irc-näten.

I kanalen #enforce på irc.freequest.net finns Tellurian som är en megahal matad med cyclonopedia-relaterade texter som har spårats upp via internet archive.Djupa tunnel()-lulskaper utlovas.

Se dock upp för i samma kanal härskar botten enforce som har ensam operatörsstatus samtidigt som kanalen är i moderator-mode. Alla andra har enbart voice. För er som kan irc så förstår ni att detta betyder att enforce har makt att ta bort voice och därmed tysta personen i fråga. Det gör enforce om man skriver något i kanalen som har sagts tidigare. Enforce har den absurda uppgiften att hindra kopiering i språket. Dock förstår inte enforce gråzoner så det går att kringgå censuren med kryptering.

I #telekompaketet på irc.telecomix.org så hittar man numera ACTAtruth som bringar klarhet i detta mystiska handelsavtal genom att vara matad med de läckta ACTA-texterna, handelsavtalet mellan USA och Jordanien som sägs inspirera ACTA, IFPIs “digital music report 2009″ samt ett urval av texter författade av David Icke.

//

Bästa guiden för megahals finns här.

Enforce är baserad på ROBOT9000 och behöver följande perlmoduler (installera i den här ordningen):

net::irc
sub::uplevel
test::exception
carp::clan
storable
bit::vector
date::calc
YAML

Mycket nöje!

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January 13th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

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Prosumerspyan

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I mitt arbete på Interaktiva Institutet har jag rest på en hel del konferenser ordnade av diverse EU-finansierade forskarcommunities inom det EU kallar “Future Internet Research“. Detta är en mycket ambitiös (i pengar och självgodhet mätt) satsning på att göra EU-baserad forskning och företagande dominerande inom framtiden internet. Jag ska inte gå in på den visionen just här, även om den är väl värd att analysera. Det är ju här som EU kommer bränna miljarder de kommande åren och visionerna som tas fram här kommer dominera debatt och lagstiftning som kommer.

Senast var jag på en konferens om “user-centric media”, som ju låter mycket bättre än motsatsen. Vad nu ickeanvändarcentrerad media skulle vara. Gissningsvis skulle det vara envägsriktad masskommunikation som Spotify och Voddler och allt vad de tjänsterna heter. Låt oss inkludera vad som ingår i “underhållningsspyan“, detta alltigenom vidriga koncept. Men jag undrar samtidigt, efter att ha sett var som forskas på inom den användarcentrerade medieforskningen om inte även kritik av underhållningsspyan, som ju bygger på samma konsumtionsmönster som pre-internet, möjligen mer sökbart och longtailat, är öppen för an annan spyas intåg, nämligen en ännu-icke-namngiven spya baserad på “prosumers” snarare än konsumenter.

Paraplybegreppet “user-centric media” syftar på en mängd olika tekniker där kännetecknet är att användaren är aktiv och interaktiv. Ofta baseras dem på “user generated content” snarare än top-down-innehåll även om fältet inkluderar det märkliga forskningsområdet “social TV”, en slags sista dödsryckning från det utdöende TV-mediet där  TV-tittande ska kombineras med “sociala funktioner” med andra som tittar på samma program. Denna forskning utförs ofta av partnerships mellan gamla producenter av TV-program/-apparater och forskare.

Anyway, det finns bra forskning också, som handlar om interoperabilitet i realtid mellan olika enheter, exempelvis möjligheten att flytta en arbetsyta mellan skärmar, datorer och mobiler. Processer skiljs från hårdvaran de tillfälligt körs på – en abstraktion med flera intressanta konsekvenser. Men många projekt är teknikdrivna projekt som löser problem ingen har och överbefolkar vardagen med massa “smarta” användarcentrerade tjänster. Det är inte underhållningsspyan men samma “osmälta sörja” infinner sig. Skillnaden är att det nu är vi användare själva som bidrar med innehållet i den. Varje tänkbar situation i ens liv fylls med en funktion för att vara “social” genom att dela med sig och vara kommunikativ. Visst kan samma argument framföras här som mot underhållningsspyan; att det bara är att välja bort det man inte vill ha. Detta är dock av mindre betydelse, eftersom spyorna av båda slagen får konsekvenser bortom det individuella valet. För lagstiftning, begär, politiska och ekonomiska och forskningsmässiga prioritering med mera. Se bara hur Spotify som underhållningsspya ritar om relationen mellan internetleverantör och tjänsteleverantör.

