T H E  N E T W O R K  O B S E R V E R

  VOLUME 1, NUMBER 7                                     JULY 1994


  This month: The fantasy life of the wireless world
              Tracking human activities
              The net and democracy in Russia
              More notes on privacy


  Welcome to TNO 1(7).

  This issue includes an article by Barbara Welling Hall about the
  uses of the Internet for encouraging democracy, with particular
  reference to a workshop about networking in Russia.  Her message
  is that the net itself does not dictate how it will be used.
  Such views are known as "technological determinism", and they are
  tremendously common in discussions of the net, which some people
  assume will bring a decentralized world of liberty and others
  assume will bring a centralized world of control.  The answer is
  that neither outcome is necessary; what happens depends on the
  uses we make of the net, and on how we help to shape the evolving
  network culture.

  The rest of this issue is devoted to a pair of articles by the
  editor on related themes.  The first is about the technological
  imagination of the wireless world, that place where the
  boundaries between physical things and the digital ether start
  to blur.  The second explores this theme further with regard to
  the tracking of human activities by computers.  This particular
  article summarizes my contribution to a special issue of _The
  Information Society_ entitled "The Digital Individual".

  And of course we have the usual departments, including several
  comments on my discussion of telemarketing in TNO 1(6).


  Augmented reality and augmented fantasy.

  Recently I spent a week driving around New Mexico.  Even though
  I was supposed to be on vacation, I kept finding myself thinking
  about computers.  Not just any computers -- I kept finding myself
  inventing new things for computers to do in the wireless world
  of the near future.  Reflection on a couple of these "inventions"
  leads to some tentative insights about the kind of imagination
  that produces them.

  When you're driving in New Mexico it's hard to keep track of the
  police.  For one thing, at least a third of the cars on the road
  are white.  (Is it to ward off the sun or to make the paint last
  longer?  The natives disagree.)  My rental car was one of them,
  and cars seemed to approach me from behind with extra caution and
  deference before making a move to pass.  But the cops actually
  drive a bewildering variety of cars, with and without lights or
  roof-racks.  Many drive four-wheel-drive vehicles.  Many vehicles
  (e.g., from the US Forest Service) have lights and/or insignia
  without (so far as I know) being able to issue speeding tickets.
  Many private cars have big whip antennas like the cops used to
  have; most of the cops don't have them.

  Something can be done about this confusing mess.  It's called
  citizens' band radio.  Back in the tedious 1970's, the US had
  a craze for CB radios, as an especially cryptic celebration of
  working-class solidarity during a time when independent truckers'
  actual independence was really starting to erode.  CB radios
  allow truckers to maintain a kind of community and culture on
  the road, and most particularly they let the truckers keep track
  of the cops.  Reflecting on this, I wondered what a cyberspace
  version of the same thing would add or subtract.  See a cop,
  enter a report into the system, and the system warns others who
  are plugged into it.

  Such a system, of course, would probably not work.  The computer
  interface would eliminate all of the social glue that holds the
  truckers together.  Reporting a cop isn't just a database entry;
  it's a tangible act of solidarity backed up with a voice and a
  way of speaking and rituals of appreciation that reproduce the
  sense of community while also decreasing the risks of driving the
  absurd schedules that the trucking companies claim to regard as

  Okay, so cut to another thought experiment.  I was pulling onto
  I-40 about an hour west of Albuquerque on a Sunday morning when
  I thought I'd take a break from Rush Limbaugh's show.  Scanning
  across the AM dial, I came across a strange broadcast.  Ricardo
  Montalban, of all people, was giving a semi-dramatic lecture
  about the history of western New Mexico, plainly addressed to
  tourists entering the state on I-40.  His speech went on for
  several minutes and then repeated, a tape loop presumably set
  up by the state government to encourage people to visit the
  local tourist attractions, namely the Acoma and Laguna Indian
  reservations.  I found it quite odd to be listening to this,
  since it is not normal for a radio broadcast to use indexical
  terms ("here", "this area") that presume to know where the
  listener is.  In addition, Senor Montalban's speech rhythms were
  different from anything normally heard on the radio.  They were
  the speech rhythms of a tour guide, or perhaps the narrator of a
  film or video documentary.

