ARTS3091 Blog 8 – Social Organisation

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Will the Internet become a ‘localnet’ and what will this mean for the ‘world wide’ of the web?

It is interesting to look at the world wide web in comparison to the printing press; two technologies that Marshal McLuhan believes have had a profound affect on social organization.

The printing press was invented in 1440 and in popular use by 1500. By the mid 15th century the government and church were actively censoring printing press through licensing and prohibition.  If we compare the above history to that of the Internet, we can see some interesting comparisons. The first connection of ARPANET in 1969, arguably the ‘birth’ of the Internet; everyday use of the internet beginning around 1995 and now the introduction of CISPA and SOPA in the states (not to mention Australia’s implemented blacklist).

So if the Internet is to become censored in the same manner printing press was, will we see a ‘meshnet’ revolution, similar to such printing revolutions as the polish underground press? I believe, based in the comparisons above, that the concept explored by Donald Rushkof in his article “The Evolution Will be Socialized” will become a reality, at least in part.

Unfortunately, as Rushkof discusses, while the internet may seem to complement a peer to peer culture, it is actually built upon hierarchical infrastructure. For this reason, I believe following internet censorship ‘localnets’ will form, based on meshnet or darknet wifi technology. By ‘localnet’ I mean a connection of networked computers that are incredibly prohibited by physical space. For example a localnet would be restricted to local data and unable to send or receive international data due to the government and corporate ownership of transnational submarine cables.

It is interesting to consider a world that would by heavily connected on a hyper local level, yet isolated globally. While this is far from a reality it would offer insight into global networks and help us visualize how current hyper local networks operate.

References

Rushkoff, Douglas (2011) ‘The Evolution Will Be Socialized’, Shareable: Science and Tech <http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-evolution-will-be-socialized>

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