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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

About That Cyberwarfare... #OccupyBoston, #OccupyWallstreet

U.S. Cyber Command
Image grifted from cyber arms

[Update: New Gosztola liveblog up: Live Blog for #OWS: Day 26, Overwhelming Majority of Americans Know of “Occupy” Protests. (Note day # adjustment. And I thought it was just me.)]
OccupyChicago Occupy Chicago
Live Feeds (LiveStream, UStream, are all being being JAMMED here in Chicago – We wish we could provide video! #OccupyChi
44 seconds ago
This tweet came out of #OccupyChicago a couple of days ago during the Boston raids. It caused some tinfoil-hattery about the Federal government employing cyber-warfare against the social media that is so obviously assisting the #Occupy movements. (Tinfoil-hattery is not a derogation, coming from me.)

It's an interesting thought but I, for one, suspect that such a tactic might backfire, badly.

The first deprivation of technology from #OccupyWallStreet backfired big time, perhaps creating the most powerful aspect of the movement, evoking awe and commentary from even the contemptuous MSM coverage, and probably even contributing to the evolution of the General Assembly.

The "people's mic" has given the movement a church-like vibe, for one thing. As it is essentially still a one-way broadcast medium, it is not exactly "call and response" but, psychologically speaking, it has a profoundly different effect on the "listeners" than traditional speech, passively received, would have. While some have ridiculously and rather absurdly compared it to "Maoist brain-washing," it is certainly true that the attention to the message within the brain is much more deeply attained. It doesn't overwhelm critical thought, but it certainly enables a deeper empathy with the speaker, and most certainly a more profound consideration of his or her message.

Aside from the violent "blunders" that have been committed by the so-called "authorities," I submit that this, and the co-evolution of the General Assembly, is the greatest strength and enabler of the #Occupy movement.

Back to cyber-warfare.

I have not physically #Occupied (I was intending to go down to #OccupyPortland on its inaugural day to take some videos & pics to post, but I found myself without busfare that day.) However, while I have not been physically present, I have had the pleasure of participating with the movement by monitoring livestreams, liveblogs, Twitter, Facebook and posting about it on this humble blog. I suspect that many are having the same experience. By "many," I mean a number of sympathizers exponentially larger than the fine heroes that are braving weather and the contempt of the "authorities."

My point is - what would happen if I or my many tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, brothers and sisters suddenly saw the social media go black? Would a significant number of us continue to wonder what is going on? I think we would. Would a significant number of us finally stand up from our comfortable chairs, go outside, wander to the street to see what the heroes are up to today?

I think we would. And then the "authorities" would see an unintended consequence that would dwarf all of the blowback that they have so far been so stunningly efficient at generating.


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