Prosumerspyan, som vi tillfälligt kan kalla den, är i mångt och mycket en konsekvens av ett forskningsklimat inom EU där stora pengar satsas på stora projekt med förhoppningen att skapa framtidens internet. Då gäller det att visa upp sitt område som framtidssäkrat för EU-kommissionen vilket leder till märkliga prioriteringar till spektakulära med hopplöst gammalmodiga satsningar på “The Future 3D Media Internet” och liknande galenskaper. Det ser framtid ut för en politiker som inte elvt med internet och skepsis inför forskningsriktningen kan viftas bort med hänvisning till att man bygger för framtiden och inte för nuet. Varför inte motivera byggandet av virtuella 3D-miljöer med att det är bra för miljön om människor träffas mindre.

Jag må låta neggig här, men det tror jag är nödvändigt för att tillfälligt bryta ett helt och hållet bejakande förhållningssätt till prosumer-tänket. Så låt oss pröva den nedbrytande metoden. När jag hör EU-byråkrater med djupa fickor tala om “breaking down barriers between producer and consumer” anar jag att något är lurt och att konceptet är på väg att korrumperas. När de talar om sharing i samma andetag som hårdare lagstiftning kring copyright undrar jag om vi inte bör osäkra revolvern kring det begreppet också. Ok, hur korrumperas det då? Genom tjänster. Genom att tänka internet som “access to services”, vare sig det är envägsdistribution av innehåll som Spotify eller användarcentrerade tjänster som det forskas kring här. I prosumerspyan får vi gärna gå dissa skivbolagen och hollywoodfilmer. Vi användare får gärna bli “empowered” genom att dela med oss av vår “content” hela dagarna via tjänsteleverantörernas tjänster. Tjänstetänket är kvar, contenttänket likaså, men nu är det prosumerslavarnas content som går runt runt i en vakuumförpackad feedbackloop och underhållningsspyr på sig själva. Att producera content centralt är ju både dyrt och en osäkerhet i en komplex omvärld. Prosumerslaven sharear konstant bilder, video och länkar, men inget händer förutom att trafik flyter genom tjänsterna. Det är vad som räknas. User generated content på nätet, frikopplat från tid, plats etc. En prosumer är precis lika underställd mjukvaran som en konsument, men bidrar själv med kräkset och skickar mikrospyor till andra användare. Det får inga post-digitala konsekvenser, eller får folk att faktiskt skapa kod. Nå, det är inte helt sant. Tjänsterna har ju API:er och mobiler kan positionsanpassa tjänsten.

Ok, vi andas ut en smula här och ser var vi har hamnat. Är det så förfärligt verkligen? Nyckeln här verkar vara uppdelningen mellan tjänst och användare av tjänst. Detta leder till uppdelningen mellan tjänsteleverantörer som tillsammans med nätleverantörer (allt oftare samma aktör), två branscher som tillsammans bestämmer internets arkitektur och tillgänglighet. Dessa skapar tillsammans plattformen på vilken användarna rör sig. Måhända har användarna en större rörlighet inom de här tjänsterna än med sin tidigare roll som rena konsumenter, men den rörligheten är något som är helt underställd tjänsteleverantörens godtyckliga nåd. Möjligtvis går det att på egen hand skapa användande inom dessa tjänster som utvecklarna själva inte tänkte på; det finns alltid överflöd och flyktlinjer att upptäcka. Hur denna rörelsefrihet kommer att se ut kommer att variera beroende på ett flertal omständigheter som konkurrens och interoperabilitet.

