Lecture 4: Cyberutooia & Cyberdystopia

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  1. Internet – a global network with unlimited possibilities, source of endless knowledge, modern platform for political debates. It sounds fantastic. But how does it look in real life? Evgeny Morozov in his „The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom” book warns us against falling into extremes, of being whether too skeptical or too enthusiastic about it.
    In the 21st century, the revolution may not be televised – but it likely will be tweeted, blogged, texted and organized on Facebook, – that were the „rave” reviews regarding to the Arab spring. But the initial enthusiasm soon gave way to disappointment. It has turned out that not only opposition parties, but also their political opponents, governments successfully use social media for their own purposes, such as counterrevolution and propaganda. Authoritarian and totalitarian governments keep up with the times improving its technical base and skills, exploring modern technologies and creating its own, new methods. Instead of being an instrument of democracy, Internet has evolved into an instrument of pressure and control; defamation legislation in many countries also applies to the Internet (for ex. in Azerbaijan, Russia and many other ex-Soviet countries).
    Of course, all of the mentioned above is a matter of concern. But, fortunately, there are also some positive examples, such as the presidential elections in Romania in 2014, when Romanian diaspora has been mobilized to stop their prime minister from becoming president and social media played a significant role in this diaspora mobilization process (although premier Ponta was able to form his first cabinet in the aftermath of the 2012 citizens’ protests, the social-democrats did not pay sufficient attention to new forms of citizens’ mobilization with the help of social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter).
    Thus, the Internet and social media is nothing more than strong and powerful tool with great potential. And it depends on us whether it will serve useful and peaceful purposes. Otherwise it’ll demonstrate all its’ destructive force.

  2. I find that Internet media acts similarly to traditional media. The spread of attention on topics in Internet and traditional media in both policy and non-policy content are highly similar, with little evidence of a systematic movement to expand outside of traditional topics. Furthermore, attention in the Internet world works similarly to that in the traditional world. Internet us a Cyberutooia & Cyberdystopia at the same time. Everything depends on the way of using it.

  3. In my opinion legal constructions which successfully regulate the traditional spheres are unnatural in the world of Internet. That could be seen during the ACTA case when the authorities struggled to supress the use of unlimited flow of information in the legal boundries. That stems from the fact that the Internet realm works using the other rules than the traditional law. Therefore, we should endevour to minimize the influence of the law on the Internet until the law will understand those new constructions. Right now, the basic constructions of both criminal and law are sufficient to assure the safety of the Internet users and all others. By that I mean, the restrictions concerning the child pornography, the defemation or the most recent silk road case. We should not create „the Internet law” based on the current civil or penal code. The most general legal constructions by definition are the most flexible ones and only them will manage to follow the Internet.

  4. Nowadays very often we hear about cyber attacks on government, ministries, diplomatic missions, international organizations websites. There are also attacks on our social networking or bank accounts. The question is whether we can do something to prevent this?What we definetely need is the additional security features such as passwords with extra protection or blocking access from unknown devices and addresses. Legal system is also very crucial here. The state should impose more stringent regulations that would discourage hackers to attack.

  5. Very interesting prezentation, my point of you. Cyber-Utopia vs. Cyber-Dystopia: Hanna Spegel at TEDxPannonia 2013 http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Cyber-Utopia-vs-Cyber-Dystopia

  6. In 1996, the poet and essayist John Perry Barlow published A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. It was the height of the cyberutopian thinking in fashion at the time. It declared, “We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.” It foresaw a world of unfettered free speech, self-organized governance, and compassionate peer relations that needed to be kept separate from the laws of “meatspace.” Barlow didn’t anticipate how the Internet would eventually empower individuals even more offline than online. But then,around 2009, something began to change. Primed by financial need and the social media boom, people started to share more than just cat videos and haughty manifestos. A wave of new online services emerged that used the grammar of social media to help people share some of the essential resources of modern life: cars, skills, rides, experiences, housing, money, work, workspace, clothes, books, and more. Network technologies, shared access business models, and dirt cheap production gear are giving individuals the same productive power and market access that only big corporations could command just a few years ago. In the midst of crisis, individuals are crafting a new lifestyle based on sharing that enables them not merely to survive, but to thrive.
    The true transformational power of the Internet is just beginning to show, and it’s not about the freedoms available on the Internet like Barlow thought. It’s about how the Internet is unlocking the creative potential of individuals in real life.

  7. Human beings are made for communication. Communication provides a basic exchange of information between people, as well as individual groups. Once a major way to communicate was to talk face-to-face, which was attributed to the primary role. The internet has changed the way we communicate with each other.Open space of the Internet has given us new opportunities. I must mention the special type of communication – in short, CMC ( computer media communicatione). This type of communication is also referred as communication face-to(via minitor)-face or face-to-monitor. But today we could say that this concept must be extended to communication face-to-smartphone or face-to-tablet.Manuel Castells, citing Matthew Zook, notes that there are millions of computer networks around the world today, covering the entire spectrum of human communication – from politics and religion to sex and research – to trade online [e-commerce] as a central part of the modern Internet.
    Robert V. Kozinets, one of the main social-media expert, notes that we ascribe great importance to the fact that people use computer networks to participate in cultural resources and create a sense of community. It shows us a broad spectrum of this issue.
    I think that it’s hard to generalize. Internet legal regulations are different in different countries. This communication is so fast and so vast that it is difficult to control it. There are some organizations that are trying to „control” some areas, such as human trafficking. Unfortunately, this is the price for communication in open space.

