A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

 

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The Rebellious Media Conference (8/9 Oct) is urgently seeking techies

The Rebellious Media Conference (8/9 Oct) is urgently seeking techies to build a bit of functionality into our interactive website. Chomsky's coming, and the tickets are sold out - let's enable people to talk to each other and really effectively plan some radical stuff! Dummy interactive site is here http://visionon.tv/web/rebelliousmedi... Reply to us at info@visionon.tv for more information. We're planning a meeting at London Hackspace to take this further (with beer).

dilbert - Bureaucracy

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The 20th century view of privacy is no longer valid for the 21st century world.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.

Sparking a twitter torrent

A normal morning in Dalston, London. The visionOntv crew are slaving away over their laptops, as usual, on a Sunday morning, when I notice a very angry tweet from Jeff Jarvis, a professor of journalism in New York. Clicking on the hashtag I discover a torrent of impassioned truth-telling, of rude and direct passionate truth-telling, because the tag, which is "#FuckYouWshington", is the portal to a deluge of public fury.

"My dream is a virtual chant rising up in volume hour upon hour; FUCK YOU WASHINGTON!" Jarvis said originally, in a twitter post, before one of his followers (@boogerpussy) suggested turning it into a hashtag "#fuckyouwashington" (without the spaces and capitals). And, almost immediately, it turned into a catch-all hashtag, which people started using to share their thoughts about the media, the wars and other social issues.
 

"#fuckyouwashington making it easier for a kid to go to war than it is to go to college, making it easier for a kid to die than get a job" (@labgrrl)


"#fuckyouwashington for turning politics into sport, more important for your for your team to win than for the country to do what is right" (@alienrasta)


"#fuckyouwashington for telling us you don't torture and continuing to do it". (@LiberalPagan)


Sitting in Dalston we have a brief discussion about the equivalent hashtag for the UK. Deciding, we tweet:


"#fuckyouwestminster we need to take the social media conversation to the streets, UK joins #fuckyouwashington".


The results are instant.


"#fuckyouwestminster for scapegoating benefit cheats while claiming for moats and porn" (@realsociology)


"#fuckyouwestminster for selling off out public services for peanuts so your mates can make big profits at our expense" (@casi_insurgente)


"#fuckyouwestminster for cutting the taxes of corporations while rising VAT hitting the incomes of working families the hardest" (@jjarichardson)


"#fuckyouwestminster for unleashing uniformed thugs on defenceless students" (@ravensrod)


Though it wasn’t so much Jeff Jarvis' tweet, it was more Dave Winer's ☮  tweeted reply that set me in motion.


“Political action on twitter is meaningless. Shut off the computer, @jeffjarvis, get on amtrak, and camp out on the mall in dc. (@davewiner )

Get off the computer and onto the streets.

Technology and Social Change - Working with the Facebook Generation

Issues working with the Facebook Generation. In the activist tech/media world the is a paranoia against those who should be your friends and a naive trust of those who ARE your enemy’s. Currently all your social interactions are available to the bad people, both offline and on. The only issue for radical groups, is are you going to withhold this information from your friends and political collages, the bad guys already have it. Hiding your politics is hard and if you use any of the modern social tools, especially mobile phones or drive a car or live in a city with CCTV then you are very visible and trying to hide just makes you less useful for your friends and more interesting to your foes.  For more about this subject http://hamishcampbell.com/home/-/blogs/hard-or-soft-is-the-question

They own the Media .We've got the Message

This first banner  was made for Greenham Common Womens Peace camp in the 1980s to counter their vilification by main stream media. It was used during the 1984 miners strike and the Poll tax Riots too. Its now in Malta used by their Labour party in a general election. In the 1980s before the Internet got going we had to use banners,  post cards, posters  and word of mouth ...

This Second banner was going to be a replica to use  here in UK... but  of course the message needed  to be different . They had the media.We have got the Message.
And the message now uses the internet.

Banners by Thalia Campbell

Geek Manifesto (DRAFT)

VisionOntv is a project to move people from being passive consumers to taking more of a role in production/curating and hosting news media. Its a project to empower the producers of media. So from a very broad-brush perspective:

Has to be easy for normal people to browse, with a constant pull towards people being more involved – even if this has a balancing affect on the ease of use. Consuming of content isn't social change rather conversation leading to community self action is. Our mission is a hard one to use content to catalyse this change and this is a little harder for users, our website won't run away from this issue.