User-centric media tolkas nu inte som den positivt laddade frasen “sätta användaren i centrum” utan bör utläsas som “till varje pris behålla användaren som just användare”. Här installeras ett klassystem mellan tjänsteleverantörerna och användarna där de som till dags dato lyckats etablera sig och därför har möjlighet att ingå dealar med nätleverantörerna och utöva påtryckningar på politiker som försvårar för användarna att överskrida sin roll som just sådana.

Det kanske mest luriga fenomenet inom det här området är så kallade “living labs”. Ett living lab påminner nästan om ett hackerspace och är byggda för att, som det heter, “involve users in the innovation process”. Men i ett hackerspace så blir usern, spacet och det som skapas där ett och samma assemblade, medan de två rollerna användare och utvecklare i slutändan upprätthålls i ett living lab.

Nå, jag stannar här med ett inlägg som kan sägas ha etablerat en botten. Jag är själv ingen anhängare av puritanism så jag nöjer mig inte med svaret att det går att bygga egna tjänster. Den här frågan måste ses som en fråga om hela internets ekologi och hur tekniska processer även spiller över i politiska och nätakritektoniska och därför har en inverkan som sträcker sig bra mycket längre än till den enskilde användaren.

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December 15th, 2009 at 11:27 am

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Comhem och youtube

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Detta känns konstigt. En statisk post om att en dynamisk etherpad har startats. Hursomhelst så utreds just nu comhems koppling till youtube av telecomix. Detta flikade jag in i etherpaden. Ändra gärna där istället för att kommentera här :)

http://etherpad.com/comhemyoutube

Scenario:
Comhem peerar med google.
Vad är peering?
Internet består som namnet antyder av flera nät. Vi har comhem-nätet, telia-nätet osv.
Det finns tre sätt att byta trafik mellan dessa nät.
Transit – du “hyr plats” på en annan ISPs nät.
IX – Internet Exchange Point. Plats där ISPar byter trafik mellan varandras nät och betalar beroende på datavolym.
Peering <– det vi är intresserade av här
Istället för att gå från punkt A till punkt B via transit (och därmed betala) skapar man en direktlänk. Går det mycket data mellan två punkter är det här bra för då slipper man betala transitavgiften. Exempelvis kanske comhem har peering med bahnhof och skickar då all trafik direkt till bahnhof-länken istället för till IX där det kostar stash.
Vänta nu, menar vi fysiska kablar?
Nja, man köper/hyr en frekvens i en fiberkabel (ja, en färg faktiskt om man ser det rent fysiskt).
Gör Google detta?
Jo, Google är faktiskt en nätleverantör förutom att vara en tjänsteleverantör (detta gör det hela lite klurigt). Så istället för att comhem kör google-trafik över, säg teliasonera, så kan de köra direkt till google-länken. Detta är troligen vad de har gjort.
Edge-chaching
Google kör också med edge-caching, vilket innebär att man ställer en burk i ett datacenter som har cache på populär data. Den här cachen kan sen ISPer hyra in sig på.
Pengar vs. hastighet?
Ovanstående åtgärden innebär i praktiken bara att comhem inte behöver betala lika mycket (till exempelvis telia) och påverkar inte slutkundens prestanda direkt. Dock håller sig google-länken frisk även om en annan koppling (antingen transit eller annan peering) skulle gå ner.
Nätets  utbyggdnad <— problem
Nätet måste hela tiden byggas ut när trafikmängden och kraven ökar. Med peering och caching direk ttill tjänsteleverantörer kan det innebära att internet byggs ut tjänst för tjänst snarare än “genrellt”. Innebär detta endast en avlastning på övrig trafik (ja, delvis) eller kan man också se det som att vissa tjänster prioriteras över andra?
Ny Grej
Allt detta är relativt nytt. Inte så många tjänsteleverantörer kör också nätleverans (telia hostar dock wow, lite samma sak). Så det är värt att tänka över vad detta betyder för internets framtid och om det finns andra alternativ.
Generella cachar:
En variant är att ISPar bygger (eller köper) generella cachar som cachar poppis material snarare än material från en viss tjänsteleverantör som google. Exempel finns på den israeliska ISPen som började chacha torrent-trafik. Gissningsvis inte poppis hos mediebolagen.
Googles förhandlingsläge:
Google står för enormt stor del av internettrafiken. Vilket förhandlingsläge har de? Alla kommer vilja peera med dem snarare än att köpa google-trafik från någon annan. Kan de förbjuda en ISP att peera med andra tjänsteleverantörer?