  This set me to thinking.  Suppose my car had a GPS device that
  knew its current location and a wireless packet data system.
  Then it could download location-specific audio programming --
  such as an audio tour guide.  Depending on the resolution of the
  location system (which could be augmented by roadside RF boxes),
  the tour guide could give a running narration of the scenery as
  I drove along.  Would anyone want this?  It's not far different
  from the tape-recorded tours available in art galleries -- the
  ones where you rent a tape player and headphones, pacing the tour
  as you walk along by turning the tape player on and off.

  Reflecting further on this, I realized that this session of
  almost compulsive invention was part of a long series.  Very
  often when I see something in a landscape, or on a city street,
  or in a shop, and wonder "what's that?", I find myself starting
  to invent a device that could tell me the answer.  Some of these
  inventions are scary, like the one that scans a license plate
  and uses widely available databases to pull up large amounts
  of personal information about the car's owner.  My motivation
  in each case is simple curiosity, no different from anyone
  else's.  What the nearly-possible technology provides is a set of
  fantasies about how my wishes for information could be answered,
  as if by magic my mind could call out to the things of the world
  and have them answer back.

  I doubt if I'm alone in thinking this way.  To the contrary,
  I believe that such thinking is basic to the technological
  imagination around computers in general and "cyberspace"
  in particular.  One concrete instantiation of this form of
  imagination is something called "augmented reality".  Imagine
  wearing goggles with video displays in them that also allow you
  to see your surroundings, much as a heads-up display provides
  for a pilot.  Then imagine that those goggles are attached to
  position-trackers, just the way that virtual reality goggles
  are, and finally imagine that your computer contains a model of
  the visible world that allows it to display annotations on the
  little video screens that overlay the visible things.  (Robots
  in the movies frequently employ these -- think of Terminator.)
  The point of such systems is to close a gap between computer
  representations and physical reality, and thereby, in intention
  at least, to close a gap between *thought* and physical reality.

  This kind of thinking has many distinctive qualities.  One
  of them is a desire to exhaustively list and catalog things, to
  achieve some kind of closure that repairs the open-endedness of
  the world.  I happen to have here a report in the 3/9/94 issue of
  the (San Francisco) SF Weekly (page 16) about a Hypercard product
  called the "Digital Restaurant Guide", which is a directory of
  every single restaurant in San Francisco.  (To secure a copy for
  yourself, it says you can call Apple at +1 (408) 974-5050.)  The
  guide is kept up to date by the programmer and his friends, who
  have constituted themselves as the Precision Dining Association.
  Priceless hacker humor or what?  I don't mean to disrespect these
  people; I appreciate the joke as well as anyone.  My point is
  that it is not *normal* to do such things.

  In a thousand ways, applied computing is erasing the boundaries
  between the insides and the outsides of computers.  Increasingly
  we encounter compound entities, consisting of a physical object
  or activity and the "shadow" it casts inside a computer.  My next
  article will explore this theme in greater depth, with particular
  reference to me "capture" of human activities.


  Privacy and computer-mediated activity.

  Ideas about privacy are, among other things, cultural phenomena.
  They have complicated histories, they affect the way we see
  things in the present day, and they change.  As I was reading
  the literature on privacy, I was struck at the difference between
  legal theory, which focuses largely on cases involving single
  individuals losing control of single items of information in
  encounters with other individuals or organizations, and the
  literature on computers-and-privacy issues, which draws heavily
  on images of Big Brother and the Panopticon.  These latter images
  -- visual metaphors for privacy -- are the most pervasive way of
  formulating fears about privacy, at least in this country.  They
  obviously draw on literary symbols and on historical experiences,
  largely in other countries but to a significant extent here as
  well, of the secret police and its network of informants and
  listening devices.

  Unfortunately, neither set of ideas about privacy has much to
  do with how computers work.  Computers work with large amounts
  of information, not just isolated facts, and computers do not
  operate by looking at things.  Instead, the central metaphors of
  computational practice are linguistic.  Computers use "languages"
  to represent things.  These aren't natural human languages, of
  course, but they build on mathematical theories of syntax and
  semantics originally invented for the study of natural languages
  (by Chomsky and others).  Computers, then, don't watch things;
  they *listen* to things -- they *parse* things.  And if a
  computer is going to support a human activity, according to the
  conventional conception of computers and computing, it must be
  able to parse that activity.  This is the technical aspect of an
  important chapter in the history of ideas: linguistic metaphors
  for human activity.  Such metaphors are found in many areas,
  for example in artificial intelligence and cognitive science,
  with their notions of "planning" and of "plans" as sequences of
  instructions written in "plan languages".

