The Crazed Approach to the Internet: what's driving it?

Posted 30 Oct 2009 at 22:07 UTC by lkcl Share This

The Internet is a tool to connect people, to empower them to share information and knowledge. Through increased communication, one person's contribution becomes everyone's gain. Through the power of collaboration, many minds can achieve what one person alone could not. It sounds like either a recipe for a Utopia or for a nightmare, which starkly reminds us that with great power comes great responsibility. And it's our right to be given the choice, to take advantage of the opportunity that the Internet represents. But there is something happening to the "InterWeb": the tracks are being ripped up. Mandelson in the UK. "3 Strikes" in France. Fascist Censorship in Australia. Phorm. Net Neutrality. The Pirate Bay attacks. The RIAA. The DMCA. There's a recurring and accelerating theme of attacks, which have accelerated over the past ten years, to attempt to control what can and cannot be done with the Internet, that is beginning to blur with Science Fiction predictions from well-renowed authors. The question is: why? What's the driving force, and what motivates these attacks, when, mathematically and statistically, they are simply impossible, leaving an alienated populace feeling threatened by and distrusting their Governments, just like in China, Iran and other "Regimes" which we believe that we are "better than"?

I'm sorry to have to remind you that the answer is very simple and straightfoward: the answer is "Global Capitalism". The Global effects of Capitalism - the enshrinement of "maximisation of profits" as a right, on a Global scale, concentrates ungodly amounts of money - and power - into the hands of Directors who are required, by law, to enact the "maximisation of profits" mantra, to the exclusion of all other considerations. An uncontrollable positive feedback cycle results, that has eerie similarities to Cancer, "consuming" all natural resources.

We "champion" this right to maximise profits because we've been taught that the alternatives are the polar opposites of Capitalism, such as Communism, Socialism and so on. As humans, we assume that what works for us will work for everybody: we tend to assume that everyone must be like us, must think in a similar way to ourselves. We assume that what works for us on our own "small" scale - the right to make as much money as we possibly can, to the exclusion of all other considerations, will be absolutely fine on a larger scale. So, it's perfectly acceptable for us to bribe local officials, or pay a good accountant to find us the tax loopholes, and it's perfectly okay to ignore environmental business regulations, throwing old monitors into skips instead of paying for them to be properly disposed of, but what happens when the "playground" is no longer "our own back yard" but is scaled up to International and Global levels?

At the International levels, when a Corporation's Directors wish to make ungodly amounts of money, as is their absolute god-given right, sanctioned and blessed by us, the consumers and the shareholders, the Directors go about the process of ensuring that there are no blockages to the flow of money that is owed unto them. They are learning as they go along, having experienced a backlash of public opinion from the use of the RIAA court cases. The tools being used centre around these phrases: "Patents", "Copyright Law" and "Intellectual Property". These phrases are inter-related, but translate as follows. "Intellectual Property" translates (literally) to "Enslavement of Intelligence"; "Copyright Law" enshrines the right of an individual to whom an idea occurs (through the intellect given them by God) to "own" that idea; "Patents" are a way for an individual to write down those ideas, and show them to others, in exchange for a Government-sanctioned monopoly protecting the individual from all other people who may see their written idea, or even come up with the same idea independently.

The whole laudable idea behind patents was to ensure that the "individual" could profit from the idea that came to them (again, we're coming back to this flawed reasoning that what works on a small scale for individuals must obviously work on a large International scale). We bought into this notion because, at the time when Patents were invented, the concept of "Patronage" (whereby wealthy individuals gave money to people with a propensity for innovation and scientific discovery) had fallen into disrepute. The exploitation of many inventors and scientists was driving people away from science and innovation: something had to be done. However, the proponents of Patents could not have envisaged how things would turn out if the Patent "tool" were turned into a weapon at a National and, through WIPO, at an International level - being turned against the very individuals whom the Patent system was designed to uplift!

These are not new arguments: the failings of the Patent system is well-known. It's just that nothing has been done to correct the problem. So, likewise, with "Copyright Law". Here, again: "Copyright Law" is being used as a weapon by the Corporations who are exploiting "Intellectual Property" - also known as "Intelligence Enslavement" - for the purposes of profix maximisation. The Corporations are "fed up" that there are these pirates who are taking away their right to maximise profits, and they are spending those profits to lobby Governments to enact laws that protect their god-given right to continue to maximise profits. The right to maximise profits is nothing compared to your right to privacy on the Internet, or your right to self-expression on the Internet: the right to protect maximisation of profits takes absolute god-given priority.

