Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Revolution Will Be Blogged

As I'm reading through and coming to grips with The World is Flat, Dear Mr. Supercomputer will wrestle with what "Globalization 3.0" means for all aspects of life. Perhaps it's not the most logical place to start (or maybe it's the perfect place to start), but I'd like to bring attention to Josh Wolf, who just recently broke the record for a journalist being imprisoned for refusing to divulge privileged material.

As a quick intro for those unfamiliar with the story, Wolf is a video blogger. His website can be found here. He taped footage from an anarchist's (unpermited) protest. The Feds wanted the raw footage so as to charge one of the protesters with arson, based on the fact that a policeman's car was damaged. Since the car is partially paid for by federal dollars, the Feds subpoenaed Wolf for the footage.

Josh Wolf refused and is now serving time.

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Regardless of what you think of Josh Wolf, the World is Flat question is this: what information, in this new, flat world is privileged? Could Dear Mr. Supercomputer be subpoenaed one day for something posted here? What if I think about gerrymandering again and say something awful about Texans for a Republican Majority again? Will the ghost of Tom Delay come for me in my sleep? Could one of you leave a comment and have to answer to that in court one day?

The advent of the blog is just one of the many undiscovered countries that we simply do not know how to deal with yet when it comes to this new, flat world.

Seriously, can you imagine posting a picture or a video or even text on the Internet one day and the next morning you wake up an the FBI is knocking on your door (which is exactly how they came for Wolf)?

Here at Dear Mr. Supercomputer, I hope to engage in a discussion (usually between me, Baby Supercomputer, and the voices in my head) of this new, flat world and the conflicts it will create in the near term. The primary concern of most Americans is outsourcing of their jobs, which we'll get to. But perhaps this story of some independent blogger getting hauled off to jail is as good a place to start as any.
Author Thomas Friedman posits a question in his book: Where were you when you realized the world was flat? If you hadn't yet, you were right here.

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