T H E N E T W O R K O B S E R V E R
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 7 JULY 1994
This month: The fantasy life of the wireless world
Tracking human activities
The net and democracy in Russia
More notes on privacy
Welcome to TNO 1(7).
This issue includes an article by Barbara Welling Hall about the
uses of the Internet for encouraging democracy, with particular
reference to a workshop about networking in Russia. Her message
is that the net itself does not dictate how it will be used.
Such views are known as "technological determinism", and they are
tremendously common in discussions of the net, which some people
assume will bring a decentralized world of liberty and others
assume will bring a centralized world of control. The answer is
that neither outcome is necessary; what happens depends on the
uses we make of the net, and on how we help to shape the evolving
The rest of this issue is devoted to a pair of articles by the
editor on related themes. The first is about the technological
imagination of the wireless world, that place where the
boundaries between physical things and the digital ether start
to blur. The second explores this theme further with regard to
the tracking of human activities by computers. This particular
article summarizes my contribution to a special issue of _The
Information Society_ entitled "The Digital Individual".
And of course we have the usual departments, including several
comments on my discussion of telemarketing in TNO 1(6).
Augmented reality and augmented fantasy.
Recently I spent a week driving around New Mexico. Even though
I was supposed to be on vacation, I kept finding myself thinking
about computers. Not just any computers -- I kept finding myself
inventing new things for computers to do in the wireless world
of the near future. Reflection on a couple of these "inventions"
leads to some tentative insights about the kind of imagination
that produces them.
When you're driving in New Mexico it's hard to keep track of the
police. For one thing, at least a third of the cars on the road
are white. (Is it to ward off the sun or to make the paint last
longer? The natives disagree.) My rental car was one of them,
and cars seemed to approach me from behind with extra caution and
deference before making a move to pass. But the cops actually
drive a bewildering variety of cars, with and without lights or
roof-racks. Many drive four-wheel-drive vehicles. Many vehicles
(e.g., from the US Forest Service) have lights and/or insignia
without (so far as I know) being able to issue speeding tickets.
Many private cars have big whip antennas like the cops used to
have; most of the cops don't have them.
Something can be done about this confusing mess. It's called
citizens' band radio. Back in the tedious 1970's, the US had
a craze for CB radios, as an especially cryptic celebration of
working-class solidarity during a time when independent truckers'
actual independence was really starting to erode. CB radios
allow truckers to maintain a kind of community and culture on
the road, and most particularly they let the truckers keep track
of the cops. Reflecting on this, I wondered what a cyberspace
version of the same thing would add or subtract. See a cop,
enter a report into the system, and the system warns others who
are plugged into it.
Such a system, of course, would probably not work. The computer
interface would eliminate all of the social glue that holds the
truckers together. Reporting a cop isn't just a database entry;
it's a tangible act of solidarity backed up with a voice and a
way of speaking and rituals of appreciation that reproduce the
sense of community while also decreasing the risks of driving the
absurd schedules that the trucking companies claim to regard as
Okay, so cut to another thought experiment. I was pulling onto
I-40 about an hour west of Albuquerque on a Sunday morning when
I thought I'd take a break from Rush Limbaugh's show. Scanning
across the AM dial, I came across a strange broadcast. Ricardo
Montalban, of all people, was giving a semi-dramatic lecture
about the history of western New Mexico, plainly addressed to
tourists entering the state on I-40. His speech went on for
several minutes and then repeated, a tape loop presumably set
up by the state government to encourage people to visit the
local tourist attractions, namely the Acoma and Laguna Indian
reservations. I found it quite odd to be listening to this,
since it is not normal for a radio broadcast to use indexical
terms ("here", "this area") that presume to know where the
listener is. In addition, Senor Montalban's speech rhythms were
different from anything normally heard on the radio. They were
the speech rhythms of a tour guide, or perhaps the narrator of a
film or video documentary.
This set me to thinking. Suppose my car had a GPS device that
knew its current location and a wireless packet data system.