  Linguistic metaphors for human activity show up over and over in
  the history of automation.  Frank Gilbreth and his associates,
  for example, invented elaborate symbolic languages for the
  purpose of representing work-activities in terms of a vocabulary
  of basic units.  The systems analysts of the early days of
  applied computing also employed such languages to map the
  information-flows in a work setting -- with an eye to automating
  the work by reproducing those same information-flows inside
  a computer.  And when designing computers for people to use,
  computer people begin by articulating what might be called a
  "grammar of action" -- that is, a "vocabulary" of basic, simple
  actions and a quasi-linguistic grammar of the ways in which those
  basic actions might be assembled into sequences.

  But two problems arise.  First, such grammars are always
  idealizations of a more complex reality.  And second, simply
  programming such a grammar into a computer does not mean that
  the computer can parse the human activities that go on around
  it.  Installing a computer within a human activity-system,
  then, frequently has an element of social engineering to it: the
  activity must be *instrumented* in such a way that the computer
  can "capture" each of the basic actions, thereby maintaining,
  in real time, a representation of the activity.  Such
  representations need not be exhaustive -- indeed they could not
  be -- but a computer can only compute with those aspects of an
  activity that it can represent, and it can only represent those
  aspects of an activity that it can capture.

  This phenomenon, whose roots run deep into the very constitution
  of computing as a concept and a professional practice, is
  suddenly growing much more important.  A wide variety of emerging
  technologies allows human activities to be instrumented in new
  ways, not necessarily tethered to a keyboard and video display.
  Wireless data communication systems, for example, allow trucking
  companies to capture the workings of their trucks while they
  are out on the road.  Elaborate bar-code schemes allow warehouse
  computers to automatically keep track of materials, or else to
  log transactions relating to those materials that might take
  place through human activities (for example, unloading a truck
  or acknowledging receipt of a shipment).  And Automatic Vehicle
  Identification systems make it possible to collect truck and
  automobile tolls without stopping to hand over money: a radio
  along the side of the road "pings" a transponder in a passing
  vehicle, learns the identity of the transponder (or, in some
  proposals, the actual Vehicle Identification Number), and debits
  an account.

  As with many technological innovations, these new schemes can be
  used for both good and ill.  Privacy advocates are understandably
  concerned about the vast amounts of data that such systems can
  collect.  Understanding the intellectual structure of these
  innovations permits us to understand the issues somewhat more
  deeply.  For example, whereas visual metaphors presuppose
  that activities under surveillance are not affected by the
  surveillance as such (as opposed to measures that people
  might take to avoid the surveillance), attention to the actual
  professional practices of computer people draws our attention to
  the ways in which computerization actually *reorganizes* those
  activities to enable computers to track them.  The reorganization
  of an activity may be as simple as attaching an instrument
  to something or someone, or it may involve a large-scale
  restructuring of the activity that divides it into discrete,
  identifiable, parseable pieces.

  Research into the intellectual structure of computer work also
  makes plain how difficult it will be to escape the trade-offs
  between computer support for activities and threats to privacy.
  How else might computers work, and how else might computer
  professionals work?  Alternative models are available in
  the participatory design movement in Scandinavia, and in the
  Internet.  In each case, the strong evolutionary trend has been
  away from supporting an individual's activity by tracking it,
  and in favor of supporting a community's activity by providing
  a medium for communication, community memory, and the active,
  flexible interpretation of the formal structures that a
  computer uses.  These developments have been driven by intuition
  and by computer users who happen to have the power to reject
  systems they find too constraining.  Future research into the
  intellectual structure of computer work might help encourage
  these developments in a more conscious and systematic way,
  with the ultimate goal of formulating a democratic practice of
  technology -- not just a democratic practice of *choices* about
  technologies, but a democratic practice of the devices themselves
  and of the human activities within which they are embedded.

  For more details on these ideas and their implications, see a
  forthcoming special issue of _The Information Society_, volume
  10 number 2, June 1994, entitled "The Digital Individual".


