Re: Credentials Community Group

On 8/6/14 4:24 AM, Tim Holborn wrote:
> having just watched the "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron
> Swartz (CC available: en,es,fr,tr,cn)“ (link:

Thank you for this. I found it riveting, one of the best documentaries 
I've seen. Maybe the best. Cried much of the final twenty minutes.

> data is the basis for digital economy, democracy, etc.  Just because
> we put it into magnetic-electrical devices, rather than chipping stuff
> into stones or inking papyrus - doesn’t mean necessarily, we’re any
> more sophisticated as a people.


Not necessarily more sophisticated or better in any other way -- 
except the ability to move data faster. But even this is skewed in 
important ways: as the people in this group know, certain kinds of 
data are not moved easily in the current Web (money payments, verified 
identity) or controlled easily (privacy), while others are 
astronomically easier and faster (almost everything else).

This creates stresses in our society, and makes new power centers and 
new opportunities -- for both selfish motives and co-operative motives.

As Aaron put succinctly at some point in the above documentary (I'm 
not quoting him exactly): both this spying/controlling/power-grabbing 
ability and the miracle-of-new-faster-learning ability are there in 
the Web in high concentration, and they will both remain in some form. 
And that it's up to us to make sure that the power/controlling one 
doesn't dominate.

I don't think I'm being pretentious in saying that what's happening 
here, in this attempt to standardize, is in a direct line from efforts 
like the Magna Carta. The Web/Internet needs a formal agreement about 
the liberties and rights of the participants in defining who they are, 
how they pass money, and who can use data about those two things. And, 
accidentally (since the net is worldwide), this coincides with many of 
the problems of globalization -- supra-national rights and their 
relation to national rights. A huge cross-over of changes.

"We live in interesting times."  ;-)

Steven Rowat

Received on Thursday, 7 August 2014 01:06:24 UTC