Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eben Moglen over Freedom vs the Cloud Log

Ik heb het al vaker gehad over het gevaar van de Cloud computing.

In dit interview wordt er een helder theoretisch kader geboden om dit gevaar te analyseren en gericht aan oplossingen te werken:

Over het gevaar:

The cloud is a vernacular name which we give to a significant improvement in the server-side of the web - the server, decentralised. It becomes, instead of a lump of iron, a digital appliance, which can be running anywhere. This means that for all practical purposes servers cease to be subject to significant legal control. They no longer operate in a policy-directed manner, because they are no longer iron, subject to territorial orientation of law. In a world of virtualised service provision, the server which provides the service, and therefore the log which is the result of the hidden service of surveillance, can be projected into any domain at any moment and can be stripped of any legal obligation pretty much equally freely.

This is a pessimal result.

GM: Was perhaps another major factor in this the commercialisation of the Internet, which saw power being vested in a company that provided services to the consumer?

EM: That's exactly right. Capitalism also has its architectural Bauplan, which it is reluctant to abandon. In fact, much of what the network is doing to capitalism is forcing it to reconsider its Bauplan via a social process which we call by the crappy name of dis-intermediation. Which is really a description of the Net forcing capitalism to change the way it takes. But there's lots of resistance to that, and what's interesting to all of us I suspect, as we watch the rise of Google to pre-eminence, is the ways in which Google does and does not - and it both does and does not - wind up behaving rather like Microsoft in the course of growing up. There are sort of gravitational propositions that arise when you're the largest organism in an ecosystem.

Over de Oplossing:

GM: So what's the solution you are proposing?

EM: If we had a real intellectually-defensible taxonomy of services, we would recognise that a number of the services which are currently highly centralised, and which count for a lot of the surveillance built in to the society that we are moving towards, are services which do not require centralisation in order to be technologically deliverable. They are really the Web repackaged.

Social networking applications are the most crucial. They rely in their basic metaphors of operation on a bilateral relationship called friendship, and its multilateral consequences. And they are eminently modelled by the existing structures of the Web itself. Facebook is free Web hosting with some PHP doodads and APIs, and spying free inside all the time - not actually a deal we can't do better than.

My proposal is this: if we could disaggregate the logs, while providing the people all of the same features, we would have a Pareto-superior outcome. Everybody – well, except Mr Zuckenberg - would be better off, and nobody would be worse off. And we can do that using existing stuff. Lees verder

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