Radical media, politics and culture.


U.S. Wraps up 'Cyber Storm' Exercise Testing Internet Defenses

Associated Press

The government concluded its "Cyber Storm'' wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers.


Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers, online diarists whose "Web logs'' include political rantings and musings about current events.

"Digital Universe
with L.A. at its Center"

Holly Willis, LA Weekly

"I¹m going to put the phone down now, "just hang on."

Media artist Michael Naimark was at LAX one morning a few weeks ago, on his
way to the Banff Centre¹s Refresh Conference on histories of new-media art.
Another artist, Simon Penny from UCI, was up ahead, also on his way to the
conference, and UCLA¹s Erkki Huhtamo, a new-media theorist, wasn¹t far
behind. Not wanting to lose our connection, Naimark put the phone into one
of those gray plastic containers and pushed it toward the X-ray machine.

Architecture and Philosophy of the Web:
IRW2006 - Identity, Reference, and the Web (IRW2006)


Co-located Workshop at WWW2006,
Edinburgh Scotland, May 22nd

Second Call for Papers:


Goal and Theme:

Our goal for this workshop is to explore the nature of identification, meaning, and reference on the Web, building on current work in Web architecture, the Semantic Web and informal community-based tagging (folksonomy), as well as current practice in XML and theory in
philosophy and linguistics. This workshop should bring together
researchers and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds in order to discuss and clarify these issues.

The greater goal of the workshop is to examine the architecture and philosophical basis of the Web by carefully inspecting how fundamental aspects of the Web can be clearly recognized and possibly improved.

URIs are the primary mechanism for reference and identity on the Web. To be useful, a URI must provide access to information which is sufficient to enable someone or something to uniquely identify a particular thing and the thing identified might vary between contexts. There is no doubt that as a mechanism for identifying web pages the URI has been wildly successful. Currently, URIs can also be used to identify namespaces, ontologies, and almost anything. However, important questions about the interpretation, use, and meaning of URIs have been left unanswered, questions that have important ramifications for everything from search engines to philosophy. As soon as matters get complicated, there is little or no consensus on issues of identification and reference on the Web. Put simply, given a URI, how should the nature of its intended referent be known in an interoperable and preferably automatic manner?

This is not an easy question to answer: for example, the Semantic Web and folksonomies present two distinctly differing viewpoints. On the Semantic Web a URI nominally identifies a single resource, while
folksonomies rely on a more informal group consensus. Notions of
identity will have even larger ramifications when privacy and trust become central issues for the Web. The management of this issue impacts practical issues of data integration on the Web and versioning and evolution for languages that use URIs, such as XML.

Hijacking the Internet: How Big Cable and Phone Companies' Plans for Broadband Threaten Democracy

Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy/b>

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies have a vision for the Internet's future. Verizon, AT&T (formerly SBC), Comcast, and Bell South want to create a privately run and branded "pay-as-you-go" Internet, making everything we do online a "billable," revenue-generating service. Our every cyberspace move will be tracked and stored so we can be better marketed to (a data collection system that might even rival the NSA's!). Those with the deepest pockets--think corporate special interest groups and major advertisers--will get preferred treatment. Their content will show up (and be processed) the fastest on our computer and television screens. Content seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, may be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out, say "white papers" and other documents given to the cable and phone industry.

Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from large to small content providers to individual users--will have to pay more when surfing online, streaming videos, or perhaps even sending and receiving email. Companies are mulling the imposition of new subscription plans that will limit our online experience. There will be "gold," bronze," and "silver" forms of Internet access that tightly define what they call our "level of service" (limiting how much downloading we can do, etc.)

Gone will be the more open and nondiscriminatory network of today.

