Born into a network of free-speech?

When viewing society as a network I noticed that I do not know the world without it being a global network. Being born in 1993, computers were increasing in popularity and from the day I started kindergarten I had a desktop Mac in each of my classrooms, allowing me to access this network from the age of five years old.

Castell* states numerous consequences from the current networked society. His first consequence of this  newly empowered network is the societal effect. Due to the ceaseless boundaries of networks derived from the wireless infrastructure of this communication it has ultimately generated what is known as globalisation. This is the technology that allows us to see real time images as they happen across the globe and allows me to instant message my friend in The United States of America.

However, how accurate is this statement when not all individuals are connected within this network due to poor communication structures within their country or due to poverty conditions they cannot afford a connection to this network? Castell addressed this issue by stating that individuals and nations themselves are;

“influenced , shaped and ultimately dominated by the logic, interests and conflicts of this network society”

Though what are the negatives of a networked globe? Castell, I believe, neglects to address this and more focuses on how individuals and businesses now conduct themselves by having to utilise this new societal structure. A clear negative would be Wikileaks; wikileaks I believe from a Global Government  perspective having a networked system has allowed individuals such as Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) to leak International Governments’ sensitive documents to the public system. Therefore, not only are these documents shared within Julian’s home country but a networked society allows individuals from all nations to have access to these documents which poses a sense of national security.

It has even been reported that known terrorists have downloaded important leaked Government documents which may have aided in planned attacks on that nation. I believe that this is a prime example of how global networks maybe a negative to society and national security, however, many would argue that WikiLeaks is actually a positive feature of a global network as it promotes freedom of information.

Therefore, whether you believe that  the extent the globe is now connected is a positive or a negative, just by reading this post you are engaging in that network.

Until next time.

-Amy

Reference:

* Castells, M. (2004) ‘Afterword: why networks matter’. In Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 221-224)

internet                                                                                          Sourced from Google

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8 thoughts on “Born into a network of free-speech?

  1. Nicely said Amy. Being born in ’91 I remember the integration of computers into my primary school and classes being developed to have the students be pushed into using the computers. Computers revolutionized how students are taught – positively and negatively. I would suspect that schools were aware of the importance of connectivity with what was being introduced – maybe not so much as what has happened today but still had some insight into what could be done.

    When dealing with global issues it would be some-what odd to think that everything would go smoothly, as you mentioned, WikiLeaks, but also like refugees, Japanese whalers, protests and the ;’inevitable’ celebrity scandal. Human curiosity/interest gets amplified when the only limitations is another person whether it be for a celebrity scandal of for a global epidemic of national security.

  2. Interesting take! I like that you spoke about the negatives of a network as well, I mostly took it in a positive way because I haven’t persoanally been affected in a negative way so I just took it that way. I definitely agree with your points though about how it can be used by bad people like Jullian Assange which can cause controversy by uncovering national secrets and breaking security.
    Espeically liked how you ended it, clever clever!!

    -Nicole Lambert

  3. I agree with you that WikiLeaks was a positive use of a digitally networked society. However, it is interesting to note that Assange is subject to virtual captivity in the Ecuadorian embassy because the American state has also recognised the advantages of a networked society. The US government is able to put pressure on our nations due to the interconnectedness of global society, and thus able to block Assange’s possibilities at asylum. Currently, Ecuador is considering the ‘opinions of other countries’. I’m guessing that’s code for ‘America’s going to hurt us’.

  4. You make an interesting point about the subjective nature of networks depending on where in the world you are located – now that I think about it, it doesn’t seem fair that we in Australia are able to access an infinite amount of networks due to our great accessibility to wireless broadband etc., which we ultimately take for granted, whereas others are unable to even access the Internet at all. It seems that in our country networks are no longer a ‘want’, but a ‘need’.

  5. Great post! I agree, being too connected can be detrimental to security however I would argue that overall networks do more good then harm as knowledge is power and an empowered society can do a lot of good in the world. None the less, your negative take on networks was a breath of fresh air from some other posts and very insightful. I also appreciated your speculation on the failings of Castell’s argument and your mention of those who find it harder to become art of a network. This post was really well thought out and touched on a lot that others failed to mention.

  6. Well done, I like the points you’ve made, makes splendid sense! Interesting how you’ve brought in Wikileaks as an example, a very debatable topic! I suppose you can see it as a negative issue and as criminal activity which threatens security, however you can also look at it from a different ethical point of view where he reveals the criminal activity and corruption that exists in our world. A very debatable topic indeed!

  7. Even though I went through school only a couple of years before you, I remember it very differently! We didnt even see the inside of the fabled “computer room” until at least yr 3, and in years 5 and 6 we had an allocated hour on the one classroom computer each week. I feel like this lack of digital contact left more time for creating networks in person, sometimes I find that technology gets in the way of this. While it is great for connecting in media spaces, sometimes while we’re accessing these media spaces, we’re missing chances for interactions in the present

  8. It’s funny to think that for generations before us, computers and the kind of technology we have today are such new and innovative things, whereas we have had the privilege of growing up around such technological advancements and we have grown used to things constantly changing and us having to adapt and learn how to do things again. Let’s just hope that computers don’t take over the world.

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