Then it could download location-specific audio programming --
such as an audio tour guide. Depending on the resolution of the
location system (which could be augmented by roadside RF boxes),
the tour guide could give a running narration of the scenery as
I drove along. Would anyone want this? It's not far different
from the tape-recorded tours available in art galleries -- the
ones where you rent a tape player and headphones, pacing the tour
as you walk along by turning the tape player on and off.
Reflecting further on this, I realized that this session of
almost compulsive invention was part of a long series. Very
often when I see something in a landscape, or on a city street,
or in a shop, and wonder "what's that?", I find myself starting
to invent a device that could tell me the answer. Some of these
inventions are scary, like the one that scans a license plate
and uses widely available databases to pull up large amounts
of personal information about the car's owner. My motivation
in each case is simple curiosity, no different from anyone
else's. What the nearly-possible technology provides is a set of
fantasies about how my wishes for information could be answered,
as if by magic my mind could call out to the things of the world
and have them answer back.
I doubt if I'm alone in thinking this way. To the contrary,
I believe that such thinking is basic to the technological
imagination around computers in general and "cyberspace"
in particular. One concrete instantiation of this form of
imagination is something called "augmented reality". Imagine
wearing goggles with video displays in them that also allow you
to see your surroundings, much as a heads-up display provides
for a pilot. Then imagine that those goggles are attached to
position-trackers, just the way that virtual reality goggles
are, and finally imagine that your computer contains a model of
the visible world that allows it to display annotations on the
little video screens that overlay the visible things. (Robots
in the movies frequently employ these -- think of Terminator.)
The point of such systems is to close a gap between computer
representations and physical reality, and thereby, in intention
at least, to close a gap between *thought* and physical reality.
This kind of thinking has many distinctive qualities. One
of them is a desire to exhaustively list and catalog things, to
achieve some kind of closure that repairs the open-endedness of
the world. I happen to have here a report in the 3/9/94 issue of
the (San Francisco) SF Weekly (page 16) about a Hypercard product
called the "Digital Restaurant Guide", which is a directory of
every single restaurant in San Francisco. (To secure a copy for
yourself, it says you can call Apple at +1 (408) 974-5050.) The
guide is kept up to date by the programmer and his friends, who
have constituted themselves as the Precision Dining Association.
Priceless hacker humor or what? I don't mean to disrespect these
people; I appreciate the joke as well as anyone. My point is
that it is not *normal* to do such things.
In a thousand ways, applied computing is erasing the boundaries
between the insides and the outsides of computers. Increasingly
we encounter compound entities, consisting of a physical object
or activity and the "shadow" it casts inside a computer. My next
article will explore this theme in greater depth, with particular
reference to me "capture" of human activities.
Privacy and computer-mediated activity.
Ideas about privacy are, among other things, cultural phenomena.
They have complicated histories, they affect the way we see
things in the present day, and they change. As I was reading
the literature on privacy, I was struck at the difference between
legal theory, which focuses largely on cases involving single
individuals losing control of single items of information in
encounters with other individuals or organizations, and the
literature on computers-and-privacy issues, which draws heavily
on images of Big Brother and the Panopticon. These latter images
-- visual metaphors for privacy -- are the most pervasive way of
formulating fears about privacy, at least in this country. They
obviously draw on literary symbols and on historical experiences,
largely in other countries but to a significant extent here as
well, of the secret police and its network of informants and
Unfortunately, neither set of ideas about privacy has much to
do with how computers work. Computers work with large amounts
of information, not just isolated facts, and computers do not
operate by looking at things. Instead, the central metaphors of
computational practice are linguistic. Computers use "languages"
to represent things. These aren't natural human languages, of
course, but they build on mathematical theories of syntax and
semantics originally invented for the study of natural languages
(by Chomsky and others). Computers, then, don't watch things;
they *listen* to things -- they *parse* things. And if a
computer is going to support a human activity, according to the
conventional conception of computers and computing, it must be
able to parse that activity. This is the technical aspect of an
important chapter in the history of ideas: linguistic metaphors
for human activity. Such metaphors are found in many areas,
for example in artificial intelligence and cognitive science,
with their notions of "planning" and of "plans" as sequences of
instructions written in "plan languages".
