Under the keyboard ... planet
Tuesday 18 May 2010, by
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We are witnessing the advent of cyber warriors, cyber citizen of the global networks, armed to the teeth by the technology. When the crisis, states, international institutions and the G20 to have any authority on the dynamics of globalization, cyber warrior sees his emergence, gain strength and structure. Why? How? Because technological change makes him a new global player. Because the combination of PCs and Smartphones, gives new weapons to act globally. In developed countries today and in the world tomorrow, we have weapons universal mobile weapons of mass cooperation, enabling us to communicate, work and organize ourselves globally, to live globalization without suffering. We have not yet realized the full extent of this development, especially for the younger generation who know no problem browsing, social or community networks and intelligent applications. Not the individual has had such opportunities to influence the world, with a setback, height and reach incredible. At a time of globalization and the crisis of the inability of states and international institutions is the cyber warrior that will answer some of the future. This article explores the foundations of this decisive change.
1. Introduction: the world from top to bottom 2. The universal weapon 3. Cyber warriors 4. The assumption Big Brother 5. Conclusion: In retrospect, the height and amplitude
1. Introduction: the world upward
In my previous columns on globalization, especially in an article initulé "The bottleneck"I have amply demonstrated why, despite the efforts of states and international institutions, despite the G20 meetings, any form of global governance seems impossible in the short term. Because the world no longer seems to work from top to bottom, to we do not simply suffer the effects of globalization, we must start from the bottom up, that is to say, the actions of individuals, cyber citizens, and better yet, cyber warriors.
The cyber citizen is a person who uses the Internet daily to work, to learn, communicate, buy or distraction. Cyber Warrior is a more sophisticated variant of cyber citizen. He is more experienced and more qualified, more sophisticated uses PCs, specialized software and social networks and community to accomplish its tasks and, more importantly, he thinks he can influence the world independently, according to its ideals.
Technological change has made every Internet experienced a new global player. According to Forrester Research, there were approximately 1.5 billion Internet users around the world in 2009 and 2012, 800 million new entrants, particularly in Asia, will be on the canvas, or 2.3 billion total. Excluding IT professionals, imagine that 10% of current Internet users are very experienced, this means that there are now 150 million "surfers" who control Internet browsing, their office environment, social networks and community and on average, a dozen specialized software, according to their skills. These cyber warriors are able to operate globally from their PC and even from the most sophisticated smartphones. And the number of Internet users, global citizens, will only increase, especially with young people who have mastered easily navigating between sites or specialized community between blogs and social networks, between desktop applications and software intelligent. Moreover, these surfers have universal weapons (powerful machines, intelligent software, network support, etc..) Mass cooperation that enable us to communicate, work and organize ourselves globally to live without globalization endured.
2. The universal weapon
The computer has become a universal weapon. We have not yet realized the significance of this development that radically changed our lives. To become aware of its speed and its amplitude, let us quickly back.
Until the 1950s, electronics and computing remain more or less confined to science and applications mainly drained by the defense in the United States.
In the 60s, the first mass application of electronic automation of production, which will evolve through the blistering competition among businesses. Today, virtually automated factories exist and it is expected that once the investment problems solved, they will present much in question: first, the social dumping of developing countries and, finally, the concept of manual work in industry, which will evolve into a dimension of increasing quality.
In the 70s, the evolution of computing will allow the connection of global financial markets in real time. This is the beginning of the financialization of the global economy (as we know it today), resulting interdependence of global markets and speed of action previously unthinkable. Interdependence, at best, for a better allocation of financial resources in the developing world, at worst, for the formation of financial bubbles and stock market crises of the outbreak!
The 80 will be marked by three phenomena: business side, the automation of intellectual labor, thanks to expert systems side individuals, for a small minority of fans, the beginnings of the micro computer; side professionals, software for manage trades computer.
1. With expert systems, entire fields of knowledge are incorporated into sophisticated software that facilitates, and sometimes automate the decision-making. With the widespread use of these systems, we are aware: anything that is repetitive in the intellectual processes, will sooner or later automated, with the implied consequences for millions of jobs. This time, they are more manual workers but managers who are on the spot.
