Politics and Technology of Control: Introduction

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January 29

The Internet at its core is simply an expression of a technological protocol that allows for a particular way of sharing information. But from its humble beginnings the Internet has always felt like more than this. The Net has great potential for “good” (e.g. innovation, economic growth, education, and access to information), and likewise is a great platform for the bawdy, tawdry and illegal. So is this platform about fundamental social, political and economic change, or about access to solipsistic blogging, pornography, cheap pharmaceuticals, free music, and poker at home? This question leads us to a host of interesting issues that weave their way through the course related to openness, access, regulatory control, free speech, anonymity, intellectual property rights, democracy, transparency, norms and values, economic and cultural change, and cyber-terrorism, as well as scamsters and thieves.

Preparation (Assignment "Zero")

  • Reflect on what you believe are the most significant social, cultural, political or economic changes associated with the spread of digital technologies?

In a few sentences, please offer 2-3 examples in the Class Discussion section below and be prepared to discuss them during class.


Optional Readings

Videos Watched in Class

Class Discussion

Please remember to sign your postings by adding four tildes (~~~~) to the end of your contribution. This will automatically add your username and the date/time of your post, like so: Asellars 15:29, 21 January 2013 (EST)