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November 30th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

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Transitio Clinic

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(Summary of a clinic, a deppening and intimate format giving warm associations to Guattari and SPK, about Piratbyrån at the Transitio festival here in Mexico City. This is actually the second clinic, but the first was mostly about basic Piratbyrån stuff that can be read elsewhere or about themes that will be developed furher)

Through the file-sharing debate, Piratbyrån turned into a political project  on mass media terms. It was seen as a group representing the interests of the file-sharers. It created a debate about interests groups against each other, such as pirates vs. anti-pirates and trying to find the compromise in-between and posed binary questions such as should file-sharing be legal or not, should we have intellectual property or not. It was all based on society being changed by a public debate coming up with a solution that would later be implemented by law and therefor assumed to be the state of affairs all over society.
The walpurgis ritual where the file-sharing debate was buried marked a distancing away from this debate towards a project based on a friendship investigating the interface between analog and digital environments that the internet and file-sharing had created not because of what the law said but that that was a material reality despite what the law said.

This was also due to that intellectual property itself started to look less like one of these crucial  tipping points. Perhaps a symbol for this is the story of Getty Images. Mark Getty who owns the image database getty images is the son of an owner of oil companies and famously stated sometime in the first years of the millenium that “intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century”. This would imply several things. One of them spells WAR, and we do have seen the war on file-sharing. Another thing it implies is a resource by which you control other resources. By increasing or limiting the supply of oil you can shake the entire world economy. This seems true of intellectual property as well. The coalition of record companies that control the majority of copyright for music are able to decide which digital service using music are able to exist or not by giving them or not giving them permission to use their music in their service.

But in 2008, Getty images was sold really cheap. It seemed that there were no demand for this static archives of copyrighted professional images. The news agencies preferred photos taken at the event with mobile phones and advertising agencies have moved from selling products with images to selling them with social communication and buzz marketing. So maybe intellectual property is too static, too much like physical products to really have a value in the 21st century. What instead is powerful is the micro control of attention. Controlling the realtime flows and having the power to build community and create meaning.

//

This exploration is what the first clinic was about. The ability of internet to create new dynamics of communities. The second clinic is about how this exploration of the material realities of the digital experience created a return to politics, but this time on our own terms – the net politics.

The net politics in Sweden grew out of the learning experience of the oppositions to the FRA law, a surveillance law which would allow a military body that previously have monitored russian radio traffic to monitor internet cables. At first, criticism of the law was framed in an idealistic way of finding a compromise between different interests, such as the national security vs. the right to privacy, personal integrity and the right not to be surveillance by the state. But as the debate moved on, this idealistic critique was transformed into a materialistic one that rather used the knowledge of networks than appealing to abstract rights. For example, the FRA claimed that they were only going to monitor traffic going in and out if the country and therefor not monitor the communication between Swedish citizens. But anyone with basic knowledge of the internet and packet-switching networks know that it is a transnational network without fixed paths. So a digital communication between two people located in Sweden often crosses national borders depending on where the networks is the fastest. Also because of “the cloud” a lot of people might have their emails stored on servers in the US.

