January 20, 2004

Access Denied

Category: Research — Biella @ 9:29 am

What does an anthropologist do when she has worked all day on thinking and writing about hackers, technology, and such to unwind? Watch a movie aboout hackers, of course! Last night I watched Freedom Downtime basically
crafted by and starring Mr 2600,
Goldstein (aka Eric Corely). He is one of the “big men” of hacking like Stallman and John Gillmore who have come to define the ethical stuff and meaning of what hacking is all about. (One of these days I am going to write an article about what hacking is through the vantage point of these this holy trinity). Emmanuel, I think is one of the most interesting cultural figures and activists of current times using hackish means to activize, to politicize. He is the master mind behind one of the most electrifying hacker cons HOPE the 5th one being held this summer in NYC. I who am already somewhat politically minded was swept by the tide of energy at this conference. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep at the time and the hecticness of NYC but that is part of the draw. Time stops to consider the ordinary temporal and spatial quality of life which badly needs to be stopped to precisely reflect on those times and spaces.

Anyway, I am veering away from the movie. So though Goldstein really could have used a better editor (there was a surplus of scenes that are really only of interest to those filming the movie), there was also a surplus of vastly interesting material to think with.

The movie was primarily about the rise of the Free Kevin Campaign which is as much about why Kevin should have never been jailed (or at least should have receivd a fair trial), how the media and court system are dually based on the false premise of conveying truth, and one of the most interesting was how hard it is to access corporate “peoples” to get information. Media, courts, and corporations were triangulated as sites of information fudging. And it is thick fudge.

Unlike Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine who is sufficeintly famous to access high level officials in Lockhead, Kmart, and actors like Mr. Heston, most of us have so very little access to the innards of corporate offices and peoples that it is quite astounding. They have a protective sheath around them especially any located in a corporate park which is not so easily physically accessible. If you would want to protest on site, it would be illegal to enter, so you would, you know, have to protest onsome isolated highway in San Jose where like no one would see you. Not all that effective.

Anyway, Goldstein and his crew who rented a car with unlimited milesdrove all over the US to try to talk to some corporate officials in places like Novell and Sun. They were fortresses and it was basically useless to try to break in.

The great irony of it all was that it demonstrated that for these hackers it was easier to break into the corporate palace via the computer that to do so through legal channels. Access Denied. Heh.

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