[globaloutlookDH-l] "Who Owns the Internet?"

Domenico Fiormonte domenico.fiormonte at gmail.com
Thu Aug 24 10:06:40 MDT 2017


I did read (and used) Andrew Blum's 'Tubes' (
http://andrewblum.net/#tubes-book), but I did not know about surfacing.in,
it's a fascinating project! Thanks Élika!

2017-08-24 16:24 GMT+02:00 Élika Ortega <elikaortega a gmail.com>:

> Thanks for sending this Ernesto! The other Ernesto (Priani) was talking
> about that yesterday at the DíaHD en UNAM yesterday too.
>
> Anita Chan's work is indeed wonderful for this topic, Domenico.
>
> Surely you are also familiar with Berardi's The Uprising: On Poetry and
> Finance and other works. And if you haven't read Nicole Starosielski's The
> Undersea Network and it's digital companion http://www.surfacing.in, I
> strongly recommend it as well.
>
> Cheers!
> Élika
>
> On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 7:42 AM, Domenico Fiormonte <
> domenico.fiormonte a gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Thanks to Ernesto for remembering our discussion in Rome. The  dominance
>> of the so-called "Frightful Five" (http://infolet.it/2016/10/12/
>> controllare-internet-in-6-mosse/) represents a serious threat to the
>> cultural and linguistic diversity of the globe. Those services, tools, and
>> applications are the real global designers of digital knowledge -- probably
>> the only 'knowledge' we will access in the future.
>> It has always been a surprise for me to see how digital humanists tend to
>> neglect this point. We build archives and software with open access
>> languages and tools, but how they will be found and accessed? In the end,
>> Google and Facebook rule.
>>
>> I'd recommend reading Anita Chan's "Networking peripheries".
>>
>> I've an article coming out in DS/LCN on the geopolitics of digital
>> knowledge that will partially address these issues.
>> Paula Ricaurte has also published an interesting blog entry on this:
>>
>> http://dayofdh2014.matrix.msu.edu/redhd/2014/04/09/geopoliti
>> cs-of-knowledge-and-digital-humanities/
>>
>> Saluti
>>
>> Domenico
>>
>>
>> 2017-08-24 13:46 GMT+02:00 Ernesto Priego <efpriego a gmail.com>:
>>
>>> Hi Alex, all,
>>>
>>> As I explained in my email the connection started from the headline (in
>>> the permalink too): "who owns the Internet?". That was verbatim one of the
>>> questions we discussed at length in Rome.
>>>
>>> It is an important question. It is important to take it literally and
>>> figuratively. We can be talking about the actual submarine cables
>>> connecting network infrastructures around the world, or we can be talking,
>>> for example as in this article, about the dominance of specific Web
>>> companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook (I am sending this message
>>> via my Gmail account, which is connected to my Humanities Commons profile,
>>> which is connected to my Google Drive, which hosts Google docs where I have
>>> work in collaboration with colleagues around the world, and datasets, and
>>> students courseworks, which is connected to my YouTube profile, and my
>>> Picasa pictures, and, and).
>>>
>>> "Thirty years ago, almost no one used the Internet for anything. Today,
>>>> just about everybody uses it for everything. Even as the Web has grown,
>>>> however, it has narrowed. Google now controls nearly ninety per cent of
>>>> search advertising, Facebook almost eighty per cent of mobile social
>>>> traffic, and Amazon about seventy-five per cent of e-book sales. Such
>>>> dominance, Jonathan Taplin argues, in “Move Fast and Break Things: How
>>>> Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”
>>>> (Little, Brown), is essentially monopolistic. In his account, the new
>>>> monopolies are even more powerful than the old ones, which tended to be
>>>> limited to a single product or service. Carnegie, Taplin suggests, would
>>>> have been envious of the reach of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos."
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I think the whole article should be interesting to those in digital
>>> humanities, regardless of their interest in American politics, because it
>>> deals with two recent books that are tackling the issue of how Web/digital
>>> technologies are shaping culture. There are important parallels to be made,
>>> for example, between the monopolistic practices of Amazon, Facebook or
>>> Google and the practices of for example Elsevier, or ProQuest:
>>>
>>> "Thirty years ago, almost no one used the Internet for anything. Today,
>>>> just about everybody uses it for everything. Even as the Web has grown,
>>>> however, it has narrowed. Google now controls nearly ninety per cent of
>>>> search advertising, Facebook almost eighty per cent of mobile social
>>>> traffic, and Amazon about seventy-five per cent of e-book sales. Such