This material netpolitics can be said to have two characteristics:

1) It is a politics based on risk and non-linear systems. Risk first of all in the sense that it has to deal with politics about things to come. Because it deal with socio-technological systems it has to intervene before they get plugged in. But it also deals wth risk in the sense that these systems might seem secure when presented as fool-proof systems, but technological systems can always be missused and databases always leak.

The non-linearity is important because taken one by one, these surveillence systems don’t seem to be that dangerous, but the analysis have to take into account the assemblage created by combining several of these systems and the non-linear effects this might have on control and surveillence.

2) The second characteristic is about the topoogy of netpolitics. It is very different from the traditional view of politics as “both sides having their say” and that truth ro politics would be somewhere in the middle. It is not a politics that identifies with an interest, not a politics of us-against-them, but rather us-against-ourselves.It is not a politics that fight with an enemy for the power over something already present (such as power over the parliament) but one that realize that what is at stake is if we manage to build the kind of societies and communities that are able to create the world that we desire.

//

So what kind of politics can be called netpolitics? One way of looking at it is to view it as politics that are about issues of the internet and is contained to these issues. This is a very reductionist way of looking at it. The opposite way of looking at it is politics that uses the internet as a tool and therefor can be extended to any issues. This would be to make it so broad that it becomes pointless. A third and better choice would be to view it as politics and practicies whose point of departure is the material experience of the internet. A politics that is affirming the open net and the communities it makes possible and tries to widen the circles of these communities.

Netpolitics creates itself by performing new kinds of communities. This is a long and hard process that have to be made step by step. This definition means that it will collide with videocrats such as Berlusconi or Ahmadinejad as well as the copyright industry and other interests that rather looks to limit the openness of the internet.

This material netpolitics in Sweden eventually started to get interested in the law. Not as a way of breaking with the interest for the material in favor of traditional politics, but because it found a way to apply the same material perspective to politics and the law which is usually viewed in an idealist way. This was done by a method learned by the french group “La Quadrature du Net” which started to treat the law as a code. A code full of bugs that you need to find and submit patches to that fixes these bugs. These bugs were formulations put into law texts through backdoors which would allow the copyright industry to interpret them in internet unfriendly ways. So instead of  opposing these huge laws of the EU, traditionally done by political activists after they have become implemented, they went into the political process in realtime at the level of sentences and words and viewed these as performative, not representational. La Quadrature was interested in information policy issues and they used the internet as a political tool to great success, but what really makes their method into net politics is that they used the experience of the internet to gain a new perspective on how to do politics.

//

After this introduction about net politics, the clinic turned into a conversation on a number of issues that I will present here as a set of questions and answers.

Isn’t net politics a generational issue? Yes, it is. And this is obvious if you look at statistics from the EU election where the pirate party got 7% in total, but over 25% with people under 30 years old. The reason we can’t only wait for this net friendly generation to gain power and fix everything is that these technological laws, such as the FRA law, are almost irreversible. Because they are about the material infrastructure, about plugging in the cables for this surveillance system, it is rather easy to create them by law, but much harder to reverse the process and remove the cable with law. Once they become material, politics can’t reach them as easily. This is not at least the case with laws on the internet that limits the potential political space that the internet creates. So what is at stake in net politics is the political process and the techno-social being itself. Therefor net politics is also ontopolitics.

Does this net political perspective only have relevance in Europe or does it also apply in the mexican situation? The first comment to this question was that in mexico there are neither laws nor politicians to influence. Internet is just not on the political map at all. What is the effects of this? The positive effect is that you won’t have any political energy spend on controlling the net, but the negative and overwhelming effect spells MONOPOLY. Carlos Slim can go amok and eat up most of the infrastructure and manipulate his networks in any way he pleases.

