Reading Response 11.30

I have to admit, I haven’t really kept up with what has been going on with Occupy after the Zucotti removal, besides what has happened at the Occupy NS locations and at UC Davis. The Shocking Truth article was very helpful in synthesizing the hierarchy of control as imposed by the puppet masters. Of course there must be a large (powerful) network, run by fear, that is calling the shots and acting with such brute force simultaneously across the country.

Pasha had posted this image on facebook, and it just speaks volumes about our country. The last time I saw an image like this were about the Syrian protests and brutality; the only Time cover that didn’t have this was the US one.

In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned that the Occupy movement reminded me of the National Mall in DC during the inauguration. The second article had mentioned that we should expect some big uprisings in the spring related directly to the upcoming election, which I’m personally very excited for. I hope that this movement evokes changes within our political system.

And I actually want to state my piece a little bit on what I observed from the New School occupation. Granted, I wasn’t  a part of it, so it’s not my place to critique the mission statement behind this group, but holy cow was this the first time I was embarrassed to be a supporter of this movement. Yes, I understand this is private property, and that private institutions are responsible for a lot of fucked up greed, but what was the point of this? It was a lot of damage. And who had to clean this up? Not the 1%, but janitors and security guards, and probably us and future students with however much our tuition increases because of this. Unless someone has another way to justify this, I am definitely not a fan.

It also opens up a new host of “Lord of the Flies”-esque (Or “The Others” from LOST, or what happened with Shane in last weeks The Walking Dead) questions with movements like this. How do you proceed when a sub-sect of the community decides to go rogue?

Reading Response 11.16

Recently, cell phone, Internet and even television have been using as a tool for the power of political issue. Therefore, some countries are not available to access to the Web to share news and information online because of increasing political tensions. For example, in the article “Iran Protests, Tech Tools at Work” in Iran, as the government keep blocking most of the website especially social networks, many protesters are trying to find the way to access the site and share information. I know that people have freedom of speech online or public space, but they need to be careful to talk and share about political issue in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and so on. The article “Afghanistan’s Amazing DIY Internet” talks about Afganistan’s DIY Internet Brings the Web to War-torn Towns. After I read this article, I was surprised that people who in Afghanistan built their own wireless networks out of found materials called FabFi. I thought because people who live in war torn countries are hard to find and get lots of information with Internet, they really need more fast speed Internet network. Imagine if you will being stuck in a country like Afghanistan where even the most basic amenities (water, food, shelter) are hard to come by. Would the Internet bring any sort of benefit at all? Absolutely. At least, that’s what the guys behind the FabFi project believe. The purpose of FabFi is not to just set it up and go, they’re determined to empower dissidents located in remote places to connect with the rest of the world. I think This MacGyver-like project, FabFi is a very creative system because it provides technical training and computer resources to local Afghanis — but more importantly, it is tasked with helping to build an open, extensible, wireless network in and around Jalalabad.

The Bible

Not sure if this is helpful, but in one of my classes, we got to see the special collection for Visionaire in the Gimbel Library, which is on the 2nd floor of 2w 13th st building. There was a special issue of these really amazing artistic reinterpretations of passages from The Bible so it made me think of Ricardo’s project. It might be helpful if you need other precedents or inspirations for your project, since we mentioned yesterday that other inspirations should be included on our site. In order to see the collection, you have to schedule a visit with the librarian, they are very careful of how the collection is handled. The collection for other issues of Visionaire is amazing, I recommend it to everyone.

The case for it:

Gabriella Coleman’s Talk

Gabriella Coleman is arguably one of the most enlightened in matters regarding cultural issues in the global society. Her recent speech on the cultural phenomenon of the group or movement called anonymous was an expository experience. This is a personal response on her speech in which, she exemplified the cultural aspect of anonymous.

The cultural phenomena defining anonymous is difficult if not impossible to disentangle. However, Coleman did a great job deconstructing the structure of this mysterious culture. Such a deconstruction would not have been possible without having to have an overview of the origin and development of the phenomenon.

