Organized Networks and Pirates

26Nov11

In Chapter 24 of Managing Media Work, Lovink and Rossiter state, “Organized networks emphasize horizontal, mobile, distributed, and decentralized modes of relation. A culture of openness, sharing, and project-based forms of activity is a key characteristic of organized networks.” These characteristics lead to a challenge in governance and sustainability ultimately resulting in what Lovink and Rossiter call an unnatural virtual environment in which everything is constructed. However, questions are raised such as whose guidance is this organized network being constructed under, what are the terms of its construction, and will it have a built-in financial component during the process of institutionalizing?

This article from TIME discusses how loosely organized pirating networks are working on developing a DNS system that allows (piracy) websites to use a system of P2P users to stay afloat and avoid government censorship or site takedowns. Brito explains, “If you could replace those servers with a peer-to-peer source for the same information, there would no longer be central point a government could control or shut down.” He adds, “The result is the further decentralization of the Internet.” Additionally, decentralized and distributed digital currency is being offered by a company named Bitcoin, meaning payments are sent directly from donors to recipients without the need for a third-party vendor such as Visa or Paypal. Even social networks are developing around this decentralized model with two examples being Diaspora and Identi.ca. According to the Diaspora website, “Diaspora is an open-source and distributed community of social networks run by users that enables you to own your own personal data, control with whom you share, and discover cool stuff throughout the Web.” To summarize, this shows that to avoid governance, organized, open-source networks are forming resulting in the decentralization of the Internet in order to avoid government interference and give power back to the users.

-Chris G.

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