Politics and Technology of Control: Introduction

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January 24

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. Is this platform about fundamental social, political and economic change, or about easier access to 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

The most significant changes and challenges brought on by digital technologies.

- Your ideas here...

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: RobF 14:15, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Despite the assigned articles we just read about some of the ways governments try to limit online activity and sharing, to me the most significant changes brought about by the spread of digital technologies are all related to freedom of information and the vast amount of information now accessible. This has political implications in both huge and radical ways (like the way Twitter is used as a organizing tool in many of the Arab Spring movements) and in smaller ways that fit within existing political structures but empower the average person much more (with the internet, I can check any American Senator's voting record, write a letter directly to my congresswoman, etc.). It also has cultural and social implications in the way ideas spread and are shared and altered. Regardless of where you are born or living, you can find people who hold almost any political/social/cultural/religious views online somewhere, and make that your primary community, rather than the one you physically live in. The sheer amount of information and connectedness made possible by the spread of digital technology are at the heart of most major changes based off that technology. AlexLE 16:34, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

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