The world of media and communication

April 29, 2013

Feudilisation on the Internet

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 7:00 am

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Blog Post 8: Feudalisations on the Internet

The lecture for week 8 discussed the key concepts of feudalisation on the Internet and the emergence of tethered devices. In the lecture, Ted Mitew (2013) suggested the walled garden is a controversial topic, which almost reflects a manor in history context. In this era, individuals were unable to leave without permission, in which the feudallord decided how the peasants would use the land. So how is the metaphor relevant to individuals in society?

The walled garden plays a significant role in the emergence of new media information technologies and the Internet. In the seminar, the question was asked if you could describe the Internet as a whole. Conclusively, many students claimed the internet was a free and open public space, in which most websites allowed access to information instantaneously. Other students suggested the Internet was restrictive in some circumstances as you could not attain information unless you register, or pay a small fee. These different views provide small characteristics of the Internet; however, what users do not know when they are using search engines such as Yahoo, Bing or Google to find material, they are searching within a space that has been coined as a walled garden.

A walled garden is a software system where the carrier or provider has control over applications, content and media and restricts access to non-approved applicants or content (Rouse, M 2005). In the Internet, information that is relevant to the keywords in the search tool is filtered out to the user, in which less useful information is restricted. In a much broader sense, the walled garden is highly transferrable in commercial practices of businesses selling new media technologies such as smart phones and ipads. When analysing the operating systems on these technologies such as Apple iOS, the organisation act as the ‘Lords’ in a feudal society (Mitew, T 2013). Apple owns the rights to property and dictate how it is used and the cost charge to peasants [us as the users]. For example when using my Ipad i can only download apps from the Itunes App Store making it quite a closed system. The same role is played by Android in which users can only download content from the android store which is quite restrictive in terms of the product capabilities.

The Doctorow article “Lockdown: The Coming War on General Purpose Computing” (2013) suggested human rights activists “have raised alarms over U-EFI, the new PC bootloader, which restricts your computer so it only runs ‘signed’ operating systems” such as the Apple IOS. Most individuals in society do not realized they are connected to these tethered devices (Zittrain, J 2008). With these devices users are constantly monitored in which the material is regulated and censored (Zittrain, J 2008). This action occurs not only on technology but on the Internet such as e-commerce sites when purchasing clothing, in which the marketer watches your actions and tailors personalised messages to lure you in. These organisations dictate what is available to your and the price you pay in using that operating system.

References:

Zittrain, J. ‘Thethered Appliances, Software as Service, and Perfect Enforcement’. In The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it, Yale University Press, New Haven, ppp.101-126; [URL: http://futureoftheinternet.org/static/ZittrainTheFutureoftheInternet.pdf

Cory Doctorow(2011) ‘The coming war on general-purpose computing’ http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.htmlAutumn Session 2013 10

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