2. The micro-computer, born in the late 1970s, will remain limited to a small circle of insiders in the 1980s, then deploy massively in the 1990s, both in the office of firms than in households in developed countries, then in the 2000s, in the upper and middle layers of the entire world population, a process facilitated by the rise of the PC.
3. The first deployment factor of this micro computer in the late 80s, is the appearance of software to manage individual trades by computer, and this in areas as diverse as research, industry, engineering, finance, architecture, medicine, commerce, crafts, art, literature, training, creation and business management, etc.. Apple is the first company to enter this crénau.
In the 90s, three other major events extend the scope of previous innovations, the first is the revolution in the business office, the second opening to the public Internet and third, the emergence of mobile phones. 1. The evolution of the office provides businesses with the first track of tasks and the secretariat, and, with the 2000s, the creation of internal networks for the enterprise (intranet), e-commerce. Mega-databases can both store the memory of the company, to conduct operations "marketing surgery. The personal computer is a generic tool in most occupations. 2. The birth of Internet networks that will lead back to 50 years with the Rand project in the United States, then with the Arpanet network, which hosted a new connection every 20 days in 1981. By 1976, the International Telecommunication Union launches the first network with the X25 standard, which allows companies to connect. In ’77, the development of TCP / IP, then Usenet, allowing the sending of emails and text development forums, will herald the opening of public Internet in the 90s. Initially quite confidential, the Internet will gradually become the global nervous system that we know today. 3. It also appears in the 90 mobile phones. In less than 10 years, the mobile phone causes a revolution in global telecommunications, particularly in developing countries that bypass the traditional telephone to go directly to the laptop. Since 2004, the high-end mobile phone offers virtually a handheld (contact management, planning, appointments) or synchronized wirelessly with the desktop PC. It acts as a camera, camera, voice recorder, GPS, etc.. It connects wirelessly to the Internet, all for minimal weight bearing in a pocket and with a range of use than enough for one day professional. The current smartphone also growing hundreds of downloadable applications and are progessive disappear technological boundaries between mobile phones and mini PC ultraportable.
In the early 2000s, three new factors will accelerate the development of new technologies: a boom in the digital industry, the mass democratization of personal computing and the spread of broadband.
1. The late 90s and early 2000s will be marked by a phase of global industrial and technological growth. The real change is realized by digital an array of consumer products that grow worldwide: computers, video games and consoles, mobile phones, CD players and DVD recorders, digital television and associated services, etc..
2. So many products that initiate an explosion and a global consumerist mass democratization of personal computing, both in developed countries, where they enter the low-income households than in the rest of the world, where they also become the prerogative of the upper and middle classes.
3. At the same time, the spread of broadband connections and wireless connections (WLAN, Bluetooth) are exploding Internet usage, online shopping and the numerous activities offered by the Web.
From 2005, these phenomena will lead to the formation of a cyber-world to the rhythm of two interactive web (blogs, wikis, social networks, open source software) until the semantic Web 3 (computational linguistics, managing electronic documentation , speech interfaces, machine translation, intelligent agents). The canvas a true digital continent whose accelerated growth is described in "Netbrain" by Denis Ettighoffer (Dunod, 2008). It describes what digital continent is already the largest market in the world, which has the highest rate of growth that creates more jobs, attracting greater investment.
In 50 years the world has changed, it has doubled in a cyber world with its network of citizens, communities, social networks, sites of companies, states and international institutions. It is on this planet digital cyber warriors will become global players in their own right.
3. Cyber warriors
The cyber citizen is potentially a cyber warrior. Not a member acting for a centralized organization, but a warrior acting independently or by joining freely and more or less steadily to a support network for a particular citizen action.
The first cyber warriors were undoubtedly the hackers were able to show that individuals were isolated for the first time in history, able to deal effectively with the most powerful global organizations. Hackers are divided into several categories: among computer security experts (white hat or white hat) who use their skills within a legal framework, and scammers (black hat) that act to make illegal profits from their skills, it is an intermediate category (gray hat), the most numerous, whose goal is the achievement involving computer systems to enter the best kept. The exploits of these cyber warriors are already legendary: the most famous of them have managed to penetrate the systems of the largest private companies, banks and institutions most guarded the most protected, including the FBI or the Pentagon.