To help ensure that their "vision" succeeds, the phone and cable lobbies are now engaged in a political campaign to further weaken the nation's communication policy laws. Both the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are considering proposals that will have a far-reaching impact on the Internet's future. They want the federal government to permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications services as "private" networks--without policy safeguards or governmental oversight. Telephone and cable companies are now using the same kind of political snake oil that helped them pass the now-infamous 1996 Telecommunications Act (ten years ago on Feb 8, 1996). They have unleashed the tried-and-true rhetoric designed to lure compromised and clueless lawmakers. Our proposals, they claim, will "empower the consumer" and lead to "innovation." But these are code words used to cloak their real goal: to turn the Internet into a turbocharged digital retail machine.

Microsoft Will License Windows Source Code

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones) — Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Wednesday it will license its Windows source code in order to comply with a European antitrust punishment.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the company's chief counsel, Brad Smith, called the move "a bold stroke." The source code provides the building blocks of the operating system that competitors need to make products compatible with Windows.

In the past, Microsoft has refused to license this code. Software developers still will have to pay for the code, which open source advocates will not be allowed to "publish for free," Smith cautioned.

SCP writes:

International Day Against Video Surveillance
March 19–20, 2006

We, the undersigned, are unconditionally opposed to the use of video surveillance cameras in public places. We are also opposed to the use of surveillance cameras that, though installed in privately owned places, are actually use to surveill the public. We believe that both types of cameras, in addition to being useless in the "wars" on crime and terrorism, are tools that all-too-frequently used to violate our rights to privacy, anonymity, dignity and political dissent.

Cameras are not the only threats to our rights. Government agencies and private security firms also use wiretaps, bugs, GPS transponders, RFID chips, computers dedicated to data gathering, retention and "mining," etc. But we choose to focus on video surveillance cameras because they are the most visible manifestations of the emerging surveillance society.

"Hack the Knowledge" Lab

Technology, Creativity, Social Organization

Lancaster, England, Feb. 3–5, 2006

A Weekend Gathering For Collaborative and Creative Reflection

Lancaster University (Institute for Advanced
North West England.


The Knowledge Lab is an attempt to provide a collective space for
anti-capitalist reflection. It is located at the margin of the
university, an institution essentially geared towards the production
of knowledge as a resource for corporate interest and as justification
for particular constellations of power relations.
The Knowledge Lab is hence also an attempt to claim back some of the
university's space, resources and know-how from the military-industrial
complex and make them available for people concerned about and working
against the status quo of unceasing commodification, exploitation, war,
and biospherical destruction.

Bernie Roddy writes:

"Notes on Creative Property"
Bernie Roddy

According to a popular theory of property, you ought to receive the results of your labor, and those results are new property, your profits. For people who create things that can be sold such as movies, scripts, programs, or music, it makes sense to insist that any beneficiary of its sale be someone who invests labor toward the item’s creation, or perhaps toward its distribution. But someone who invests capital does not invest labor. Stockholders in a company do not have a claim to profits generated by new creations. An entrepreneur often does contribute labor, as does an artist. Both might persuade someone to provide capital, but any commitment to return some profit is not backed up by this conception of property. At best, it is based on a contractual relationship.

Free Software Advocate Attracts U.N. Security After Blocking RFID Tags

K.C. Jones, TechWeb News

GNU founder Richard Stallman wrapped his RFID-equipped badge in aluminum
foil at the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society, and found his
travel blocked by U.N. security.

A GNU expert's talk was welcomed at the U.N. World Summit on the
Information Society. His stance on RFID was not.

Richard Stallman, GNU founder and featured speaker at the gathering in
Tunisia last week, was held by U.N. security after wrapping his
identification badge in foil, according to Bruce Perens, vice president
of developer relations and policy for SourceLabs.

Stallman, who opposes RFID because of the technology's potential for
privacy invasions, objected to wearing the badge because it could track
him as he moved around at the summit. Organizers said the technology
would not be used since objections were raised over use at the 2003
summit in Geneva, according to Perens.

Sharing is Good

A group of activists is planning to download a song from the internet
in front of the building of the SGAE (the spanish association of
authors and editors, well known for its campaigns against file sharing
in P2P networks). The action will take place on the forth-coming


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