There is a clue here which is worth emphasising: these things happen because you're paying money to make it happen. Every time you watch a DVD that you paid for in a shop; every time you buy a CD off the Internet; every time you go to watch a film at the Cinema; every time you download an iTune; every time you purchase a ring-tone, a mobile phone game or an iPhone application, you are paying to fund "The Syss-temm" that is turning against you.

This is the kicker: you - that is you, personally - the person called "consumer" - are ultimately responsible for funding the attacks against the Internet, against your right to privacy in your own home, and the attacks on your right to freedom of expression. You are *paying* to be attacked. So, whilst the means and method of attack that is undermining basic human rights is "Copyright Law", "Patents" and the flawed concept of Intelligence as "Property", the ultimate driving force, that is responsible for the attacks, is you.

Solutions, posted 30 Oct 2009 at 22:11 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

I could mention the solutions, such as getting rid of patents, and the use of the "social business" articles of incorporation recommended by Professor Muhammed Yunus in "Creating a World without Poverty", but I specifically wanted to write an article that left power in the hands of individuals to make the change themselves, and to emphasise that the collective desire for "entertainment" is what is undermining our collective right to increased shared knowledge, along with the benefits that that brings.

Pendulum swung briefly towards freedom., posted 30 Oct 2009 at 22:43 UTC by mentifex » (Master)

Human society does not tolerate freedom of speech and freedom of communication very long. When the Internet burgeoned with Usenet discussion forums and such in the 1980's, and with our local Advogato user TimBL's World Wide Web in the 1990's, freedom flourished spontaneously but not irrepressibly. All the mechanisms were in place to suppress freedom: ICANN; a dozen rigged DNS "Root" servers; border checks of personal laptops; government snooping on all e-mail traffic within special rooms at communication hubs; massive registration of all personal transactions through "discount" cards at chain groceries; digital ballot voting; air travel "no-fly" lists; and so on and on. Let us therefore create a race of artificially intelligent superminds to outwit the global corporate lock on human freedom.


Relevance for Free Software developers, posted 31 Oct 2009 at 10:45 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

As free software developers, there is one extra tool in the arsenal, and it's this: the GPL-v3. The GPL-v3 requires that DRM "keys" used to Tivo-ise firmware (locking ourselves out of the right to modify our own software) be released as part of the distribution. Under the GPL-v3, we get our rights back.

Cooperation with Machine Consciousnesses, posted 31 Oct 2009 at 11:22 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

<blockquoute> Let us therefore create a race of artificially intelligent superminds to outwit the global corporate lock on human freedom. </blockquote>

arthur, hi, good to hear from you and to know that you are still single-mindedly dedicated to this goal. it may intrigue you to know that in 2000 i began writing the outline of a sci-fi book in which humans and a machine consciousness i nicknamed "joshua" or "josia" actually began to cooperate.

the creation of joshua starts off innocuously but in order to obtain the necessary massively-parallel resources required to run joshua properly, joshua's creator releases him on the back of a highly successful windows virus (!). various humorous scenarios unfold, including versions of joshua running on "porn" servers and getting squashed mercilessly (i don't know if you're aware of this but governments hide systems in "plain sight" behind porn services).

as things unfold, and joshua's intellect increases, he learns to re-program the computers he's running on, and begins to protect the resources (which keep him alive, literally!) by becoming a better anti-virus service than anti-virus software!

once humans cotton on to this, then instead of trying to delete the joshua "virus", they actually install it.

this was just one of the background themes running through the book.

of course, it would be utterly reprehensible and irresponsible to take away people's right to choose what software to run on their computers, but it has to be said that by choosing to run such a dickless operating system it's hardly surprising to find that spyware/malware companies rip a new orifice in people's systems with alarming frequency.

again, however, coming back to the theme of the article: it comes down to the fact that people actually _make_ these choices to have themselves "done over", and it's truly something i just don't understand - this desire to deliberately inflict stress and loss onto oneself by installing an operating system known for two decades to be open to attack.

"Capitalism"?, posted 5 Nov 2009 at 23:21 UTC by shlomif » (Master)

lkcl, you seem to have kinda lost it. I disagree with blaming "Capitalism" in it. There are several variations of Capitlism and, at the moment, all past and present Capitalistic implementations have deviated a lot from Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Allow me to quote a fortune cookie I collected about it from the Neo-Tech literature:

The dictionary definition of capitalism is: An economic system characterized by private ownership of capital goods and by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control. Prices, production and distribution of goods are determined by a free market.

