September 29, 2006

Identity and Identification in a Networked World / Ian Kerr

Identity and Identification in a Networked World started today. It's a free conference held only minutes from my home so my attendance stems mainly from convenience mixed with mild interest in the subject. That means I walked in without any expectations and that's great cause I walked out pleasantly surprised despite a rather uneven selection of talks.

Ian Kerr keynoted on the topic of DRM and was quite enjoyable. It was pretty much Adam Greenfield's Everyware rewritten by a law professor. The QA was frustratingly short, but from his quick answer to my question I have a sense he's way too far into the technodetermanistic side of life for my taste in the end, but he managed to provoke and stimulate quite well. I believe in a degree of technodetermanism too, but what frustrates me about those who take a harder version of it, is that they never seem to be able to grasp the concept of cultural responses evolving over time in order to deal with a problem.

Good thing Kerr is a professor, for he was far more entertaining and thought provoking than convincing. His whole argument about DRM somehow veered entertainingly into the world of shopping carts, via the example of carts that lock their wheels as they leave supermarket property. But is that digital rights management? Somehow it seems a bit more like physical rights management to me...

Posted by Abe at September 29, 2006 11:41 PM


tried to post the following but your page required me to register and I didn’t want to. post it or not as you prefer…

glad you found me entertaining though its too bad i wasn't more convincing.

i too found the Q&A frustrating and had i a proper chance to respond, our discussion would have shown that i am not a techno determinist but rather someone concerned that the law stacks the deck in favour of those who would hope to build user-unfriendly drm and that i am worried those laws and the powerful stakeholder lobbies are more of a deterministic force than the software itself. i hold out much hope for cultural movements but resistance of the sort that you briefly mentioned are, in my view, insufficient.

it is for this reason that i spent so much time trying to give illustrations of the potential threat of drm. not b/c the technology is imbued with some magical, determinist force but b/c there is a lot of power structures who are interested in "determining" a particular direction for drm.

if you are around tomorrow, lets talk more f2f


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