Linguistic metaphors for human activity show up over and over in
the history of automation. Frank Gilbreth and his associates,
for example, invented elaborate symbolic languages for the
purpose of representing work-activities in terms of a vocabulary
of basic units. The systems analysts of the early days of
applied computing also employed such languages to map the
information-flows in a work setting -- with an eye to automating
the work by reproducing those same information-flows inside
a computer. And when designing computers for people to use,
computer people begin by articulating what might be called a
"grammar of action" -- that is, a "vocabulary" of basic, simple
actions and a quasi-linguistic grammar of the ways in which those
basic actions might be assembled into sequences.
But two problems arise. First, such grammars are always
idealizations of a more complex reality. And second, simply
programming such a grammar into a computer does not mean that
the computer can parse the human activities that go on around
it. Installing a computer within a human activity-system,
then, frequently has an element of social engineering to it: the
activity must be *instrumented* in such a way that the computer
can "capture" each of the basic actions, thereby maintaining,
in real time, a representation of the activity. Such
representations need not be exhaustive -- indeed they could not
be -- but a computer can only compute with those aspects of an
activity that it can represent, and it can only represent those
aspects of an activity that it can capture.
This phenomenon, whose roots run deep into the very constitution
of computing as a concept and a professional practice, is
suddenly growing much more important. A wide variety of emerging
technologies allows human activities to be instrumented in new
ways, not necessarily tethered to a keyboard and video display.
Wireless data communication systems, for example, allow trucking
companies to capture the workings of their trucks while they
are out on the road. Elaborate bar-code schemes allow warehouse
computers to automatically keep track of materials, or else to
log transactions relating to those materials that might take
place through human activities (for example, unloading a truck
or acknowledging receipt of a shipment). And Automatic Vehicle
Identification systems make it possible to collect truck and
automobile tolls without stopping to hand over money: a radio
along the side of the road "pings" a transponder in a passing
vehicle, learns the identity of the transponder (or, in some
proposals, the actual Vehicle Identification Number), and debits
As with many technological innovations, these new schemes can be
used for both good and ill. Privacy advocates are understandably
concerned about the vast amounts of data that such systems can
collect. Understanding the intellectual structure of these
innovations permits us to understand the issues somewhat more
deeply. For example, whereas visual metaphors presuppose
that activities under surveillance are not affected by the
surveillance as such (as opposed to measures that people
might take to avoid the surveillance), attention to the actual
professional practices of computer people draws our attention to
the ways in which computerization actually *reorganizes* those
activities to enable computers to track them. The reorganization
of an activity may be as simple as attaching an instrument
to something or someone, or it may involve a large-scale
restructuring of the activity that divides it into discrete,
identifiable, parseable pieces.
Research into the intellectual structure of computer work also
makes plain how difficult it will be to escape the trade-offs
between computer support for activities and threats to privacy.
How else might computers work, and how else might computer
professionals work? Alternative models are available in
the participatory design movement in Scandinavia, and in the
Internet. In each case, the strong evolutionary trend has been
away from supporting an individual's activity by tracking it,
and in favor of supporting a community's activity by providing
a medium for communication, community memory, and the active,
flexible interpretation of the formal structures that a
computer uses. These developments have been driven by intuition
and by computer users who happen to have the power to reject
systems they find too constraining. Future research into the
intellectual structure of computer work might help encourage
these developments in a more conscious and systematic way,
with the ultimate goal of formulating a democratic practice of
technology -- not just a democratic practice of *choices* about
technologies, but a democratic practice of the devices themselves
and of the human activities within which they are embedded.
For more details on these ideas and their implications, see a
forthcoming special issue of _The Information Society_, volume
10 number 2, June 1994, entitled "The Digital Individual".