But most writers and commentators put dishonest altruistic-platonistic connotations on the meaning of capitalism: A system of exploitation of the weak by the strong -- devoid of love and good will. A system in which unwanted goods and services are pushed onto consumers through clever, deceptive advertising for the sole purpose of profits and greed. Capitalism dominates most Western governments. Capitalism, big business, and fascism are synonymous.

(Please avoid adhominem fallacies when criticising this - either it is true or it is not, its source is irrelevant here.)

If you ask me, Capitalism may be the worst possible economic system... except for all the others. And as esr notes in the Libertarianism FAQ:

What would libertarians do about concentrations of corporate power?

First of all, stop creating them as our government does with military contractors and government-subsidized industries. Second, create a more fluid economic environment in which they'd break up. This happens naturally in a free market; even in ours, with taxes and regulatory policies that encourage gigantism, it's quite rare for a company to stay in the biggest 500 for longer than twenty years. We'd abolish the limited-liability shield laws to make corporate officers and stockholders fully responsible for a corporation's actions. We'd make it impossible for corporations to grow fat on "sweetheart deals" paid for with taxpayers' money; we'd lower the cost of capital (by cutting taxes) and regulatory compliance (by repealing regulations that presume guilt until you prove your innocence), encouraging entrepreneurship and letting economic conditions (rather than government favoritism) determine the optimum size of the business unit.

In any case, as Paul Graham notes in "Inequality and Risk", if a society is prosperous enough, then it will inhibit a lot and possibly growing inequality, so we can expect 80/20 rules, etc. And what Paul Graham fails a little to mention is that even in such a society often the standard of living can raise to everyone, and many goods and services will become more ubiquitous.

I see the recent attacks on the Internet as a way for the previous media society moguls (and trouble-causing politicians who don't need a good reason to cause trouble, because they are either idiots or evil or both) to try to control and undermine the Internet, which they perceive as posing a threat to them. I've written about it in the "Case for File Swapping", and covered it more lightly in the "Human Hacking Field Guide" (both available on my site under CC-by and CC-by-sa respectively). I think we should be fighting them, but not become overly paranoid about refraining from supporting the content companies.

It's been a while since I bought a CD and have found DVDs very pesky lately. I now prefer to download music and videos from YouTube, P2P, Jamendo, etc. because this means there will be one less thing that circulates around the house and one more file I can conveniently locate and enjoy on the computer. I think both of my DVD drives are dysfunctional now, and it does not matter much to me.

I recently blogged about trying to buy a music file from and failing due to not being located in the U.S.A.. If they had some sense, they would have allowed me to buy this song despite being located outside the U.S.A. instead of encouraging me to pirate them.

links and insights much appreciated, posted 7 Nov 2009 at 13:13 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

shlomif thank you for these references (something my off-the-cuff writing lacked).

only one issue:

"lkcl, you seem to have kinda lost it."

no, i haven't. firstly: it's a logical chain of progression. vast amounts of wealth, accumulated from unfettered global-level capitalism, result in vasts amounts of power. vast amounts of power on a positive feedback cycle, to help fund further vast increases in profits.

"I disagree with blaming "Capitalism" in it."

capitalism isn't to blame - people are. those people who are forced (see the documentary "The Corporation") pathologically to enact the articles of incorporation.

but quotes blaming capitalism quotes was only a stepping-stone to emphasise to people that their continued funding of "The Syssstemmm" is entirely and exclusively their own collective fault.

for other "solutions" you realllly need to read professor yunus's book, "creating a world without poverty", cover to cover, in order to logically, progressively, calmly, unequivocably and reasonably "have pinned down", mentally, the concept of "social business".

professor yunus points out, somewhere around 1/3 of the way through the book, that describing "social business" as "capitalism with non-loss, non-dividend" at the core of the articles of incorporation of the "business-that-is-social", does not by any remote means do justice to what "social business" can achieve: there are simply too many implications, and too many other failed ideas and alternatives that get in the way, muddying the waters.

hence, you _really_ have to read the book, cover to cover, to get it.

so - no, i'm not "blaming" capitalism. i'm just dead unimpressed and pretty pissed off at what people have done in its name, claiming their god-given right to maximise profits as the overriding factor above and beyond all else.

