The Null Device
Bruce sterling has a very lucid essay touching on a lot of things, from cypherpunk utopianism to the power of Microsoft and the copyright industry to terrorism and counter-terrorism: Geeks and Spooks
So where are these imaginary earthshaking geek outlaws who laugh in derision at mere government? Well, they do exist, and they're in Redmond. The big time in modern outlaw geekdom is definitely Microsoft. The Justice Department can round up all the Al Qaeda guys they can wiretap, but when they went to round up Redmond, they went home limping and sobbing, and without a job. That is a geek fait accompli, it's a true geek lock-in. In 2001, Microsoft has got its semi-legal code in every box that matters. They make those brown-shoe IBM monopolists of the 1950s look like model public citizens.
The future of cyber anarchy is cyberfeudalism. It's Politics 301. We had a lot of booming cyberanarchy in the USA for 20 years, and now we are looking at several years of stagnant feudal nothingness. I would guess about maybe one Presidential administration worth of nothing. About one Presidential Administration, and maybe a severe economic setback's worth of nothing. Then people are gonna start wondering why nothing important is happening any more in computer technology, and when they look at that technology, all they are going to see is Microsoft. Because that is all there is.
I'm just declaring that rule by spooks does not work because of civics. Spooks have no checks and balances. You don't get to sue them. They're never held accountable. They're not elected. They don't worry about return on investment and they don't answer to the stockholders. They don't even have to bury their own mistakes; they usually get the diplomats to do that for them. Do you think they're any smarter now than they were during Iran Contra? Or any less reckless?
So that's what "Ginger/IT" is: a gyroscope-equipped electric personal scooter named the Segway. The inventor hopes the Segway to replace automobiles as a convenient, efficient means of urban personal transport.
It looks like the Greens didn't win a Victorian Senate seat after all; they came close, but the Democrats held on. Oh well, there's always next election; unless, of course, it was a once-off protest vote and the inner-city trendy-left chattering classes end up flocking back back to the comfortable, familiar apron strings of the Democrats.