  Electronic networking and democracy.

  Barbara Welling Hall
  Department of Politics
  Earlham College

  This article examines the relationship between electronic
  networking and democracy by proceeding from the general to the
  specific.  The "general" is an examination of the assumption that
  the two (i.e. networking and democracy) are more than compatible,
  indeed, synonymous.  The "specific" is a recent international
  symposium, involving primarily Russians and Americans, in
  discussions and project-design in the area of gender relations
  and environmental degradation.

  Statements that electronic networking offers primarily, if
  not only, boons to democracy are now as prolific as gophers.
  Previous issues of TNO have addressed such assertions directly.
  It is worth elaborating that such technocratic faith is not
  exclusively a phenomenon riding the cusp of the new millennium.
  The assumption that electronic networking (or, more broadly,
  information technology) and democracy are logical partners is a
  product of the modern belief that knowledge is power.

  In his trenchant examination of the origins of "the modern age",
  Press: 1990), philosopher and historian Stephen Toulmin notes
  that one of the most enduring quests of the early moderns was to
  create a "universal system of characters" capable of expressing
  "all our thoughts."  As Leibniz put it in 1677:

       This language will be very difficult to construct, but very
       easy to learn.  It will be quickly accepted by everybody on
       account of its great utility and its surprising facility,
       and it will serve wonderfully in communication among various
       peoples (cited in Toulmin, 104).

  The incentive to derive this universal language was based on the
  received "lesson" of the 17th century that in the absence of a
  language that existed above the fray of the oral, the particular,
  the local, and the timely, widespread slaughter was the most
  likely result.  A universal language exchanging generalized and
  generalizable information would empower human beings to bring
  order and harmony to the social world.  After citing Leibniz,
  Toulmin suggests that his most direct heirs are contemporary
  information engineers.

  A corollary of the modern belief that "knowledge equals power" is
  a fundamental precept of American freedom of speech, that in the
  marketplace of ideas, the Truth will win out.  Thus, by providing
  greater access to the marketplace, i.e. electronic networking,
  information technology has been regarded not only a midwife for
  new democratic processes, but a handmaiden of the Truth.

  Finally, the assumed correlation between electronic networking
  and democracy may be attributed to a byproduct of information
  technology that is quite visible to this observer.  Electronic
  networking provides heretofore unavailable (or unattainable)
  social fora for the isolated individual, the introvert, and the
  hyperliterate (and I include myself in each of these categories).
  Electronic communication does indeed remove some of the barriers
  to public speech that are known to intimidate many speakers.
  The ability to be a "writer" rather than a "speaker" and still
  contribute to interactive public discourse must be counted among
  the liberating characteristics of the new technology.

  THE NETWORK OBSERVER is full of examples of the electronic
  birth of communities and the successes of these communities
  in addressing the expressed needs of their members.  The
  organizing committee of the recent symposium, WOMEN, POLITICS,
  AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION (Moscow, June 1-3, 1994) have similar
  stories to tell.  Virtually every aspect of the symposium was
  enhanced by the availability of electronic networking.  Calls for
  papers were distributed on listservs that have (a few) members
  on several different continents.  Participants were located
  via electronic bulletin boards and conferences such as EcoNet.
  Advance information and questions and answers about travel to
  Russia were handled by e-mail, for those participants with access
  to it.  The asynchronic nature of e-mail communication enabled
  organizers in the United States and in Russia to stay in constant
  communication with each other without losing any sleep.  Given
  the assistance of an electronic matchmaker, epidemiologists
  in a small Russian town have made contact with researchers
  at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
  in Cincinnati.  With some luck, they will be able to engage
  in mutually beneficial projects studying the effects of PCBs
  on reproductive health.  The symposium has generated at least
  a dozen similar projects that will likely be sustained by access
  to and participation in electronic communities.  Members of the
  organizing committee have decided to publish the symposium's
  proceedings electronically rather than in hard copy since
  electronic publication will be (a) quicker, and (b) subject to
  wider distribution and retrieval.  While unimaginable just a few
  years ago, it will now surprise few readers to learn that one of
  the project directors and the program chair of the symposium did
  not meet in person until the symposium opened in Moscow, although
  they were in daily e-mail contact with each for the preceding
  eight months.  In retrospect, I can scarcely remember how, just
  seven years ago, I helped to organize an analogous international
  event in England without access to either fax or e-mail.

