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Going Out-line

created 2003-09-09 23:37:16

(Up to: Technology Vs Evolution Ideas )

I am toying with the idea of going what I call "out-line". By this, I mean that I would deliberately close myself to certain paths of internet communication, as opposed to disconveniencing myself in order to be able to remain in contact with each and every person in netspace. This is an active form of contact control, in that it restricts who can talk to you (and, naturally, who you can talk to), and how. I am not generally a fan of censorship, and indeed this should not be misconstrued as censorship. This is about choice, and freedom of listening.

The term itself is inspired by an idea in the old Cloudmakers game, where certain characters went "off-line". Set in the future where everything was networked and AIs roamed the connected landscape, taking yourself "off-line", i.e. disconnecting yourself, was effectively as though you had vanished from the world, at least from the perspective of those without physical access to you.

Obviously I do not want to go this far, but I do feel that we need to take control of our own privacy, and understand just what it means to have global connectivity from a 17" screen 3 feet from our face. I have started this process with my white/grey/black-list spam filtering system, which lumps potential contacts in with spammers, but (will provide) a way of ensuring that people who really want to get in contact with me can.

The next stage is kind of forced upon me, as a user of Linux. Microsoft have decided to start charging third party software developers for licences to connect to their servers. For instance, see Gaim's announcement on the matter. I do not wish to use Windows just to chat to people, I do not wish to pay for software when other networks do the same thing for free. And I definitely do not want to just use it because everybody else is doing it. So I am switching to promoting my use of ICQ and Yahoo messenger as an alternative.

I wonder how far this can go - my 2 main channels of direct communication, i.e. whereby people can actually contact me actively are now effectively controlled. Hopefully I'll post more thoughts here on the subject as everything evolves, and I actually have to use what I claim...

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