Net Politic, more...

Net.Politic - the up-side

The issue of encryption is a good example of how net.politic can focus quickly on one issue. A contingent group assembled around one specific non- partisan cause - the desire to show the US government that their bit-depth   for a proposed encryption standard was too low. The organisational group distributed the code around many home PC's, and users set their computers to crack in their down-time. The code was broken in a matter of weeks.

Bit Depth: Any information can be represented in bits. Binary code is `2 bit' in that only 2 pieces of information are needed to represent the information - 0 or 1:


4 bits can represent 16 pieces of information (hexadecimal) and so on:



At time of writing 128 bit encryption is farily safe, but the `Clipper' standard is considerably less than this.

This shows that net.activism can be effective in highlighting matters of concern for users. The rapid dissemination the internet allows can work fast enough to be useful, given that standard `feedback' loops are often set purposefully short by authorities wanting to slip their program through with the minimum of fuss. In such cases, the `democratic' process is far too slow to be creditable; hard causes are cranked through and made into legislation in the beginning and middle of any authorities term, the soft causes are left to voting time, by which time changes have been set in course which are then seen as `inevitable' by the public.
Net.Politic - the down-side.

Of course the Net, like any interest group, has it's price of admission, it's demographic. An estimated 70% of net users are male, most users are middle class, all must have enough spare time to use it. Along with this demographic comes the inevitable tide of commercialism, with large companies already dominating the play in terms of content, use and creation.  In their eyes the Net is just another media to dominate, and, sadly, they will try their best to do it.

It must be remembered that the railroad was going to be a technology that did wonders for `the cause', only to become another part of the capitalist infrastructure.
Colonisation of the Net

The original `primitive tribes' of the net will become ghettos of local colour. Computer and Media companies alike will create a bland new world of the net, and the original cyber-primitives - the hackers, phreakers, geek girls, watchdogs, Mudders and Usegroups - will be relegated to `also-ran' status in the battle for bandwidth, places where we might stray in a brave moment after we've finished reading `The Whatever Herald' on-line. These places will seem as threatening and strange as dangerous parts of town after dark. We will pack our Virus Scanners, read a guide on the local-lingo, and get ready to dodge a flame. We will proudly name-drop in conversations to our friends, in an effort to get `net- cred', without giving up our day-job freelancing as a net-worker, driving our grader over the rubble in an effort to make the real-estate pay.

Suspension: Networks, Identity, Creativity...

The Line and the Fold - the aesthetics of being...