According to Coleman, this culture began back in 2007 when a group of enthusiastic computer programmers and hackers began organized internet attacks on organizations or individuals who acted contrary to the societal expectations. I particularly noted with interest how anonymous graduated from Internet to street based protests. The culture developed from social to political activism and even went further to activism against individuals.

Pervasive anonymity is perhaps the most notable element of this cultural phenomenon. I concur with Coleman that, it is difficult to predict the future trends of anonymous since the culture propagates spontaneously by taking advantage of emerging technology. I however found it difficult to synthesize the ethical issues regarding this anonymous cultural phenomenon. This is because we need global whistleblowers that are always alert on objects of societal oppression. On the other hand, their actions may not be justified since there are diplomatic channels in which societal issues can be addressed.

It is difficult to discern the ideological consistency of their actions. How such a culture functions ethically and logically is perplexing. However, it is at least obvious from Coleman that anonymous would heavily retaliate to anyone threatening their identity.

I think such a cultural phenomenon represents modern age way of dealing with issues affecting the society. It is arguably a technologically based uprising culture.

Reading Response: Hardware in the Field / Nov.16

Technology has dramatically changed the way politics and leadership is done in various parts of the world. Whereas some countries are on the forefront promoting access of technology to enlighten its community, others are blocking all communication avenues to prevent rise of dissidents. Communication avenues such as Internet, television, and cell phone communication are increasingly becoming tools of power in which politicians spread their agenda or the community to oust bad leadership. Just recently, Facebook phenomenon was used to oust leaders in Islamic countries in North Africa. This is a personal response to three articles on the web discussing the issue of access to information and politics.

The article “Afghanistan’s Amazing DIY Internet” briefly discusses the way in which people in Afghanistan use crude tools to set up Internet connection in remote areas. I personally think that people around war torn countries are hungry and thirsty for information that they are willing to do anything possible to access information through Internet. The time has come this indicator when oppressing government regimes will face stiff resistance due to the increased access to information. This is exemplified by the fact that modern avenues of information are difficult if not impossible to intercept and suppress. America has been the globe’s brother’s keeper and thus always on the forefront in championing for peace in war torn countries.

From the article “U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour around Censors,” it is possible to argue that New York is the hub of global politics from which, policies and agendas are propagated to regions of interest. It thus does not come by surprise that the Obama administration is actually taking efforts of influencing leadership and political regime in other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. Since the September 11 bombing, American politics took a new direction. The “PATRIOTIC ACT” changed the degree in which the federal government deals with information. There is much controversy looming over the issue of wiretapping and camera surveillance. Similarly, one might pose a question as to what is the motive behind funding and supporting dissidents in other countries.

The importance attached to by the federal government to such support is arguably great. This is because the New York Times article claims that some of the projects use ultramodern technology. It can only be hoped that such moves are aimed and meant to promote freedom of speech, which is a prerequisite for democracy. This will in turn promote peace in these troubled countries. The one laptop per child initiative in Afghanistan is certainly one of the best moves towards enlightening the society. If the initiative bears fruits, then I would expect the country to stand back on its foot and regain its former glory. The people of Afghanistan will be able to express themselves just as Americans do in their country.

It can only be hoped that all the moves employed to provide flow of information devoid of oppressive government interference work better still, we hope that these oppressive regimes come to pass. This way, countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria among others will rise to the occasion and be part of the developed democracies.



Gabriella Coleman: Anonymous

At first, it sounded implausible that something like 4chan, which was described by The Guardian as “lunatic, juvenile… brilliant, ridiculous and alarming,” could eventually serve as the platform to something as the Anonymous. But, hearing Gabriella Coleman’s words, the leap was not that big of a stretch. It is nothing less than remarkable how a group of people can start creating things, from a lolcat or a rickroll to civil activism. That’s surely a way to invalidate the old thought that money is the biggest if not the only motivator.