Attention is not here to apologize for hackers, cyber warriors, this article describes the emergence, in a legal act. It is simply to show that at the time when major organizations see their power decline under the impact of globalization, the power of cyber warriors, cyber citizens increases.
The effectiveness of cyber warrior is multiplied when it acts in networks. This is true for hackers, for example, the famous German group Chaos Computer Club, or for citizens’ movements, for example, the anti-globalization. Again, this is not to debate for or against the alter-globalization, but to show how communities of cyber citizens have organized themselves through the Internet to overcome global organizations powerful and determined.
In the late 90s, the first cases where the organization of anti-globalization through the Internet will play a key role are: the fight against the agreement of the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) negotiated in the OECD and the Battle of Seattle, brought against the conduct of the Millennium Round of the World Trade Organization.
In 1997, anti-globalization mobilization against the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The MAI aims to create for the companies ’rights’ global enabling them to invest around the world, bypassing state control through a rule of non-discrimination against foreign investors. Private companies would then have the means to act without taking into account the will of States or their citizens. The MAI is being negotiated discreetly under the auspices of the OECD, is under intense media pressure by the anti-globalization. The Internet provides two new ways to act anti-globalization. The first is to conduct an intense media battle of termination on the Web. Overwhelmed technology, traditional media are obliged to follow in order not to lag behind and, more importantly, keep their market shares. Internet also provides a means of flexible and decentralized organization with the myriad of anti-globalization groups, a form of organization not to disperse with a few battalions of security forces. Exposed to pressure, the MAI was finally buried by the OECD in 1998, after France had broken off the negotiations unilaterally.
It is the same for the WTO negotiations: in November 1999, the Seattle meeting is subject to a global hype fueled by a series of opposition protesters who invaded both the streets of Seattle and images broadcast media. The WTO meeting is also hamstrung by internal opposition, mainly between the U.S. and Europe, and it can not move forward with plans to liberalize agriculture, services and intellectual property. Opposition to the WTO meeting brings together the most diverse groups: ATTAC, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Global Citizens, Doctors Without Borders, Survival International, the Observatory of Globalization, unions of farmers, larger groups informal fight against GMOs, etc.. The Seattle plays a catalytic role in giving these groups the opportunity to organize the world through the Internet, and collect all the opposition which had hitherto functioned local and dispersed. The thwarting of the Millennium Round of the WTO has identified three fundamental things: first, that the struggle of anti-globalization has taken a global dimension, then, that alternative world have found their strategy is to use the Internet and media for a transparent debate and require democratic legitimacy of decisions taken by international institutions and finally, a slogan that sums up the view shared by all groups: "The world is not a commodity".
There are other examples, the cyber terrorism and cyber mafia, I will not deal with, first, because they are outside the scope of this article and, secondly, not to sink into Police paranoia. Let’s just say we now know that the Internet is, unfortunately, a particularly effective communication platform for terrorists and mafia all sides but in front of these criminals, the mission of the intelligence services and Computer security is meaningless.
It must also specify that the individual first example cited above (hackers), or both following (the alter-globalization), hatched in a period that we can describe as the antiquity of the Internet. Tomorrow, with open cyber networks worldwide, two billion of cyber citizens and two or three hundred million cyber warriors, things will have an entirely different scale. I will give other examples with current in my next article.
4. The assumption Big Brother
A skeptic, preferably a little paranoid, might well argue that states and their institutions, especially their security services designed to monitor the Internet, could hinder the freedom of cyber citizens for reasons more or less justifiable, there even in legitimate pretexts: the fight against software piracy, cyber crooks cons or the mafia, against racist or pornographic sites, or against illegal downloading, etc.. All these debates to come from elsewhere in France flush with the vote of the web laws. In short, all pretexts can be used to legitimate institutions to limit the freedoms of cyber citizen. This is the classic paranoid view: big brother is watching you!
I think this assumption is not relevant for at least three reasons: First, in a world given to the media that operate in real time, authoritarian attempts are increasingly difficult to maintain, then, is still true on the Internet because of its nature decentralized network, and finally, because new entities, cyber paradise will make these efforts even more difficult.