Electronic networking and democracy.
Barbara Welling Hall
Department of Politics
This article examines the relationship between electronic
networking and democracy by proceeding from the general to the
specific. The "general" is an examination of the assumption that
the two (i.e. networking and democracy) are more than compatible,
indeed, synonymous. The "specific" is a recent international
symposium, involving primarily Russians and Americans, in
discussions and project-design in the area of gender relations
and environmental degradation.
Statements that electronic networking offers primarily, if
not only, boons to democracy are now as prolific as gophers.
Previous issues of TNO have addressed such assertions directly.
It is worth elaborating that such technocratic faith is not
exclusively a phenomenon riding the cusp of the new millennium.
The assumption that electronic networking (or, more broadly,
information technology) and democracy are logical partners is a
product of the modern belief that knowledge is power.
In his trenchant examination of the origins of "the modern age",
COSMOPOLIS: THE HIDDEN AGENDA OF MODERNITY (University of Chicago
Press: 1990), philosopher and historian Stephen Toulmin notes
that one of the most enduring quests of the early moderns was to
create a "universal system of characters" capable of expressing
"all our thoughts." As Leibniz put it in 1677:
This language will be very difficult to construct, but very
easy to learn. It will be quickly accepted by everybody on
account of its great utility and its surprising facility,
and it will serve wonderfully in communication among various
peoples (cited in Toulmin, 104).
The incentive to derive this universal language was based on the
received "lesson" of the 17th century that in the absence of a
language that existed above the fray of the oral, the particular,
the local, and the timely, widespread slaughter was the most
likely result. A universal language exchanging generalized and
generalizable information would empower human beings to bring
order and harmony to the social world. After citing Leibniz,
Toulmin suggests that his most direct heirs are contemporary
A corollary of the modern belief that "knowledge equals power" is
a fundamental precept of American freedom of speech, that in the
marketplace of ideas, the Truth will win out. Thus, by providing
greater access to the marketplace, i.e. electronic networking,
information technology has been regarded not only a midwife for
new democratic processes, but a handmaiden of the Truth.
Finally, the assumed correlation between electronic networking
and democracy may be attributed to a byproduct of information
technology that is quite visible to this observer. Electronic
networking provides heretofore unavailable (or unattainable)
social fora for the isolated individual, the introvert, and the
hyperliterate (and I include myself in each of these categories).
Electronic communication does indeed remove some of the barriers
to public speech that are known to intimidate many speakers.
The ability to be a "writer" rather than a "speaker" and still
contribute to interactive public discourse must be counted among
the liberating characteristics of the new technology.
THE NETWORK OBSERVER is full of examples of the electronic
birth of communities and the successes of these communities
in addressing the expressed needs of their members. The
organizing committee of the recent symposium, WOMEN, POLITICS,
AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION (Moscow, June 1-3, 1994) have similar
stories to tell. Virtually every aspect of the symposium was
enhanced by the availability of electronic networking. Calls for
papers were distributed on listservs that have (a few) members
on several different continents. Participants were located
via electronic bulletin boards and conferences such as EcoNet.
Advance information and questions and answers about travel to
Russia were handled by e-mail, for those participants with access
to it. The asynchronic nature of e-mail communication enabled
organizers in the United States and in Russia to stay in constant
communication with each other without losing any sleep. Given
the assistance of an electronic matchmaker, epidemiologists
in a small Russian town have made contact with researchers
at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
in Cincinnati. With some luck, they will be able to engage
in mutually beneficial projects studying the effects of PCBs
on reproductive health. The symposium has generated at least
a dozen similar projects that will likely be sustained by access
to and participation in electronic communities. Members of the
organizing committee have decided to publish the symposium's
proceedings electronically rather than in hard copy since
electronic publication will be (a) quicker, and (b) subject to
wider distribution and retrieval. While unimaginable just a few
years ago, it will now surprise few readers to learn that one of
the project directors and the program chair of the symposium did
not meet in person until the symposium opened in Moscow, although
they were in daily e-mail contact with each for the preceding
eight months. In retrospect, I can scarcely remember how, just
seven years ago, I helped to organize an analogous international
event in England without access to either fax or e-mail.