Will the internet be turned into a broadcast medium? Even in mexico this tendency is present with very asymmetrical connections and in europe this is present in proposals of what the “future internet” be about. A related comment was that facebook and other social networks are only used for everyday communication and not to talk about these issues. My response was that even this everyday communication establishes a habit of horizontal communication and challenges this idea of internet as a broadcast medium. Also these networks can be turned into tools for political communication, but this demand realtime events to trigger this. This happened for example when twitter or youtube was used during the turmoil after the iran election earlier this year. This is because these realtime political events are impacting everyday lives and are happening here and now, just like the casual information that otherwise populate these networks. However, for political communication on a more abstract and long-term level, other forums will work better. This dependence on events gives the net politics a kind of goldfish memory. The same goldfish memory is apparently present in mexican politics where events can become issues or scandals but life will soon be back in the material everyday.

What is the next big threat to the internet? AT&T. We have to watch for them. They are trying to take over the european information infrastructure. AT&T once tried to break into the mexican market but failed completely. They couldn’t fight the combination of state and slim monopoly. This might save Mexico! Mexico might have their sonderweg while the rest of the world is stuck in AT&T-net.

So how do we save the internet? This spawned a discussion on the difference between distributed and decentralized networks. Today, the internet is distributed, which means that is read out, but dependent on certain obligatory points of passage which, should they be destroyed or manipulated, would create island that wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other. A decentralized network wouldn’t be dependent on these points of passage. So even if the combination of regulation for net neutrality and a completive markets sustain the network for a while, in the long-term we also have to push the infrastructure of the internet more toward a decentralized network.

Is the internet a collective consciousness? Today, this is only an idea or a utopia that grows from the experience of the internet. Sometimes a good notion, sometimes a notion that creates smoke screens. To realize this idea, we need to change both the infrastructure and the code of the internet in the sense of not having one file on one computer belonging to one person, but decentralize the representations of the digital information and connect the surplus storeage and processing power of computers into one big network. So, in other words, to get our fluffy collective concoiusness, we first have to become hard core materialist and care about the physical location and movements and relations of every bit, storage space, cable and microprocessor.

So, the material is back. The idea during the first part of the net that the future consisted of a immaterial economy, even claims that IP is the oil of the 21st century, is fading when the material, through the current netpolitics together with the three big E:s, energy, ecology, economy, reminds us of itself again. That the cables would be less important than the information passing through them was a fiction created by the historical singularity that is the internet.

What is the future of file-sharing? Several tendencies push file-sharing from completely open system towards semi-private ones. The efforts of anti-pirates might be one reason, but more importantly is that the  value of contextless information is decreasing and that the discovering and distribution of copyrighted material gets closer to the way information is spread in social networks (both on- and offline). Here, the value of the information is in the performativity of the network as much as in the content of the file itself.

What do you think about Pirate Bay moving to the cyber bunker? This is a perfect symbol of the distributed network. We are dependent of one point of passage and therefor have to protect it at all cost. But even the bunker is dependent on the grid in the sense that a cable (actually two, one for internet and one for energy) must connect the bunker to the rest of the internet.

Often it is radio technology that saves internet in difficult situations. For example in a case such as when the government of Burma cut the cables to the rest of the world during turmoils it is satellite and other wireless technologies that are still able to function without having to rely on the Burma-grid.

Do you know of Luther Blissett? Yes, in the beginning we were inspired by Wu Ming and Luther Blissett, but we haven’t made use of similar tactics. Collective identities as this is a mass media phenomenon and only useful when you communicate through their channels, that is a channel of communication that you are not able to control. Mass media communication is based on the identity of the sender, on the source of the information, on the figure of the author. This configuration can be hacked by a collective identity.

The actual technology behind mass media is also based on the signals coming from one source, so this is reproduced in the format as well. On the internet however, information travels in packets and reaches you through the network, not directly from the source. Therefore, the format most typical of the infrastructure of the net is the meme, which is a piece of information separated from its source. Working with memes on the internet is thus much more powerful than working with identities in whatever format.

The closest we get to a collective identity on the net is anonymous, but unlike Luther Blissett, the style of anonymous, the “personality”, is in the memes, while the identity is an empty container.

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October 11th, 2009 at 12:00 am

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