>>>> dominance, Jonathan Taplin argues, in “Move Fast and Break Things: How
>>>> Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”
>>>> (Little, Brown), is essentially monopolistic. In his account, the new
>>>> monopolies are even more powerful than the old ones, which tended to be
>>>> limited to a single product or service. Carnegie, Taplin suggests, would
>>>> have been envious of the reach of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos."
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> The pasages referring to piracy, IP and paywalls are also interesting.
>>> We can easily replace 'Google' for any other mainstream for-profit academic
>>> publisher in the following quote to get an insight into why academic piracy
>>> (including illegal self-archiving of academic manuscripts in ResearchGate,
>>> Academia and university servers, against academic journals' policies) is
>>> not really a major concern for those for-profit academic publishers,
>>> because they already profit through other means:
>>>
>>> "Google itself doesn’t pirate music; it doesn’t have to. It’s selling
>>>> the traffic—and, just as significant, the data about the traffic. Like the
>>>> Koch brothers, Taplin observes, Google is “in the extraction industry.” Its
>>>> business model is “to extract as much personal data from as many people in
>>>> the world at the lowest possible price and to resell that data to as many
>>>> companies as possible at the highest possible price.” And so Google profits
>>>> from just about everything: cat videos, beheadings, alt-right rants, the
>>>> Band performing “The Weight” at Woodstock, in 1969."
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> This is precisely the situation in academic publishing too, where the
>>> business model, as in Academia.edu, remains to extract as much personal
>>> data from as many academics as possible and to resell that data. The
>>> academic work is just the bait, or the fodder. Whenever 'DHers' take
>>> decisions regarding platforms, it is important there is an awareness that,
>>> today, academic content is as significant as its traffic, and the data as
>>> significant as the metadata, etc. More importantly, at least for us trying
>>> to think the implications of technocultural dominance, are the
>>> epistemological implications: beyond the now-commonplace assertion that
>>> technology is never neutral, how can the digital humanities address the
>>> epistemological dominance of the North as expressed by the dominance of a
>>> bunch of corporations, which determines indeed the information the world
>>> has access to and is able to produce and distribute?
>>>
>>> Anyway, this was meant to be just a quick answer, so there are lots of
>>> nuances to address, etc. This message was not meant to be a journal
>>> article... ;)
>>>
>>> All the best
>>>
>>> Ernesto
>>>
>>>
>>> Dr Ernesto Priego
>>>
>>> @ernestopriego
>>> https://epriego.wordpress.com/
>>> http://www.comicsgrid.com/
>>> Subscribe to the Comics Grid Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/iOYAj
>>>
>>> The information contained in this email is confidential and may be
>>> legally privileged. It is intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are
>>> not the intended recipient, please delete this e-mail.
>>> The contents of this e-mail must not be forwarded, disclosed or copied
>>> without the sender's consent. The statements and opinions expressed in this
>>> message are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any
>>> related organisations, projects, colleagues or employers.
>>>
>>>
>>> On 23 August 2017 at 21:07, Alex Gil <colibri.alex a gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Thank you for sharing, Ernesto. Took me to unexpected places.
>>>>
>>>> How did you end up connecting it to the Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
>>>> Digitales del Sur project?
>>>>
>>>> Best from NYC,
>>>> a.
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 3:52 AM, Ernesto Priego <efpriego a gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>
>>>>> The question in the subject line was a question posed to us at the end
>>>>> of the panel we had on "opening the digital humanities" last April in Roma
>>>>> Tre University (event organised by Domenico Fiormonte).
>>>>>
>>>>> It is also the headline with which The New Yorker shares online this
>>>>> artcle, which discusses two recent books on American tech giants:
>>>>>
>>>>> https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/28/who-owns-the-internet/
>>>>>
>>>>> I thought I'd share the link here with you all as it continues
>>>>> discussions we have had in the Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Digitales
>>>>> del Sur project.
>>>>>
>>>>> All the best,
>>>>>
>>>>> Ernesto
>>>>>
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