That's the good news. Well, not quite all. Participants in
the symposium, as participants in other new projects in the CIS,
have demonstrated that Russians and other citizens of the former
Soviet Union are hungry for access to electronic communities.
This hunger is understandable and it may, indeed, be grossly
unfair to write of the dangers of infoglut in an article
that should highlight the stultifying effects of the lack of
information on the Russian populace and Russian social movements.
Nonetheless, despite understandable enthusiasm for new technology
and the tremendous achievements of GLASNET (a wonderful acronym
that collapses the correlation of networking and democracy into
a single memorable word), there are problems ahead that will be
only aggravated if they are not acknowledged.
Rather than outline the underside of electronic networking
at length here, I'll refer diehard readers to my article,
"Information Technology and Global Learning for Sustainable
Development: Promise and Problems" in ALTERNATIVES 19 (1994),
99-132. In a nutshell, as I put it in that article, "[w]hile
the interactive aspects of new communication technologies
facilitate a positional approach to learning, inequitable access
to these technologies at present and in the foreseeable future
profoundly diminishes the diversity of opinions that are vetted
electronically. Electronic communities may provide genuine
benefits to isolated individuals, but if these communities
continue to be presented as providing global rather than partial
access to political discourse, this promise may be squandered.
Finally, although freedom of information may hamper some
dangerous actions, more information alone is not a substitute
for the development of critical or compassionate faculties.
Data may reveal the existence of injustice, but data alone rarely
generate the political will either to make difficult trade-offs
or to discover creative solutions to perennial problems." As
an organizer of the symposium described above, I would be amiss
not to note that regardless of their hard work and innovative
thinking, those participants who lacked access to computer
networks for either financial or linguistic reasons have already
been left behind (although not entirely abandoned) in follow-up
In other words, the correlation of knowledge with power
may become even more misleading in the electronic age as we
literally unplug the technologically underequipped from our
information networks. The assumption that the Truth will
"win out" (aside from porting the notion that there is such a
thing as uncontestable single version of Truth) is based on a
prior assumption of equitable access to dialogue that does not
withstand scrutiny. While electronic networking does, indeed,
enfranchise some individuals and groups who have not contributed
yet to the creation of democratic societies, these people are
already fairly privileged when considered in a global context.
From all of this, I do not draw the conclusion that electronic
networking is either (a) an essential adjunct to democracy or (b)
harmful to democracy. The point, as others more eloquent than I
have noted frequently, is that computers are ambivalent tools of
communication. At their best they are phronetic tools that will
make it easier to apply our collective wisdom to the solution of
practical problems. At their worst they are alluring instruments
for trivial pursuits. Obviously, democracy will be better served
by the former.
This month's recommendations.
JoAnne Yates, Control through Communication: The Rise of System
in American Management, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1989. A fascinating account of information technology
in the development of the modern corporation: early copying
technology, the evolution of desks, genres of documents, upward
and downward movement of standardized information, the management
procedures used by the early railroads, and all kinds of great
stuff like that. It's very well worthwhile.
Cynthia Cockburn, Machinery of Dominance: Women, Men, and
Technical Know-How, Evanston: Northwestern University Press,
1988. A study of how the work associated with various kinds
of machines gets to being labeled as "men's work" and "women's
work". Cockburn argues that these labels are largely arbitrary,
with no underlying logic past gender-based competition for the
more desirable jobs. She observes jobs changing gender as the
machines change, she observes new machines provoking contests
over their gendering, and she listens to the often incoherent
arguments about why certain jobs are men's work. I'd like to
think we can do better.