  That's the good news.  Well, not quite all.  Participants in
  the symposium, as participants in other new projects in the CIS,
  have demonstrated that Russians and other citizens of the former
  Soviet Union are hungry for access to electronic communities.
  This hunger is understandable and it may, indeed, be grossly
  unfair to write of the dangers of infoglut in an article
  that should highlight the stultifying effects of the lack of
  information on the Russian populace and Russian social movements.
  Nonetheless, despite understandable enthusiasm for new technology
  and the tremendous achievements of GLASNET (a wonderful acronym
  that collapses the correlation of networking and democracy into
  a single memorable word), there are problems ahead that will be
  only aggravated if they are not acknowledged.

  Rather than outline the underside of electronic networking
  at length here, I'll refer diehard readers to my article,
  "Information Technology and Global Learning for Sustainable
  Development: Promise and Problems" in ALTERNATIVES 19 (1994),
  99-132.  In a nutshell, as I put it in that article, "[w]hile
  the interactive aspects of new communication technologies
  facilitate a positional approach to learning, inequitable access
  to these technologies at present and in the foreseeable future
  profoundly diminishes the diversity of opinions that are vetted
  electronically.  Electronic communities may provide genuine
  benefits to isolated individuals, but if these communities
  continue to be presented as providing global rather than partial
  access to political discourse, this promise may be squandered.
  Finally, although freedom of information may hamper some
  dangerous actions, more information alone is not a substitute
  for the development of critical or compassionate faculties.
  Data may reveal the existence of injustice, but data alone rarely
  generate the political will either to make difficult trade-offs
  or to discover creative solutions to perennial problems."  As
  an organizer of the symposium described above, I would be amiss
  not to note that regardless of their hard work and innovative
  thinking, those participants who lacked access to computer
  networks for either financial or linguistic reasons have already
  been left behind (although not entirely abandoned) in follow-up

  In other words, the correlation of knowledge with power
  may become even more misleading in the electronic age as we
  literally unplug the technologically underequipped from our
  information networks.  The assumption that the Truth will
  "win out" (aside from porting the notion that there is such a
  thing as uncontestable single version of Truth) is based on a
  prior assumption of equitable access to dialogue that does not
  withstand scrutiny.  While electronic networking does, indeed,
  enfranchise some individuals and groups who have not contributed
  yet to the creation of democratic societies, these people are
  already fairly privileged when considered in a global context.

  From all of this, I do not draw the conclusion that electronic
  networking is either (a) an essential adjunct to democracy or (b)
  harmful to democracy.  The point, as others more eloquent than I
  have noted frequently, is that computers are ambivalent tools of
  communication.  At their best they are phronetic tools that will
  make it easier to apply our collective wisdom to the solution of
  practical problems.  At their worst they are alluring instruments
  for trivial pursuits.  Obviously, democracy will be better served
  by the former.


  This month's recommendations.

  JoAnne Yates, Control through Communication: The Rise of System
  in American Management, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
  Press, 1989.  A fascinating account of information technology
  in the development of the modern corporation: early copying
  technology, the evolution of desks, genres of documents, upward
  and downward movement of standardized information, the management
  procedures used by the early railroads, and all kinds of great
  stuff like that.  It's very well worthwhile.

  Cynthia Cockburn, Machinery of Dominance: Women, Men, and
  Technical Know-How, Evanston: Northwestern University Press,
  1988.  A study of how the work associated with various kinds
  of machines gets to being labeled as "men's work" and "women's
  work".  Cockburn argues that these labels are largely arbitrary,
  with no underlying logic past gender-based competition for the
  more desirable jobs.  She observes jobs changing gender as the
  machines change, she observes new machines provoking contests
  over their gendering, and she listens to the often incoherent
  arguments about why certain jobs are men's work.  I'd like to
  think we can do better.

  Philip Mirowski, More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social
  Physics, Physics as Nature's Economics, Cambridge: Cambridge
  University Press, 1989.  A polemic from a physicist turned
  economist to the effect that the concepts of "equilibrium" in
  classical economics were copied directly from physics as a way
  of claiming a scientific status for economics.  Polemics aside,
  this is one of the most sophisticated historical studies of a
  particular scientific metaphor.

