#BlackLivesMatter

Starting to read The Telekommunist Manifesto:

The Manifesto covers the political economy of network topologies and cultural production respectively.

Based on an exploration of class conflict in the age of international telecommunications, global migration, and the emergence of the information economy.

the work of Telekommunisten is very much rooted in the free software and free culture communities.

This text is particularly addressed to politically motivated artists, hackers and activists

^ I’m sure it will have its flaws, but can’t deny that it sounds pretty up my street.

A video by Paul Frazee about Beaker Browser.

Paul states some of the goals of Beaker:

  • more software freedom (no code hidden away on a server)
  • lowering the barriers to creating and publishing an app or a website
  • more opportunity
  • having fun – keeping the web individual and diverse

It’s very adjacent to IndieWeb to me. Everyone has their own profile drive, which is kind of like your personal website. All the data is yours – it’s attached to your hyperdrive. Own your data. And apps access the data in your hyperdrive, you don’t send anything to them.

One very nice thing with Beaker, you get your Beaker profile just by running the browser – you don’t need to set up and maintain a server. (No Servers! No Admins!) You also get an easy to maintain address book, where you can basically follow other people.

I like the idea of being able to fork apps easily, too. It’s as if you were using Facebook, but you wanted to change part of the interface, and you could, because you have immediate access to the source and can just fork it and tweak it.

Facebook VP of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg:

We don’t benefit from hate speech… we benefit from positive human connection.

Nick Clegg on CNN

OK Cleggy. Not so sure about that. You will only care about positive human connection when it makes you money. I’d suggest that those two things are mutually exclusive.

The architecture of the social network — its algorithmic mandate of engagement over all else, the advantage it gives to divisive and emotionally manipulative content — will always produce more objectionable content at a dizzying scale.

Opinion | Facebook Can’t Be Reformed – The New York Times

Via @pfrazee‘s article on information civics, came across this old article of Bruce Schneier‘s on what he calls the feudal internet.

In his analogy, we’re the peasants who have traded in freedom for some convenience and protection.

Users pledge allegiance to more powerful companies who, in turn, promise to protect them from both sysadmin duties and security threats.

He sees the two big power centres of the feudal lords as data and devices.

On the corporate side, power is consolidating around both vendor-managed user devices and large personal-data aggregators.

We no longer have control of our data:

Our e-mail, photos, calendar, address book, messages, and documents are on servers belonging to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on.

I see the IndieWeb, Beaker, etc as means of resisting this.

And we’re no longer in control of our devices:

And second, the rise of vendor-managed platforms means that we no longer have control of our computing devices. We’re increasingly accessing our data using iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Kindles, ChromeBooks, and so on.

I see the right to repair as a means of resisting this. Allowing us to do what we wish with our own devices – including putting whatever software on them that we want.

One big omission from the article I find is that Schneier focuses on the disbenefits to the users of these devices and platforms – the manufactured iSlaves, in Jack Qiu’s terminology. He doesn’t mention (at least in this particular article) those exploited in the creation and upkeep of these – the manufacturing iSlaves. That’s just as big, if not bigger, a reason for challenging these power structures.

I had not really thought much about the tech firms in this light before – of the undue control they have on computing infrastructure. (I think the author here including both hardware and software platforms in ‘infrastructure’).

In all the global crises, pandemics and social upheavals that may yet come, those in control of the computers, not those with the largest datasets, have the best visibility and the best – and perhaps the scariest — ability to change the world.

Privacy is not the problem with the Apple-Google contact-tracing toolkit

I don’t know if it’s a bigger problem or not than surveillance capitalism though. They both seem like big problems, in tandem.

The distinction between harvesting data and running the platform seems pretty neglible, too. Unless maybe he’s talking about things like Amazon Web Services more than things like Facebook?

Dunno. Regardless, cool to see both right to repair and IndieWeb-adjacent stuff mentioned together as modes of resistance against big tech.

I find this little nugget fascinating:

The history of passports – which were introduced as a seemingly temporary measure during the first world war, but were retained in response to fears about spreading the Spanish flu – shows that pandemics can significantly influence our social infrastructure.

Privacy is not the problem with the Apple-Google contact-tracing toolkit

The temporary becomes the norm.

Reading Hello World at the moment. Subtitled “being human in the age of algorithms”.

It’s good so far. Clear and making its point well, drawing on plenty of examples of the problems with some present uses of decision-making algorithms. It’s being framed as ‘dilemmas’, so, the idea that there’s good as well as bad in what’s going on.

I wonder what the overall thesis will be though. Will there be some call to action as to what needs to be done? Or will it just be left that there is good and bad, and we need to be aware of that. Hoping for the former, something with some teeth.

Facebook will make some changes around its policy on hateful content, but only from the threat of lost ad revenue. Not from actually caring about the victims of it.

“Let’s be honest,” said Moghal, “these tech platforms have generated income and interest from this divisive content; they won’t change their practices until they begin to see a significant cut to their revenue.”

Sucks that only big companies pulling out can have an effect on FB. But props to Stop Hate for Profit for putting pressure on companies.

www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jun/29/how-hate-speech-campaigners-found-facebooks-weak-spot (thanks Ellie for the link!)

Stian Håklev posted an interesting question and on the Digital Gardeners telegram group:

I’m curious how people feel about comments and interaction? And also interactivity between digital gardens in general (like paths connecting the parks of a city? :)).

Chris has talked enthusiastically about interlinking wikis before (e.g. during the Gardens and Streams IndieWeb session), so I’m sure there’s something to it. For me, I think because I already get the interactivity goodness on my stream and my articles, it’s something I haven’t generally been that interested in for my wiki notes thus far.

Stian has some use cases for which he would like the interactivity:

I know comments have gotten a bad rep on the internet, attracting spam or trolls etc, but on the other hand I feel really frustrated when I can’t leave comments on Andy Matuschak’s notes…

I think Webmentions would work well here. You would write a comment as a post on your own site, and then this will notify Andy. He can choose to do whatever he wants with this comment (display the comment, display it as a backlink, ignore it completely, not display it at all, if he prefers). This way you can write a comment on whatever you want and the receiver chooses what to do with it.

Or another example – I just looked at Salman’s site about Deliberate rest (notes.salman.io/deliberate-rest), and thought that I just took some notes about attention restoration therapy from Deep Work – notes.reganmian.net/deep-work… Of course I could tell him here (I am :)) but that “doesn’t scale”…

Webmentions would work for this too – as just a simple ‘mention’, not necessarily a comment. Salman would be notified automatically that your note references his note. Salman could choose to display it as a backlink, if he liked.

Short-term, I am looking at adding at least page-level comments to my blog, using a Gatsby plugin and probably externally hosted comments.

Adding webmention support to receive comments could work here.

Also interested in experimenting with annotations, for example embedding Hypothes.is directly in the pages…

Kartik Prabhu has a nice article about receiving annotations on his posts via webmentions.

Long-term, I’m interesting in thinking about more structured ways of interlinking digital gardens – whether it looks more like interwiki links, blog backlinks, or something else, I’m not sure. I have some notes I’ll publish once I organize them a bit more.

I can definitely see the appeal of backlinks between wikis, but only in an abstract sense at the moment.

The utility is in the networked thought. I guess for me it comes down to whether I see the utility in all of this connectivity on specifically my evergreen notes, as opposed to my stream posts.