On the transformation of everyday culture in an era of liquid modernity

Posts Tagged ‘Control’

The carrot and the schtick?

In censorship, copyright, file-sharing, p2p, politics, surveillance, Sweden on October 31, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Peer-to-peer-based file-sharing in Sweden: Clashing proposals from the interventionist state on what to do with a wildly file-sharing population. Pacify them with broadband-tax subsidised, “free” file-sharing or instil a general fear of uploading by penalising those who do?

In the current, once again harshening legal climate surrounding p2p-based file-sharing in Sweden, where the infamous EU-wide IPRED directive is now making inroads and might be implemented early next year (effectively granting powers to private bodies to monitor and police what they consider illegal copyright infringements), it is noteable that there are two strands of the debate which both assume state intervention, but in different ways. These two forms of intervention – in effect, corporatist solutions where existing industries are subsidised by the state – are, however, seemingly incompatible with one another!

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MySpace censors its own users

In censorship, social networking sites on March 3, 2008 at 10:26 am

Rupert Murdoch-owned social networking site MySpace censors the internal messaging service of its own users. When sending messages through the network’s own mail service, certain words are automatically deleted.

This is but one example of how the arbitrary impositions of corporate actors in fact comes with grave political potentials, only held back by lines ultimately drawn by governmental laws and regulations — lines that are often arbitrary or contested in themselves. This “code of conduct” is increasingly common today, among corporate actors like ISPs, search engines and network providers. Inspired by the term just-in-time, used in logistics, I call this particular mode of operation just-about-legal. My argument is that this business method in fact lies at the heart of many of today’s most profitable corporate giants. Read the rest of this entry »

Supervision without the promised security

In politics, surveillance, Sweden on January 24, 2006 at 7:47 pm

The harsh legal stronghold besieging our digital commons, that leading European politicians are currently arguing for, is not only putting the personal integrity of citizens at risk – it is also symptomatic for how allegedly democratic measures can in effect be jeopardizing democracy. What is worse, it is a strategy which cannot keep what it promises, thus amounting to hypocrisy, argues Jonas Andersson, media researcher at Goldsmiths College, London.

The main problem with the come-lately abrasive policy of these European politicians is not integrity per se, the problem is that the propositions will fail to do what the lawmakers think they will do; the supervision relies on a false hope of security. Read the rest of this entry »

The video iPod: Apple restrains the consumer choice of content

In marketing on November 16, 2005 at 10:40 pm

The new video iPod is not only a lauded status symbol, but also the ultimate symbol for how there in recent years has been a reformation in the multinational media conglomerations’ strategy for getting consumers to exclusively download conventional content. With the new iPod, hardware controls the selection of media content in subtle ways, argues Jonas Andersson, media researcher at Goldsmiths College in London.

The new version of the Apple iPod is radically different from its predecessors in that it facilitates video playback. On today’s semi-legal and illegal file-sharing networks, video files are as commonplace as music files, and Apple has obviously responded to this fact in the design of this widely appraised entertainment appliance. As a result, the iPod video capacity is directly limited to two digital formats: MPEG-4 and Apple’s own, recently launched H.264. They do not support for example the DivX format which is a common one for illegally downloaded, so called “ripped” files. To watch your own holiday movies, or digitally recorded TV programs, or free, illegally downloaded films, these need to be converted into one of the two aforementioned formats – a time-consuming, complicated procedure. This can be done through Apple’s Quicktime video software, but the process does not make it less cumbersome to install, transfer and watch non-commercial material, compared to that which is offered through the proprietary iTunes online store. (See here for a fierce critique of the iTunes concept.) Read the rest of this entry »