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Books and Publications

Електронна Демокр@ция

This Bulgarian book on electronic democracy contains a Bulgarian translation of my essay “Bergeron’s Children” (Децата на Бержерон).

Така и не получих съобщение с текст „АМЕРИКА“. Не получих и такова с текст „ВЕЛИКОБРИТАНИЯ“. Има много съобщения, които ми се иска да бях получил, но това така и не стана. Желанието ми за една по-добра реалност обаче бе примесено със страха, че реалността, в която цял живот бях живял, е към своя край. През по-голямата част на 2011 г. сърцето ми подскачаше всеки път, когато телефонът ми звънеше.

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Redvolution: El poder del ciudadano conectado

A collection of essays from the Emopodera project, by Fundación Cibervoluntarios in Spain, which is working towards democratic empowerment using digital technology. From my chapter:

Societies are messy. They are complex. Wherever people meet, there are interpersonal relationships, resource feuds, social problems and political strife. All of this complexity is managed on regional and global levels, on municipal and international levels, by everybody, all of the time. As it turns out, not everybody is equally capable at manipulating this complexity to their advantage.

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The Future We Deserve

A collection of around 100 short essays by almost as many authors mapping out the ideological terrain of the future. Featuring chapters from Kevin Carson, Edmund Harriss, Marcin Jakubowski, Arthur Doohan, Patri Friedman, Steeve Wheeler, Catherine Lupton and a host of others, it provides a mind-boggling insight into what the future might hold. In the words of editor Vinay Gupta: “When I sat down and did the first reading, what I discovered stopped my mind for most of a year. I went from being confident that I understood the broad narrative outline of the future to being absolutely certain that I did not. Every page or two there was a deep insight, something that once-seen could not be unseen, and gradually my implicit, unacknowledged confidence and boldness about my understanding of the future faded away into a conscious unknowing.”

From my chapter:

Persecution or prosecution for exposing the truth, going against the grain of the reigning ideology or embarrassing the regime that implements it is not uncommon – it’s common enough that naming examples from countries such as China, Iran or Sri Lanka would be superfluous. Less commonly known examples are the western countries which have implemented state or corporate censorship in a plethora of forms, many based on such obscure legislation that the chilling effect goes unnoticed, many based on such complex networks of ownership and influence that the depth of the problem is unseen through the opaque surface. Government transparency is to an alarming extent mythical, and where it exists it is obscured by poor information management and rampant jargon.

As usual, the book is available under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license.

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Despatches from the Invisible Revolution

“From Wikileaks to the UK riots, Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, the headline events of the year all make their appearance, often from the perspective of those involved in or touched by them. Smári McCarthy writes about his experience as a Telecomix activist providing tech support to revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Keri Facer examines her responses after riots come to the street she has just moved into. But these images sit alongside the less dramatic events that make up the fabric of our lives, and between the two a pattern begins to emerge.”

The first book to come from the neo-conversationalist blog New Public Thinking, it collects essays from Dougald Hine, Eleanor Saitta, Noah Raford, Keri Facer, Keith Khan-Harris, Pamela McLean and others to explore and reflect on what 2011 meant to us and how it will shape our conversations and narratives in the years to come.

From my chapter:

But now 2011 is past, and I’m not sure what is going to happen. Some countries are calming down, while others are still ratcheting up. At the time, I often thought that 2011 would be the year of the revolution, where we fix our world; now I see that this wasn’t the year in which we win the wars, but it was the year in which we picked our fights. It was the year in which we all became Bergeron’s children, waking from repose, casting off docility, and becoming human again. Not everybody is there, yet. A lot of people still have their headbands on. A lot of people have so forgotten how to be free that it feels alien to them.

Published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike licence.

Book’s permanent page.

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Net Neutrality and other challenges for the future of the Internet

I co-wrote a paper titled Cloud Computing: Legal Issues in Centralized Architectures with Primavera de Filippi for the 2011 Internet, Politics and Law conference in Barcelona.

Abstract: “Cloud computing can be defined as the provision of computing resources on-demand over the Internet. Although this might bring a number of advantages to end-users in terms of accessibility and elasticity of costs, problems arise concerning the collection of personal information in the Cloud and the legitimate exploitation thereof. To the extent most of the content and software application are only accessible online, users have no longer control over the manner in which they can access their data and the extent to which parties can exploit it.”

Just as, after the industrial revolution, governments have been urged to exercise their authority for the creation of labour and consumer protection laws, today, during the digital revolution, governmental intervention has become necessary in order to promote civil liberties and to protect fundamental rights on the Internet, at least with regard to those risks which cannot be properly addressed through the adoption of clearer policies by cloud providers and better practices by users.

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Free Beer

Free Beer CoverFree Beer is a collection of essays I wrote along with Rasmus Fleischer, Jeremiah Foster, Stefan Larsson, Mike Linksvayer, Henrik Moltke, Nikolaj Hald Nielsen, Denis Jaromil Rojo, Johan Söderberg, Victor Stone and Ville Sundell. It was edited by Stian Rødven Eide.

My contribution to the book is titled “The End of (artificial) Scarcity” and is the last essay in the book. An excerpt:

Was industry not intended to replace the human hand with machines, transforming hard labour into a caretaker’s affair of relative ease, letting machines fulfil our every want and desire in plenty, letting us all lead comfortable lives of affluence? Or was the industrial revolution a purely technical issue, hackers of yore making things that did suave stuff just because they had a strong desire to solve technical problems? Doubtful. As technocentric as hacker culture tends to be, hackers have politics up to here. Look at the free software movement, look at Wikipedia. When technically minded individuals come together to address problems, be they technical or political or social, they do so with a fervour that makes people’s heads spin.

The book is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license, and is available for free download or for print-on-demand purchase from Lulu.com.

Download or purchase the book.