Digital utopia digital dystopia (DRAFT)
The 20th century view of privacy is no longer valid for the 21st century world. The digital transition has ushered in a world of complete surveillance – the questions now are more about who watches who – who is empowered to watch you, not 'should you be watched'.
Let's briefly look at where we are at. Who are we hiding from?
Do you carry a mobile phone?
- Your service provider will have a record of your movements to within 500m or better every minute or so that your phone is on.
- All the texts and phone conversations can easily be recorded by a 3rd party.
- If you have a smart phone it will be broadcasting a unique wifi and blue-tooth signal to all receivers as you carry it around.
- If you “lose” your phone, it will give details of all calls in and out, all texts, all web pages visited by web history and cache. It will give access to all your social networks, both open and secure, by apps and via the 'save password' option in the web phone browser. Thus someone has access to all your friends' social networks as well as your own, all the documents saved and, of course, your contacts book.
Do you surf the web?
- Every website you visit will have via your IP address a record of your location within a few km's.
- They can uniquely identify you through the browser configuration collected every time you visit a site.
- If you use a social network, then your life is an open book for both the corporations and any police government agency they provide the data too. They will know you and your social circles better than you do.
Do you go out in public in a city or town?
- Your image will be recorded on CCTV meany time's on each trip
- Do you use public buildings? All on CCTV
- They can use face recognition to identify you and track you
- Number plate recognition will track your car
- Everyone has a camera in their pockets – you are in the background of some of these millions of shots and many of them are on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you use a store card, credit or debit card?
- Every transaction creates data that tracks your movements and habits.
Do you go to political meeting or demonstrations?
- The police Fit team have many images of you from unflattering angles
- The police spy in your group has video/stills and audio from your meetings
- As does the corporate spy: any group that is worth anything will have one or more of them.
Do you use encrypted communication and secure activist websites?
- The keylogger has already captured your passwords for your encrypted/secure e-mail communication so that it is open to those you don’t want to read it.
- The nice site admin who helpfully builds all your secure activist websites is employed by MI5 or Special Branch, just like the helpful man with a van who drives you to the demonstrations.
- And if you think you can hide by obscuring your online life, the pattern matching algorithms will connect the dots – to reveal who you talk to, who they talk to and what you/they do.
For a comedy look at all this, the Onion is a good sources of news: http://www.theonion.com/articles/google-responds-to-privacy-concerns-with-unsettlin,16891/
As you can see all the “bad people” already watch your every move. When you try to hide in the modern world you are hiding from your friends, not your enemy. There are some cases where you can have a have a “semblance of privacy” - such as a teacher hiding their Facebook updates from the children they teach. Such limited privacy is mediated by the whim of the corporate owners – and in Facebook's and Google's case this is constantly changing.
I think it is too early to have a solution to this privacy debate, but it is high time to bring it into the wider public view. We hope this post is a vaccine that will make you a little “ill” so you can have the antibodies to fight off the worse social disease that is growing all around you.
How do we organise from 19/09/2009
This was copied over from the visionontv process page:
This is the process of the visionOntv affinity group so far (an affinity group is a trust network)
At the core of any affinity group is a core/periphery relationship and a usheraly unspoken way of moving between them.
At base, the project is DIY for core crew:
* For simple changes and improvements, just do it. If you think people should know, e-mail them.
* For major changes (e.g. changing key text on the front-page), run it past people first, including those who may disagree.
* There should generally be time to put up everything you can as a draft to the wiki page so others can have input. For really big changes, talk to everyone, and call a meeting if people feel it is needed.
* If someone keeps fucking up and ignoring the process call a meeting.
* When the project has grown start a weekly online meeting for people to update everyone on what they have been up to. And as a way into the affinity group.
Do everything you can in public (ONLY stuff that needs to be is ADMIN only)
If the trust network breaks down, and they do sometimes, then people should do different projects. And by doing well in their project re-build the trust based on common understandings. Trust is built by doing core things that need to be done and lost by talking about doing things or just taking up time and space with no outcome. If anyone is terminally annoying then in the end they will go away - it's best not to feed the trolls.
An idea for internet TV from 2001
This is a old draft from the early ideas stage of visionontv
Imagine a TV channel where anyone can put anything in and take anything out, which streemed personalised channel just for you. To achieve this we can use the internet to make jump from current TV to future TV by providing the simulation of a traditional streaming channel personalised to the viewer, while at the same time opening up the interactive possibilities intrinsic to the mediam (and the age).
A global TV channel, starting small with the current technology and skills, in stages moving into an open universal global media outlet. The content can be freely added by anyone, from more conventional channels or archives to new community or low-budget specials. Content can consist of local issues on council flower beds to the latest Hollywood blockbusters. The e-comers model will mean that all content whoched will reseve a revenuw.
