25 September 2005

Freedom costs a buck 'o five

Several discussions with Mason this weekend about the ultimate hopelessness of freedom of information. Even as fact becomes more fully and precisely available, its access is limited by means (most of the population will still get information by fallible word-of-mouth or 5-minute news intros) and by volume (when fact is necessarily wordy or requires previous learning, who can take the time to discover and understand that fact). Mason compared it to burying the lawyers with tens of thousands of pages of useless disclosures. Who has time? Another example: we (bloggers etc.) are part of a technical aristocracy that knows how to circumvent DRM, even the weakest crippling of fair use, although easily bypassed by us, will impede most of the population no matter how readily available information is.

These discussions came at a time when I'm thinking about Cryptonomicon and its noble representation of geeks in their attempt to free information. It's a wonderful book and one that only a year later I'm anxious to re-read.

Similarly, a (less technical) friend had asked why anyone would want to use open-source software since it's less safe. As Titus says: more later...

[ posted by sstrader on 25 September 2005 at 7:28:41 PM in Science & Technology ]