Philip Mirowski, More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social
Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1989. A polemic from a physicist turned
economist to the effect that the concepts of "equilibrium" in
classical economics were copied directly from physics as a way
of claiming a scientific status for economics. Polemics aside,
this is one of the most sophisticated historical studies of a
particular scientific metaphor.
Free Associations. This is a consistently fascinating British
journal of psychoanalysis that combines up-to-date exploration
within the object-relations and group dynamics traditions with
a variety of social and political perspectives. For example,
the most recent issue I have here, volume 4 number 2, includes
articles on doing psychoanalysis in secret in Czechoslovakia,
post-traumatic stress disorder among victims of organized
violence in Bulgaria, the concept of "lies" in feminist therapy,
and psychodynamic observations of the admissions ward of a
psychiatric hospital. Quarterly, published by Free Association
Books, 26 Freegrove Road, London N7 9RQ UK. In the US the
journal is $30/year for individuals from Guilford Publications,
72 Spring Street, New York NY 10012 USA.
Company of the month.
This month's company is:
4030-1 West Braker Lane
Austin, Texas 78759
+1 (512) 339-8188, fax +1 (512) 339-1299
During the whole long debate over Caller ID (mechanisms that
digitally transmit your phone number when you make a call), the
strange myth has arisen that Caller ID is almost exclusively for
residential use. The idea is that it's for privacy protection
in cases of harassing phone calls. But this doesn't explain
the incredible lengths to which the equipment manufacturers
went to convince regulators to make it difficult for customers
to override Caller ID. Caller ID is actually not very good
for tracking harassing calls (except for dumb harassers). What
it *is* good for, though, is collecting marketing information.
Rochelle Communications makes software for computerized phone
systems that capture incoming Caller ID information and use it
to index various kinds of databases. Dozens of applications are
in the works, and many proponents of such systems see them as
the first foot-in-the-door interconnecting the phone system with
computer systems. Look for more such schemes in the future.
To educate yourself on the general shape of this future, you
might wish to contact Rochelle Communications for their product
information. I do not, however, recommend that you harass them.
Only get the literature if you're genuinely interested in reading
it. Thanks a lot.
My short article on "Orwellian privacy" in TNO 1(6) includes an
embarrassing bit of foggy reasoning. I said:
If a successful sale brings in a hundred dollars in profit,
it's worth calling anybody for whom the statistical likelihood
of a sale is greater than roughly 1/500. That means that I
will get 500 calls for each call that offers something that I
actually want to buy.
This is bogus in at least three different ways. The first is a
simple matter of arithmetic. If the likelihood of a sale on any
given unsolicited sales call is 1/500, then we can compute the
number of calls that must be received before the likelihood of
sales reaches a given probability, say 50%, as follows:
( 1 - --- ) = 0.5
In this case, n = 346, meaning that you need to get 346 calls
before it becomes 50% likely that one of them will lead to a
sale. For a 90% likelihood, 1150 calls are required. This
isn't a major difference, of course, but still.
Second, Larry Preuss <email@example.com> kindly pointed out that the
marketing company's estimate of 1/500 likelihood of your wishing
to accept their proposition doesn't necessarily mean that you'll
actually ever buy anything. Maybe, after all, you refuse to buy
stuff advertised through unsolicited calls at all. He's right, of
course. I was simplifying by assuming that the 1/500 probability
was accurate (whatever that means).
Third, so far as a given telemarketing company can predict,
people are distributed from 0 to 1 in terms of their likelihood
of accepting the best pitch that can be fashioned for them. One
group might be 1/500 likely to buy and another group might be 1/2
likely to buy. The number of calls you get depends on where you
fall in a whole batch of companies' distributions.
I could have avoided all of these headaches by simply saying:
If a successful sale brings in a hundred dollars in profit,
it's worth calling anybody for whom the statistical likelihood
of a sale is greater than roughly 1/500. A company in this
situation will be willing to make hundreds of calls for each
one that succeeds.
Now, one reader argued that the persistence of unsolicited
sales calls means that the market, and indeed large numbers of
consumers, disagree with me about the evils of privacy invasion.
