Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
I 172
Public sector/Zittrain: The responsibilities when the private becomes the public were addressed in the United States in the 1940s, when the town of Chickasaw, Alabama, was owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation. A Jehovah’s Witness was prosecuted for trespass for distributing literature on the town’s streets because they were private property. In a regular town, the First Amendment would have protected those activities. The Supreme Court of the United States took up the situation in Marsh v. Alabama, and held that the private property was to be treated as public property, and the conviction was reversed. (1)
I 173
owner. The touchstone for judging such efforts should be according to the generative principle: do the solutions encourage a system of experimentation? Are the users of the system able, so far as they are interested, to find out how the resources they control– such as a PC—are participating in the environment? Done well, these interventions can lower the ease of mastery of the technology, encouraging even casual users to have some part in directing it, while reducing the accessibility of those users’ machines to outsiders who have not been given explicit and informed permission by the users to make use of them. It is automatic accessibility by outsiders—whether by vendors, malware authors, or governments– that can end up depriving a system of its generative character as its own users are proportionately limited in their own control.


1. See Marsh v. Ala., 326 U.S. 501 (1946).


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Zittrain I
Jonathan Zittrain
The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It New Haven 2009


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