Undercurrents in the Mainstream
The Trojan Horse Application
A Universal TV Channel
A proposal for a world-wide workers co-operative approach to New Media
By Hamish Campbell
We are moving into a cybernetic age, we rely more and more on computers in our everyday life, the mainstream of this is a dulling social control by faceless corporations. However, many people are attempting to use technology as an extension, a facilitating of human potential. Imagine a TV channel where anyone can put anything in and take anything out. Imagine a personalised channel just for you. To achieve this we can use the internet to make jump from current TV to future TV by providing the simulation of a traditional streaming channel, personalised to the viewer, while opening up the interactive possibilities intrinsic to the internet. That is carry a profile of people's interests and work at stretching that profile, just challenging them enough - to widen their tastes, to give them the opportunity to follow different streams.
The project is similar to the interactive book in Neil Stevenson's novel "The diamond age", "A young lady's primer". Which by interactive story telling instills confidence in the readers own wearth and influence. In this, it has an ideological path - the pursuit of freedom and justice. Our art and craft as a TV channel is to make that path visible and accessible to a wider range of people. Firstly to inform, secondly to spark off the interest necessary to leave the bland confurt of the mainstream, to follow more humane secondary streams.
The project sets out to make real the liberal ideology that our societies applaud. It is an attempt at "concrete-utopia", the transmission of the best within our society as it stands, rather than the more normal, problematic, radical approach of overthrowing the status quo to create the new.
Thus the channel inbody’s the mainstreem liberal ideals of:
Equality of opportunity
A mixed economy
The green, world approach and local approach.
How this will work with broadband Internet TV
In the mainstream the mantra of who, what, where is not new, though with interactive consumption it is taking on a new importance. Profiling is big on the NET, everyone is after personal information to "personalise" the alienation of blind consumption. Looking into this can of rotting worms can we find anything worth composting to enrich our garden?
Proposal for a self-directed TV channel.
A global TV channel, starting small with the current technology and skills, in stages moving into an open universal global media outlet. The experience for individuals is that each has a channel of there owen, and you can sample others' channels by amalgamating them with your own - you meet someone, and like their outlook... merge their profile into yours. You like a pop band, merge their channel to yours. This will create overlapping virtual community channels.
In its interactive shape the channel can be made up of tasters, with a list of viewing options, or can be set to play a more traditional no-interactive schedule. Instead of reaching for the TV guide, just look at the options available on your own channel - or any other global mainstream or counterculture channel.
You choose what to whach as any interaction will bring up a new list of content - much like a real-time review engine. The system then "creates" a channel for you [these will be made up of basic templates*]
* The templates will be baced on traditional TV scheduling the differences will lie in the content. An example would be the BBC 1 schedule. News and life styeal for breakfast, daytime soups, B films, early evening???? Local and global, News then mainstream drama and documentaries, music and such. The programs would be a mixture of live streams (news and sport), new productions and seareals mixed with archives. All profiled the majority to your inclananation, with links and a minority of conflicting views. This will be mixed in with a "random" selection of the "best" that others profiles are watching and some deserving editorial "gems".
Your profile will be adjusted in real-time by your choices of program subjects, by your choices of what is in your profile and, finally, you can go into and directly edit your profile.
The content will be freely added by anyone, from more conventional channels or archives to new community or low-budget specials. Content can consist of local issues on council flower beds to the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
The individual or corporation who adds content, fills in a basic profile for the program. When submitted, this is first sent to "reviewers", that is people who have expressed an interest in reviewing content. They then each add to the program's profile and when there has been a large enough consensus the program is dynamically added to the schedule, with the new consensus profile. The reviewing process is open to all. The System is open to content from all over the world.
All the profiling data is dynamic. If you give a program a good rating its whole profile will be merged with your current profile. Trashing a program will reverse this - it will subtract the profile. This process will be elastic in its effect - it will have a moderate immediate effect and a smaller long term effect. Thus if you are a sports addict and for what ever reason you trash three sports programs and chose a comedy program instead, for the rest of that day you will get comedy and "teasers" of other subjects, the next day you will get half comedy and half sport... on the third day you will get the majority of what you watched on the second, and some of any "teasers" you followed. This process works in reverse, with individual viewers' profiles affecting the profile of the programs themselves.
The profiling system will work as a tree, with top levels and side levels branching off. The top levels will be decided by the user's profile, and then dynamically adjusted.
Some profile categories could be:
Fixed: nationality (country/region); language (spoken/subtitles); type (film/documentary/news/sport/commercial, review; subject (searchable key words) etc.