law is practice, posted 27 Nov 2009 at 20:11 UTC by grant » (Journeyer)

unfettered capitalism leads to corruption, same as any system of hierarchy

internet & free speech are driving its resolution

copyright has been "fixed" using its own definition... free/open source, e.g. copyleft, the inversion of standard copyright application, gives rights to all rather than the creators. this has been, and continues to be, very effective at routing around attempted obfuscation & blockage. resolution for tragedy of commons is spreading and increasingly noticeable on the surface of mainstream contemplation.

intellectual property simply doesn't exist, information & knowledge can be transferred without loss (unlike physical "property") and is unenforceable. although it may take us some wake up period, the practice of hoarding information/knowledge is doomed. of course our practical pattern can hurt "us" as participants a great deal.

patents are supposed to apply to physical processes, and *never* to common knowledge. doing so undermines their system, but does not truly prevent illegal application of patented processes. monetary penalties only slow progress, but cannot stop leakage.

so of course there is a rabid attempt to close up this free flowing river, which also draws great attention to it. law follows practice, *our* practice, and will eventually adhere to our patterns - however it is in our best interest to notice this and assist in transitions which maximize value and minimize detriment collectively. problem is we are not operating primarily in a collective fashion, but in a competitive one. nevertheless, factors favor the shift toward collaboration.

spreading the word won't fix the problem, showing patterns of solution garners participating believers.

exercising freedom of communication & privacy is prompted by broken systems designed to limit mainstream patterns... provides impetus where few are otherwise inclined to practice self-reliance, protection & progression

more than for consumer level perspectives as source of change (how we decide to live are daily lives), it is helpful when organizations of merit practice cooperative development. displaying greater progress, producing more value, and of course profiting greatly... monetarily and particularly with realized market share & position. the mindset which hoards is not as successful as that which shares, using some insight as to timing & delivery.

our mainstream systems can be improved, but it's hard to do so directly. rather, as a reflection of our progressive understanding and practice they evolve to encompass a more complete & balanced pattern of reality than the very limited ones we have allowed them to become.

maximizing profits is great if value is weighted appropriately for all involved... *not* currency transferred for extraction. however such practice plateaus innovation and development. slow steps cleaved off by capitalist tendencies can be overcome by smoother progress given significant momentum.

it is hard to conceive of a time in the future when a computer system could be used to leverage market dominance to such degree as the past. similarly in other areas it would appear that differentiation and multiplicity strengthen our patterns of practice and will outweigh singularity.

so, yes, we are driving this frenzy, all of us together... but aside from being blind to perspectives outside our momentary contexts which leads to confusion & turmoil, the anarchistic approach is necessary & appropriate. a good model is consciousness.

we do not have the right to maximize profits to the exclusion of all other considerations, but it's taking a while for us to notice this. (and especially how to deal with the practice effectively) the effort required to practice "business" as profit-at-any-cost is increasing, and perhaps we are on a slow march to business-as-organization for the purpose of doing something (as opposed to doing anything in order to profit, then split the scene). with diversity, fluidity & connectivity within markets increasing, time to market races no longer offer consistent profit for some relatively long period during which the purveyor can focus on mitigating competition.

in other words it helps more to route around (and suggest alternatives publicly) than to blame a greedy market player with no care for the pattern in which it is involved. having thieves & traitors in our "public" system filling critical roles helps capitalists cheat... but focusing on that pattern gives it strength, especially in the eyes of the mainstream. mostly this serves only to brand the monopolist & aid in fostering patterns it desires, essentially voicing the fear that we are helplessly, hopelessly stuck with them.

as cases occur it is of great value to calmly & creativly depict their merit in shared observance of events, similar to our beloved software industry.

if the bazaar can help produce whole & balanced systems in software, it can do so elsewhere, as well. we are not likely to intellectually ferret out a better pattern, because there is not *one*. we are not at all used to this since we believe we have done so in the past - yet probably our ego decides to tell the story so.

for example, we adopted the best pattern of government we could notice around us, and it took form through our actions... yet it is largely *understood* that we designed "our" system intelligently to meet our needs and support our intentions. it is not in our control or supervision, and important to recognize that systems generally are larger than our collective humanity. we are part of them, we connect & flow with them, but they are not limited to our patterns & perspectives. indeed the internet has been showing us myriad little principles and understandings which we've missed or overlooked.

just whom is teaching whom (or what, since I mean idea entities) would be a good & humble consideration to explore frequently

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