Anonymous Flag
Anonymous Flag

I began to read a bit about Anonymous and I found their flag. It is a statement of power, big (global) goals, and anonymity. And it could only come from the neighborhood where “pedobears” and “chocolate rain” became famous.

I am especially interested in “Project Chanology” because it deals with religious practices that are detrimental to civil progress. I also believe that Knowledge is free (or at least, should be) and my personal project in the class also addresses misinformation practices. The tone, strategies, and tactics from Anonymous and Project Chanology are radically different from mine but I feel there’s a common dissatisfaction.

Gabriella Coleman

The various topics Gabriella Coleman covered in terms of anonymous were really interesting. I know I had to Google 4chan and the incident with HBGary Federal. I have never posted or have been on 4chan before and it really does seem like an interesting site. The concept of how it starts off of one image and then the post taking life is a nice way to start a discussion. The fact that they do not have an archive seems unfathomable. It makes me curious as to where these posts go after they disappear. I doubt that they can truly disappear in its entirety.

The incident that anonymous created with HBGary Federal is insane. How is it that I have never heard this story? Being able to hack into what was once deemed a secure network to leak all this information is so dangerous given the repercussions of the incident. I suppose the fact that it is done anonymously only adds to the fire and intrigue of all these careless actions. The fact that that anonymous were referred to as the internet hate machine and they call themselves those that laugh at the face of tragedy amongst others is somewhat disheartening. Is it only making more trouble every time we give anonymous more power and the ability to grow and spread?

I am not a fan of trolling, which seems to happen a lot and really cannot be controlled. Do people have nothing better to do with their time then to troll people and their sites and posts?  I realize that at times the trolling is done for the “lulz” such as with the Tom Cruise Scientology video, but can also result in the bad like when Coleman was defining the term as being coy and mischievous.  It is never a fun thing when you are on the receiving end of all this negativity as a result of the trolling even if it seems fun to be the one trolling.

11/16 Reading Responses

Afghanistan’s Amazing DIY Internet

FabFi seems like such an innovative project. Wanting to create Internet networks for eastern Afghanistan using trash seems unfathomable.  To think that something that we disregard can turn into something useful is really going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to resourcefulness. Although it is low-tech and simple, the fact that it works is already a great achievement. I wish I could see their scalable model in action. I love that their networks operate independently of government control and can be deployed by anyone anywhere. It seems like such a difficult thing to do something of this scale without the government intruding. This project can really change lives and revolutionize the way we operate the Internet.

US Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

What the Obama administration is doing by leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems seems like something out of a spy movie.  At first I thought that this was such a waste of money just to plant all these secret devices in various locations. But if it is to help with communication, free of government control then it really is not such a bad thing.  If the plan is truly to help them with creating independent networks then I am all for it, but if it is another means to keep tabs on other countries then I am not so sure of such actions.  It could turn sour in the sense that this could turn into some underhanded method of intruding on another country’s privacy as means of spying on them. If it results in such, then it is just another thing fueling the fire on our war on terrorism and another reason for retaliation.

Iran Protests, Tech Tools at Work

Iran restricting the movements of foreign journalists is understandable, but a difficult thing to do considering the numerous outlets for drawing publicity. If any Iranian citizen carrying a cell phone or camera can become an instant journalist, then how is Iran suppose to control foreign media? There is twitter, facebook, DDOS, proxies, youtube, flickr, and so many more outlets. How can anyone control all of them let alone keep track of them all? It can be blocked or taken down from one place and put up in another and spread just as quickly. It is like a virus that spreads from carrier to carrier. I know that I am always weary to post something anywhere because once it is out there in cyberspace, then there is really no way to take it back. I know of celebrities or even government officials that have posted things such as pictures or just a word that is now coming back to haunt them.  There is no reverse button that I am sure each of us would like to press at least once. The worst thing is even when you try to delete something, realizing your careless actions, it was already too late by the time you pressed enter and now at least one other person or entity has a copy of it, free to pass it on to the interconnecting world.