We know that the media played a key role in the decline of authoritarian regimes that can be sustained by controlling information. Among the many recent examples, we can take one of the fall of the former USSR and the convulsions of Iran, the Khomeini revolution to the recent protests against President Ahmadinejad. The example of the former USSR has become a textbook case known. For many years the USSR was able to keep its people into believing that the horrible capitalist system, life was very hard for the people. Before 1985, this drama had already struggling to keep from the moment the Soviets, first and foremost dissidents, could listen to Western radio stations. From the 80s, satellite TV antennas have made the problem insoluble and, from 1985 the policy of glasnost (openness) Gorbachev will amplify the flow of information that will accelerate the motivation of Soviet and lead to the fall of the USSR. The example of Iran shows three phases. First, before 1979, Khomeini’s sermons, recorded on audio K7, targeting the poorest class, illiterate, will play a key role in the preparation of the Khomeini revolution of 79. Then in the 90s, after the Iran-Iraq war, Iranian state attempts to control the satellite TV antennas that allowed a portion of the upper classes to escape the regime’s propaganda, you lose. Finally, during the recent demonstrations, the Iranian state attempts to control the students who publish on the Internet for information and pictures of events taken with mobile phones: it will not succeed despite the trials and imprisonment.
The Internet will make the control of information even more difficult for states and large organizations. Even though it is difficult to fight against the media, it is possible to identify and put pressure on them, like all businesses or centralized institutions. But how to fight against thousands or millions of individuals who can maintain their anonymity by creating emails under pseudonyms and browse from Internet cafes or other public connections, and can act autonomously, without central organization. An individual, even a hacker warned, or group, may still be trapped by security experts, but hundreds, thousands, millions, or even more?
The final reason it is always very difficult to control the Internet lies in the economic competition has just manifested in a new form with the proposed creation of the first computer paradise in Iceland. Since February 16, Iceland’s parliament is studying a project to protect communications, information sources and to prohibit Internet filtering to "guarantee freedom of expression and information" by law. Iceland says it wants to create an ideal environment for freedom of the media, publishers, organizations defending human rights, but also for startups and databases.
The reader will excuse my bad mind, but I have doubts about the official high moral motives, and I’m not alone. First, as explained Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law at Harvard, specializing in digital rights. "Unless the leaders of the media themselves are ready to move to Iceland, I do not see how far those protections can go (...) A State may still require someone on their territory accountable or disclose information if he wants to avoid a fine or jail. " (Article in Nouvel Observateur, 16/02/10). On the other hand, the same article, said that the financial crisis has revealed that the collapse of Iceland and its financial system was to corruption and collusion between banks and political parties.
I think especially after his bankruptcy, Iceland sought new sources of income and that his statements on freedom cover mainly an attempt to push up the servers to settle on its territory. You can also bet that this is not the media or associations that it will precipitate first, but all companies on the Net that may have legal problems in their respective countries. Let us hope that Iceland, if it adopts this law, become the world capital of porn sites, extremist or racist sites, spam sites, sites of occult subsidiaries of large groups, etc.. In short, Iceland would become for the Internet, the equivalent of tax havens in finance. Let us hope also that Iceland will soon imitated by a host of states seeking to share this windfall.
Once this clarification made, we must add that these digital paradise will also protect all Internet users and organizations that will fight against attempts at censorship in authoritarian states. This is not a moral issue, but market competition. And the third reason why states fail to censor cyber citizens, at least until we will not deal with a totalitarian world state.
5. Conclusion: In retrospect, the height and amplitude
In a previous article entitled "A new dynamic civilizing"I explained that changes the status of the individual, caused by technological innovation and widespread access to the Internet was its ability to gain height, back and amplitude.
Take the height is eligible for free worldwide information in real time, online Internet. Stepping back, it’s potentially having access to all the knowledge of the history of mankind also online on the Internet. Take the amplitude is able to act globally with arms that gives us the universal computer. The computer has become the universal tool of a new midwifery networks, a new birth of spirits running from a simple idea: under the keyboard, the planet.
Never in history has the individual had such opportunities to influence the world, with hindsight, a height and reach incredible. At a time of globalization and the crisis of the inability of states and international institutions is the cyber warrior, that will answer some of the future. QED!