Variable: quality (good - bad), accessibility (easy - difficult), violence (child - adult), erotic (conservative - liberal), ideology (progressive - reactionary) etc.
This approach would be modified for live streams and real-time news features which would work on a system of trust - that is on an registered profile of the organisation - which again will be adjusted by views real-time choices. Self profiling by active intention and passive consumption.
There are also interesting statistical ways of collecting and processing such information, which could be included.
The basic interface idea is simple, a single button that gives you the option of trashing content you are not interested in. Interface options vary in their level of interactivity, encouraging interactive uses rather than leaving the channel on autopilot.
1. Dumb - by trashing programs the user doesn't like and rating those they do.
2. Basic interaction - by choosing from the cued up list of possible programming that is provided with any user interaction.
3. "What mood am I in?" Expressed by the web - sliders - the users can express an interest in certain areas by elastically/temporarily changing the sliders on their profile. (dynamically created by their profile, with one or two challenging additions)
4. Traditional key word searching (with or without the aid of their profile).
5. Directly changing their profile (this complies with data laws).
1. You can make your own, or organisations' profile public so that other people can watch it and you can watch other's... Undercurrents, football stars, NGO's, Channel 4 etc.
2. You can "merge" others profiles in to yours, such as an organisation, famous author's or popstars. Which will provide an easy way of getting an interesting personal channel, and seeing the world from different points of view.
3. You can bookmark TV series and news services, so that they always appear when a new content comes out.
4. Key words can form part of your profile, such as a city, person or brand.
It is important to realise that any large "outside" change will soon be personalised by your own interactive choices reshaping your profile to represent (and challenge) your point of view. A Universal TV Channel is not about dumming down people, it is about taking away the dull bureaucratic routines needed to choose “quality” and "truth" in our heavily commercialised and consumptive world.
Is flexible and from a number of conflicting sources. It is interesting to note that the content providers and viewers can choose which revenue funds their viewing in real-time, and this will also control our revenue flow. In this the project is one of a viewer/producer workers co-operative.
State money (grants/regional funding)
Pay per view
Advertising is very problematic, but the money has to come from somewhere... we could accept advertising and feed this to people's profiles - for the mainstream this is the goldmine of revenue, and just like goldmines it has the problem of wide spread pollution. The adverts would directly pay to the content providers (video makers) a commission on each viewer with a cut for us as the provider. This is the dream of mad consumptives, though we live in such a world.
Links to commercial sites - both mainstream and counterculture - the balance is decided by people's own profiles. We take the standard Internet commission for referrals and any purchases that these create. It is important to note that adverts are profiled just like programs.
Public service? Government money? If this was possible, we could then pass this onto content providers and take a more respectable running cost commission. A good source of funding.
Donations, the old PBS projects. May work for special interest groups, again we have the opening of taking a small commission in the middle.
It is important that a proportion from each revenue stream is cross subsidised to all viewed work. Thus the mainstream movies advertising would pay for the counterculture response. Creating the liberal (and free market) ideal of "perfect knowledge".
cut for video producer.
cut for redistribution over whole network.
small cut for the host server of the video,
small cut for channel(us).
small cut for channel's production grants.
Thus we are not only a voluntary distribution network, we also pay for content, bringing a wider and more creative mix of local and global content.
This is the freeing of human potential, the profiling is not to facilitate people wallowing in their own ghettos. Each channel needs to always carry a wide range of views. For example, if someone's profile was largely shaped by sex and sport, the programming would not only be filled by pornography and golfing, but links and teasers for programs on the effect of pornography and the destruction of wildlife by the building of golf courses. In this example, if the viewer followed one of these links, their profile would react and bring up more options - a small, different window opening into a larger worldview.
We need a production, editorial and management team. The net, like any "unmoderated free market place", is filled with dross. An editorial level above the reviewers would add a holistic view to the information flow. Human beings are created by their society - if we do not consciously attempt to shape its flow - we are in continuing danger of polluting and despoiling our commons.
C.f.: Gerat Harding, Tragedy of the commons.)
1. We need to write a database to hold the profiling information, the channels templates, and provide and input page for content.
2. To create the user interface and local web TV application.
3. Sign up content deals with current Internet video hosting sites.
4. Work on the financing and management model.
This project is now technically feasible, relatively inexpensive to setup as a technological prototype. Marketing would be by rumour and users word of mouth (viral marketing as it is called)
6 months for programming and setup
3 moths testing
3 moths to get up to speed with content and video hosting.
Full launch of mature product in 1 year’s time.
For a minimal budget setup, in the region of £200,000 for the first year. Have office space in Oxford and access to an experienced development team in London.