  8. The Internet is extremely huge. There is enough space for legal and illegal moves. More and more often we hear that money from bank accounts has been stolen by hackers. Of course banks have their own protection, however, sometimes it’s not enough.

  9. I want to relate to a Jaron Lanier’s book “You are not a gadget” – especially issues about distopia of a social networks. Nowadays, in a global era with facebook, and social media, people often take something for a valuable just beacause it has many likes, or many people are interested in it. But something e.g. article or activity without many likes or interests a lot of people wouldn’t even watch because they think that if only few people or no one are interested in this, so they also wouldn’t be.
    Lanier claims also that the computers, and its answers are becoming more valuable than humans. Not only facebook but, even the financial market are promoting the opinions and thoughts of mobs above intelligence of individuals.
    But we have to remember that often not what the majority is doing/telling is right. We are individuals and nobody is not the same as anybody else in the world. We got to have our own opinion, it could accept with the others but we couldn’t let anyone impose it to us.
    In that issue I totally agree with Lanier.
    Apart of this Lanier’s thesis, in my opinion this internet utopia could turn into a distopia (or even it’s turning now) when we would maintain this tendency of increasing time we spent on internet e.g. facebook. Many people have decreased amount of meeting people in reality with communicating by a social media.
    Sometimes I wonder where it (our world) is going. We have less and less free time, we work more and more and that’s why we often replace meeting people face to face with a social media’s. Nevertheless it is against our social nature. human is from the moment of born “programmed” to live in a society not only in front of a big screen.

  10. I would like to wite about an ‚obscure’ online space which may be seen as a radical metonymy of the internet as a whole – the TOR project. This free software could be seen as both a cyberutopia and cyberdystopia. TOR enables anonymous communication in order to bypass censorship and filtering. On the one hand, it allows to communicate without feeling fear of being observed by ‚someone’ in the web, which could make it a perfect place to exchange the thought, especially for people who live in the countries that limit the freedom of speech. On the other hand, TOR has become a place where, for example, drug dealers do their business and anonymous people exchange children pornography. Therefore, TOR symbolizes the Internet as an open-discussion wolrd where eveyrone has the right to speak (cyberutopian value), and as a dark space where one can discover the worst (cyberdystopian element).

  11. The Internet is seen as a perfect space by some people. Cyberutopia people can call it but is it actually true to claim that this is a safe place without any threats and dangers. The Internet is an open space, available almost for everyone to use and take fully advantage of it but not always in a positive way. The title of the book by Evgeny Morozov „The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom” perfectly illustrates the fact that there are threats waiting for people in the Internet. People are controlled through the Internet more than they are aware of. They are subjects of control, constant verification ( which is somehow good because it allows to detect fake accounts and false digital identities ) and Internet is its tool. This cyberutopia does not have to be destroyed or disproved. People should be just more aware of similar situations and take into consideration when publishing facts about themselves that their personal information and data can be used by others as well as the companies to make some profits. Internet can be a safe place to some extent if people willuse it in a conscious and reliable way. Even if some more restricted legal regulations will be provided to make it a safe place, people should remember that it depends on their actions in this open space if Internet turns out to be a threat or a friend to them.

  12. It’s interesting that even since we hear about cybercrime a huge group of people still sees Internet as a safe place where nothing bad can happen. Of course when we loook at perspectives Internet is giving to us, how it helps us to comuicate, stay in touch and develop our interests we can see it as peculiar cyberutopia. But when we look closer at what how we get controlled by the Internet it starts to be scary. First thing that comes to my mind when I think about it, is “1984” by Geogre Orwell, and then other his books. People living in the world showed by te author are controlled on every aspect of their life. Maybe it’s not so obvious for so many people, but everything you put into the Internet is going to stay there forever. As Snowden case shown, our online activity can be monitored and used without our knowldege. Our personal data can be easily stolen as well if we don’t protect them in adequate way. Online life is easy, we can do everything sitting comfortably in front of computer, but we can’t forget to be carefull anytime we tape in our personal datas or pay online.
    There is also another matter to consider when looking at rise of the Internet- copyrights. Illegal films, music, books, software, if you want you can download anything for free. Piracy is one of the biggest matters that ruin utopian scenery of the Internet. Even though governments do a lot, they still can’t stop it. It’s mostly because opinion that downloading one song from illegal source is nothing bad is still popular even though platforms like Spotify do exist. It’s hard to artists to fight for copyfirghts, because the Internet is wide and copyright law is different in every single country. So called “internet freedom” is not possible to reach, we have to accept that and introduce regulations that will give us real feeling of freedom and safety in the web. We don’t know how the Internet will look like in next few years or decade, but we can introduce regulations that could give us feeling of real freedom and safety.

  13. The cyber space is open for everyone. Many people want to be famous and they are able to do everything just to get fame. Internet and life, exactly social life can be dangerous for young people because they are not resistant for criticism and it can be the reason for commiting suicide.

  14. I don’t know if there’s a coherent narrative for the internet being strictly a utopia or dystopia, there will always be elements of both. The internet is a vast, vast space that certainly cannot be monitored completely by any body. Various tools will be used in various spaces on the internet with varying degrees of freedom or invasiveness. The same as non-internet space: no one central power controls the world, and it is filled with regimes of varying degrees of power and freedom

  15. I would agree that there some problems of security in the Internet, especially when the wifi came up, so somebody could get into your laptop or phone through open network. Some of the bank accounts were hacked, also web sites of governments are also being hacked , this is a problem of private security and public too.


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