An answer to Arstechnica.com and Dslreports.com about the Skype outage issue

A dslreports.com article – bounced by Arstechnica.com – quotes my Skype outage recent post as contributing to of the “list of the evil-doers who all had a chance to get blamed for Skype’s problems”.

The scope of my post was to raise a general issue – distributed vs centralize network design and legal consequences – and not blame Skype “per se”.

They just are an IT company, and they do their business as usual. Closed source software, hype and cheers to users but no “real” communication. To put it in other words: Microsoft might maybe “lead the way”, but – as Skype shows – there are a lot that can “perform” better than Redmond giant.

Does cyberspace exist?

 

This is an interview I gave to connected.org that I casually re-discovered. It is an old text, while still up-to-date.

The following interview of the Italian lawyer Andrea Monti
took place in Prague during the APC Europe Internet Rights Workshop.
My thanks to Karen Banks and Chris Bailey of APC for inviting me to speak at the workshop. See also the other interview carried out in Prague of the philosopher, Giancarlo Livraghi entitled “Souls writing on the Net“.

Continue reading “Does cyberspace exist?”

Italian Democratic Party’s Competition: faxes aren’t good enough to support a candidate

The Italian online daily magazine Repubblica.it announces that Furio Colombo (S-DS) will not run for the future Italian Democratic Party board (the new political entity that next October will merge Margherita and Democratici di sinistra into one, big party.)

The reason is – Repubblica says – that Mr. Colombo got his votes by fax – an unreliable communication device that doesn’t grant non-refutability, integrity and authenticity of the message. Mr. Colombo then claims that since he ain’t a political structure working for him, it was impossible to ride the whole Italy collecting the originals documents containing the “electoral” whishes.

But if only Mr. Colombo – and his supporters – had used digitally signed certified e-mail, he could have run for this competition with no particular problem. Digital signature is “around” since almost ten years, while Certified e-mail (Posta Elettronica Certificata – PEC) is widely available since at least a couple of year. Then it would have been entirely possible to run for the Democratc Party board by handling a digital electoral campaign. Why, then, Mr. Colombo didn’t use it?

Complex answer for a simple question. The deadly mixture of legislator’s lack of competence and Certification Entities wrongly aimed lobby efforts created a poisoned cocktail that almost killed the possibility to have these technologies at handy for the “average” citizen. BTW, nobody seemed really care to actually enhance the use of digital signature and certified e-mail through the citizenship.

And now, we face the early consequences of this non-culture: this is the very first case, in Italy at least, where the technological ignorance had the direct effect of banning a person from the active political life of a country.

There’s no Second Life after Life…

Network veterans – those who “were there” before the Internet came – will tell you that Second Life is nothing new. A contemporary re-play of “old style” Fidonet Matrix, command-line IRC, newsgroups and mailing-lists, with a more fashionable look. A “virtual place” where people go social.

I don’t share this point of view. Instead of a “game”, Second Life is a “place” where people do duplicate Life in her whole latitude. Misery and class-fight included.

The early netizen gained trust and confidence by writing. Relationships were built – as Giancarlo Livraghi wrote – on soul, before than body. Second Life, on the contrary, replicates the ordinary social mechanisms. With the help of graphics components people hide – again – the “soul” and just focus on the “body”: fast car, “kool guyz”, fashionable suits… a whole “separate universe” where seek for relief from the pain of living.

If your life is miserable, why the hell would you like to buy a second (alike) one, instead of improving what you already got?