Has to not be pulled into the Geek ghetto on complexity and obfuscation , even if this on balance affect security and efficiency. The command line and professorial server infrastructure may have advantages but the project will use desktop servers and GUI were ever possible so as not to disempower the producers also taking on the many of the roles of the sysadmins. With out this movement we end of up with a small cartel off Geek gatekeepers rather than a broad empowered community.

So consumers pushed into producers and producers pushed into sysadmins is our core Geek mission. We don't wont to replace one media class with a another, we instead won't to democratise and level the media so that it is a much wider and more embed in community's that it covers.

To do this technology it self and the people who create it have to change.

What's next for Sukey - the keep safe, mobile and informed app

We interview the core crew at OPENTECH in London. http://sukey.org/

The ecology of hash-tag organising (DRAFT)

A look at ideas around Ukuncut, which grew from the winding down of the climatecamp movement.

The ecology of hash-tag organising
 
A group of driven people get together in a pub and come up with a strategy and a hash-tag – they then build a aggregating website to display the hash-tag and self organise around it. This facilitates exciting, dramatic and dynamic actions, which draw in more dynamic and active crew, the aggregating website allows fast feedback.
 
Mainstream media pick this up, a group of media savey crew start to feed this media. The mainstream media coverage brings in a flood of more “liberal” activists and normal people, this swells the actions and makes them much more affective. This swerles round for a while.
 
The targets start to recognise the damage that is being done to them and the threat that they might have to change – and start a two prong strategy
 
* PR offensive to show how they are changing
* Use of private corpurtae spy’s, the courts and the police to repress the demonstration strategy
 
The problems of hash-tag organising start here, as the mainstream media outreach has seceded in bring in many more less experienced (and more liberal) people there attitudes start to dominate the hash-tag organising space. And the more experienced activist voices are submerged in this flow. The effects of this are 3 fold:
 
1) Actions start to follow a narrow predictable pattern which quickly becomes stale
2) The forces of repression create strategy’s for dealing with these static ideas/actions
3) The voices of change are submerged under the voices of flow, and the flow cercals to 1)
 
This leads to the inflexible liberal elements wilting under the focused repression and the movement stagnating and often turning on it self. It seams to me that hash-tag organising has no way out of this cyclical.
 

The de-professionalising of media (DRAFT)

The de-professionalising of media

Digitisation is re-shaping many forms of media production and news is one of these. The business model the print press was based on scarcity and physical distribution. Old media is being forced to transform under the technological imperative of digitisation, and most will fail. From the forced change of digitisation there are two possible outcomes:

1. A continuation of the move to churning PR as news, which is the growth/sustainable area in traditional media.

2. The de-professionalising of media production. This is a huge growth area in media production over the last 10 years.

Professional non-PR media is under attack by the search for profit by companies that have the will to survive. The ones that don’t join this savage chase to the bottom will likely not survive in their current forms.

What do I mean by de-professionalizing?

In the Victorian era the “amateur” was held in high esteem and the “professional” was looked down upon. This was based on values coming from a leisured elite of society, the logic of valuing a gift economy over the narrowly commercial. In contemporary society the digitisation project is shifting much old commercial (scarcity) work into leisure (gift) work. Witness the rise of the blogger, the age of wikipedia etc.

At this point I just have to make a quick detour to demolish the mirage of fragile hope that many of the old “professional classes” cling to. Advertising is FALSE information, and social media sees through it – the world of the “free” makes its intrusions more obvious – and people will ignore these images, use adblockers etc. The poison that is embedded in lifestyle advertising will move into PR-driven news production.

The outcome of this transition is not at all clear. At the recent E-G8 conference, Lawrence Lessig talked about the problem of incumbents or gatekeepers and how they distort investments and push to keep obsolete models in place. They are helping to distort and misshape the logic of the digitalization process.



To finish this work in progress
Critique Victorian “amateurism”
Talk about how the will still be a (smaller) role for “professorial journalists”
Fill out the Background on these ideas..

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