Orwell echoes RE Internet

by phil on Monday Feb 9, 2004 9:02 AM

The weapons of the Internet are still largely in the hands of the individual: it's easy to create viruses, disruptive open-source software, and firewall-circumvention proxies. As long as expertise is concentrated in individual, the Internet will still bask in its golden age.

I got this idea reading a post by Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing that brings up how Orkut's Terms of Service is draconian. Xeni also mentions that after BoingBoing created a similar uproar about Microsoft Passport's TOS, the TOS was revised five days later.

I'm impressed by the power that individuals seem to be wielding on the Internet. RIAA not-withstanding, the Internet has been putting up some good fights: getting Internic to take down it's ghost-domain service, putting up counter-counter-piracy by creating and using new tools like BitTorrent, and creating movements like the Creative Commons license.

This reminds me of George Orwell's comment about weapons and their relationship to history. His main point is that periods are defined by which sphere holds what weapons. The years of the musket ended peasant-slavery in France. The years of bombs led to authoritarian states.

Likewise, the individual programmer or system administrator is still God on the Intenet. Appreciate this Golden Age while it lasts.

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