Archive for February 7th, 2008
I haven’t been taking second life too seriously so far. But maybe its time to reconsider. Nick Carr tells us that the FBI is concerened about cyber-terrorists in SL
A recent paper by the government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity group foresees virtual worlds becoming the perfect setting for espionage planning, money laundering, and other clandestine activities. Writes the paper’s author: “What started out as a benign environment where people would congregate to share information or explore fantasy worlds is now offering the opportunity for religious/political extremists to recruit, rehearse, transfer money, and ultimately engage in information warfare or worse with impunity.”
Rest assured, they’re already training a new species of cyber-Scullys. Or Smiths.
As Nick says, “welcome to the internet, dude”.
So here’s the failsafe test for technology’s maturity:
- When you hear the shout “child porn”, you can mark the technology as worth looking into.
- When you hear the shout “terrorism”, you know it has some value as a medium of expression.
All hail for the iPhone for turning the mobile market on its head. From now on, the user is king. Gone are the days when carriers defined the market. Now its we, the people, and what we want.
Here’s to Bruce Schneier for telling it like it is:
Buying an iPhone isn’t the same as buying a car or a toaster. Your iPhone comes with a complicated list of rules about what you can and can’t do with it. You can’t install unapproved third-party applications on it. You can’t unlock it and use it with the cellphone carrier of your choice. And Apple is serious about these rules: A software update released in September 2007 erased unauthorized software and — in some cases — rendered unlocked phones unusable.
That’s one of the most beautiful examples of digital feudalism I’ve seen in a long time.
In an open market, i.e. a true capitalist system, you buy it – you own it. Own as in its yours to do with as you please. In a feudal system, you don’t own stuff, you get it on loan from the man. You pay for as long as you use it, and you get punished if you use it other than the way the man tells you.
The difference between empowerment and enslavement is in the ownership of mean of production. In an agrarian society, that’s hoes and fork-picks. In a knowledge society, that’s laptops and mobile phones.
The beauty of the Apply story is that they manage to maintain an image of robin hood, when they’re just as bad a sheriff as the guy next door – only more efficient. And in the meanwhile, Microsoft does the dirty job of painting open-source as a bunch of commies. If you think of it, the only honest capitalist model of software is open source. Just like your garden hoe: no-one can tell you what to dig with it or where.