Yochai Benkler speaking at UC Berkeley School of Law in 2006
|Born||1964 (age 52â€“53)
|Fields||Information technology law
Industrial information economy
|Institutions||Harvard Law School
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
|Alma mater||Tel-Aviv University
Harvard Law School
On 11 September, I was living in Greenwich Village, New York; my children learned to tell south from north by looking at the World Trade Center.
One of the problems of writing and working and looking at the Internet is that it’s very hard to separate fashion from deep change.
Computation, storage, and communications capacity are in the hands of practically every connected person – and these are the basic physical capital means necessary for producing information, knowledge and culture, in the hands of something like 600 million to a billion people around the planet.
I know terrorism is real. And I know fear of it distorts public judgment. Terrorism is like a chronic illness. We have to learn to contain it and live with it.
Anonymous is not an organization. It is an idea, a zeitgeist, coupled with a set of social and technical practices.
Next time you open the paper, and you see an intellectual property decision, a telecoms decision, it’s not about something small and technical. It is about the future of the freedom to be as social beings with each other, and the way information, knowledge and culture will be produced.
We suffered a terrible blow on 11 September 2001. We responded with fear and anger. A fight-or-flight response is adaptive in any species. For us, given our power, fight was the only response we could imagine.
As long as government is allowed to collect all Internet data, the perceived exigency will drive honest civil servants to reach more broadly and deeply into our networked lives.
Seeing Anonymous primarily as a cybersecurity threat is like analyzing the breadth of the antiwar movement and 1960s counterculture by focusing only on the Weathermen.
Judges wear legal professionalism and precedent as a mantel that secures legitimacy for their decisions. It’s how they distinguish themselves from politicians or administrative agencies, while wielding power that is sometimes much greater than those democratically accountable actors.
Like crime, terrorism is a fact of life. I grew up in Israel, where every unattended bag was a suspected bomb; when my family moved for a few years, it was to London in the early years of ‘the Troubles.’
Bringing an end to mass government surveillance needs to be a central pillar of returning to the principles we have put in jeopardy in the early 21st century.
Technology has enabled government to have investigative and situational awareness on a scale and scope that were science fiction when the Stasi shut its doors.