But this argument is flawed. A telemarketing company is willing
to make numerous unsolicited sales calls for each one that
results in a sale. This incredible inefficiency is made possible
by a market externality -- that is, a cost not borne by the party
inducing it -- namely, the hassle of answering the phone and
listening to the beginning of the pitch. Whereas a responsible
storekeeper leaves people alone unless they come in looking
for a sales pitch, a telemarketer places phone calls that large
numbers of people would not answer at all if they knew they were
salespitches and not friends or family members. This is indeed
the market in action -- driving society powerfully toward maximum
inefficiency through its capacity to displace its costs onto
innocent parties. In this sense, telemarketing is like pollution
-- pollution of the quotidian social space whose only connective
tissue is ordinary politeness and whose only defense is organized
By the way, be on the lookout for another form of corporate
obfuscation, this time around the word "telemarketing". I
haven't got a specific instance in front of me, but the general
idea is as follows: "Complaints about telemarketing are based
on a stereotype. Sure there's that insignificant fringe that
disturbs you while you're eating dinner. But telemarking
includes a wide variety of activities, from customer service
to complaint lines to home shopping to taxi dispatch, and we
wouldn't want these good things to be damaged by a misguided
attempt to chase a few irresponsible oufits." (That's fairly
close, but I can never quite reproduce the soothingly reasonable
tone that pervades these exquisitely engineered clouds of
rhetorical fog.) This is an absolutely standard rhetoric tactic
in PR: adjust the meanings of contested words so as to hide the
offending phenomena under a pile of other things. The effect
is to minimize the harm by making the harmful things seem small
relative to some other things. Never mind that I've been hounded
half to death over the years by unsolicited and misleading sales
calls from tiny, obscure fringe outfits like MCI and Citicorp.
Some people complained that TNO 1(6) contained both an article
crying for privacy ("Orwellian privacy") and an article that
seems to promote invasions of privacy ("The net gives new life
to journalism" by Marsha Woodbury). I wish I had commented on
this. The line between personal privacy and the public's right
to know is complicated, and by including both articles I meant
to promote discussion of it.
Seth Ross at Albion Books tells me that they have not in fact
trademarked the word "netiquette" but the distinctive logo on the
cover of Virginia Shea's book that includes the word. That's not
what it says on the book's cover page and copyright page, but I'm
sure he's right.
CPSR's terrific Web pages are now available. Aim your WWW client
(Mosaic, Lynx, etc) at http://www.cpsr.org/home
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a new gopher of useful legal
and practical stuff about privacy. Telnet to teetot.acusd.edu
(or 188.8.131.52) and log in as "privacy".
Check out the compendium of community networking success stories
that Madeline Gonzalez <firstname.lastname@example.org> at the
Boulder Community Network is maintaining. Aim your WWW client at
You can also find an interesting sampler of community networking
projects at http://http2.sils.umich.edu/ILS/community.html, and
the Center for Civic Networking has a new gopher server, which you
can check out by saying "gopher gopher.civic.net 2400" at a Unix
prompt or at URL gopher://gopher.civic.net:2400/
Check out The Ada Project on women and computing. Aim your Web
client at http://www.cs.yale.edu/HTML/YALE/CS/HyPlans/tap/tap.html
Here, thanks to Tim Jenkin <email@example.com> are the directions
to get materials from the African National Congress:
ftp wn.apc.org [or worknet.apc.org]
password: [your e-mail address]
dir (to display directory list)
cd [directory of your choice]
ls [or dir] (to display list/directory of files)
get [desired filename] [filename...]
Finally, check out the Mother Jones web pages. Aim your web
client at http://www.mojones.com/motherjones.html
Phil Agre, editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles +1 (310) 825-7154
Los Angeles, California 90095-1520 FAX 206-4460
Copyright 1994 by the editor. You may forward this issue of The
Network Observer electronically to anyone for any non-commercial
purpose. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
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