  Free Associations.  This is a consistently fascinating British
  journal of psychoanalysis that combines up-to-date exploration
  within the object-relations and group dynamics traditions with
  a variety of social and political perspectives.  For example,
  the most recent issue I have here, volume 4 number 2, includes
  articles on doing psychoanalysis in secret in Czechoslovakia,
  post-traumatic stress disorder among victims of organized
  violence in Bulgaria, the concept of "lies" in feminist therapy,
  and psychodynamic observations of the admissions ward of a
  psychiatric hospital.  Quarterly, published by Free Association
  Books, 26 Freegrove Road, London N7 9RQ UK.  In the US the
  journal is $30/year for individuals from Guilford Publications,
  72 Spring Street, New York NY 10012 USA.


  Company of the month.

  This month's company is:

  Rochelle Communications
  4030-1 West Braker Lane
  Austin, Texas  78759

  +1 (512) 339-8188, fax +1 (512) 339-1299

  During the whole long debate over Caller ID (mechanisms that
  digitally transmit your phone number when you make a call), the
  strange myth has arisen that Caller ID is almost exclusively for
  residential use.  The idea is that it's for privacy protection
  in cases of harassing phone calls.  But this doesn't explain
  the incredible lengths to which the equipment manufacturers
  went to convince regulators to make it difficult for customers
  to override Caller ID.  Caller ID is actually not very good
  for tracking harassing calls (except for dumb harassers).  What
  it *is* good for, though, is collecting marketing information.
  Rochelle Communications makes software for computerized phone
  systems that capture incoming Caller ID information and use it
  to index various kinds of databases.  Dozens of applications are
  in the works, and many proponents of such systems see them as
  the first foot-in-the-door interconnecting the phone system with
  computer systems.  Look for more such schemes in the future.

  To educate yourself on the general shape of this future, you
  might wish to contact Rochelle Communications for their product
  information.  I do not, however, recommend that you harass them.
  Only get the literature if you're genuinely interested in reading
  it.  Thanks a lot.



  My short article on "Orwellian privacy" in TNO 1(6) includes an
  embarrassing bit of foggy reasoning.  I said:

    If a successful sale brings in a hundred dollars in profit,
    it's worth calling anybody for whom the statistical likelihood
    of a sale is greater than roughly 1/500.  That means that I
    will get 500 calls for each call that offers something that I
    actually want to buy.

  This is bogus in at least three different ways.  The first is a
  simple matter of arithmetic.  If the likelihood of a sale on any
  given unsolicited sales call is 1/500, then we can compute the
  number of calls that must be received before the likelihood of
  sales reaches a given probability, say 50%, as follows:

                         1   n
                  ( 1 - --- )  = 0.5

  In this case, n = 346, meaning that you need to get 346 calls
  before it becomes 50% likely that one of them will lead to a
  sale.  For a 90% likelihood, 1150 calls are required.  This
  isn't a major difference, of course, but still.

  Second, Larry Preuss <preuss@msen.com> kindly pointed out that the
  marketing company's estimate of 1/500 likelihood of your wishing
  to accept their proposition doesn't necessarily mean that you'll
  actually ever buy anything.  Maybe, after all, you refuse to buy
  stuff advertised through unsolicited calls at all.  He's right, of
  course.  I was simplifying by assuming that the 1/500 probability
  was accurate (whatever that means).

  Third, so far as a given telemarketing company can predict,
  people are distributed from 0 to 1 in terms of their likelihood
  of accepting the best pitch that can be fashioned for them.  One
  group might be 1/500 likely to buy and another group might be 1/2
  likely to buy.  The number of calls you get depends on where you
  fall in a whole batch of companies' distributions.

  I could have avoided all of these headaches by simply saying:

    If a successful sale brings in a hundred dollars in profit,
    it's worth calling anybody for whom the statistical likelihood
    of a sale is greater than roughly 1/500.  A company in this
    situation will be willing to make hundreds of calls for each
    one that succeeds.

