Thursday, September 02, 2004

WiFi: Futopia Now!

Eben Moglen was transmitting full force: cut out the intermediaries, dismantle the state, forget about law, think about code...think WiFi.
Some keywords from his 45 minute non-stop monologue at the Code as Code workshop, brilliant both in depth of thought and rhetoric presentation. What started as a redress to my presentation, pretty soon turned into a futopia on popular empowerment through technology. Every citizen in New York would soon be WiFi-ed, a string of connections not to be broken and curtailing the digital middle man. The future is now, or at least ten years away, and nothing gooing to stop it, not if Eben Moglen can help it.

I guess he can. Not only is New York going wireless, the city where Moglen resides while he's on leave from Columbia University is setting up it's own, free access network. It's my former home town Leiden, and some of the Moglen magic seems to have rubbed of on this tranquil city. Initiator, WirelessLeiden, claims that its approach has greater potential than New York. Some claim, but in the meantime it is pretty weird to see some people in action in my old neighbourhood, fullfilling the futopia. Okey, it's no Philadelphia megalomania, but still, bottom-up revolution, breaking the powers that be round the coffee table.

This all came to me through an article in the Register, which claims that Amsterdam is going to be the first European capital with almost total WiFi coverage. Not for free, though there is a nice free access zone in the historic centre, run by a culture & technology institute.
And this all just a month after Moglen hit the town. A coincedence? Don't know, at least he had a great cover-up: don't preach what you practice. Pumping the propaganda into me, like a huge communist Albanian radio-transmitter. No P2P, mute the voices with a monologue. The message in a single data flow: futopia now!


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