  Now, one reader argued that the persistence of unsolicited
  sales calls means that the market, and indeed large numbers of
  consumers, disagree with me about the evils of privacy invasion.
  But this argument is flawed.  A telemarketing company is willing
  to make numerous unsolicited sales calls for each one that
  results in a sale.  This incredible inefficiency is made possible
  by a market externality -- that is, a cost not borne by the party
  inducing it -- namely, the hassle of answering the phone and
  listening to the beginning of the pitch.  Whereas a responsible
  storekeeper leaves people alone unless they come in looking
  for a sales pitch, a telemarketer places phone calls that large
  numbers of people would not answer at all if they knew they were
  salespitches and not friends or family members.  This is indeed
  the market in action -- driving society powerfully toward maximum
  inefficiency through its capacity to displace its costs onto
  innocent parties.  In this sense, telemarketing is like pollution
  -- pollution of the quotidian social space whose only connective
  tissue is ordinary politeness and whose only defense is organized

  By the way, be on the lookout for another form of corporate
  obfuscation, this time around the word "telemarketing".  I
  haven't got a specific instance in front of me, but the general
  idea is as follows: "Complaints about telemarketing are based
  on a stereotype.  Sure there's that insignificant fringe that
  disturbs you while you're eating dinner.  But telemarking
  includes a wide variety of activities, from customer service
  to complaint lines to home shopping to taxi dispatch, and we
  wouldn't want these good things to be damaged by a misguided
  attempt to chase a few irresponsible oufits."  (That's fairly
  close, but I can never quite reproduce the soothingly reasonable
  tone that pervades these exquisitely engineered clouds of
  rhetorical fog.)  This is an absolutely standard rhetoric tactic
  in PR: adjust the meanings of contested words so as to hide the
  offending phenomena under a pile of other things.  The effect
  is to minimize the harm by making the harmful things seem small
  relative to some other things.  Never mind that I've been hounded
  half to death over the years by unsolicited and misleading sales
  calls from tiny, obscure fringe outfits like MCI and Citicorp.

  Some people complained that TNO 1(6) contained both an article
  crying for privacy ("Orwellian privacy") and an article that
  seems to promote invasions of privacy ("The net gives new life
  to journalism" by Marsha Woodbury).  I wish I had commented on
  this.  The line between personal privacy and the public's right
  to know is complicated, and by including both articles I meant
  to promote discussion of it.

  Seth Ross at Albion Books tells me that they have not in fact
  trademarked the word "netiquette" but the distinctive logo on the
  cover of Virginia Shea's book that includes the word.  That's not
  what it says on the book's cover page and copyright page, but I'm
  sure he's right.

  CPSR's terrific Web pages are now available.  Aim your WWW client
  (Mosaic, Lynx, etc) at http://www.cpsr.org/home

  The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a new gopher of useful legal
  and practical stuff about privacy.  Telnet to teetot.acusd.edu
  (or and log in as "privacy".

  Check out the compendium of community networking success stories
  that Madeline Gonzalez <madeline@bcn.boulder.co.us> at the
  Boulder Community Network is maintaining.  Aim your WWW client at
  URL http://bcn.boulder.co.us/community-networks/why/center.html
  You can also find an interesting sampler of community networking
  projects at http://http2.sils.umich.edu/ILS/community.html, and
  the Center for Civic Networking has a new gopher server, which you
  can check out by saying "gopher gopher.civic.net 2400" at a Unix
  prompt or at URL gopher://gopher.civic.net:2400/

  Check out The Ada Project on women and computing.  Aim your Web
  client at http://www.cs.yale.edu/HTML/YALE/CS/HyPlans/tap/tap.html

  Here, thanks to Tim Jenkin <ancdip@wn.apc.org> are the directions
  to get materials from the African National Congress:

    ftp wn.apc.org [or worknet.apc.org]
    login: anonymous
    password: [your e-mail address]
    cd anc
    dir (to display directory list)
    cd [directory of your choice]
    ls [or dir] (to display list/directory of files)
    get [desired filename] [filename...]

  Finally, check out the Mother Jones web pages.  Aim your web
  client at http://www.mojones.com/motherjones.html

  Phil Agre, editor                                pagre@ucla.edu
  Department of Information Studies
  University of California, Los Angeles         +1 (310) 825-7154
  Los Angeles, California  90095-1520                FAX 206-4460
  Copyright 1994 by the editor.  You may forward this issue of The
  Network Observer electronically to anyone for any non-commercial
  purpose.  Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

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