- Paperback: 246 pages
- Publisher: Rebecca Hogge (July 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906110506
- ISBN-13: 978-1906110505
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,164,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia Paperback – July 27, 2011
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Her journey begins at the 26th annual Chaos Communication Congress in 2009, where she speaks to Rop Gonggrijp, Julian Assange, Daniel Schmitt (now Domscheit-Berg), and learns, basically, what hackers are up to these days. Then she tells, in brief, “the story of how a bunch of sixties hippies got tired of tripping and uploaded themselves to a new electronic frontier”, which she learns, in part, from Stewart Brand, producer of the iconic “Whole Earth Catalog” in 1968 and of the United States’ first Hacker Con in 1984. Sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow talks about copyright in the digital age, and Phil Booth of No2ID about fighting the Digital Economy Bill in the UK.
Hogge was a wide-eyed optimist in thinking that the decentralized nature of the web would lead to more and better distribution of information than relying on media outlets. She was in good company, I suppose, and she shares her conversation with Ethan Zuckerman of Open Net Initiative on why the web is consolidating. Radical decentralization is not practical for the average user. But this sort of thing happens with every new communications technology, which Hogge doesn’t mention. This about brings her up to the publication of the Iraq War Logs by WikiLeaks, with which she had a brief relationship, followed by the “Cablegate” release and a media frenzy.
“Barefoot into Cyberspace” is mildly analytical but not rigorous or comprehensive. It is one person’s contact with digital revolutionaries of various stripes. And it’s a personal story of Becky Hogge’s evolving views. Hogge is a leftist of the anti-globalization school, and she has an annoying habit of interpreting other people’s statements to have some anti-capitalist or anti-corporate implications that they very probably did not intend. She’s also strangely surprised, more than once, that digital revolutionaries don’t all dress like bums. There is a certain naiveté here, which is the book’s weakness. It’s strength is in introducing the reader to a variety of topics and ideas.
This book was self-published, but it has been professionally edited and nicely formatted, so don’t be put off by that. There is a glossary of terms and list of references at the back. In the Kindle edition, the References are clickable and include articles and videos that Hogge referred to in the text. Also, the Table of Contents is at the back in the Kindle edition, so use the dropdown if you are looking for it. For a full transcript of the Julian Assange interview, see the author’s web site. It’s funny that she talks about the Baby Boomers and her own generation, the Millennials, and ignores GenX counterculture, since the big personalities that she interviews are GenXers.
Becky talks to a lot of people who are trying to keep the idealism alive and ensure that these companies don't accumulate even more power.
Overall an excellent introduction to the issue of freedom online.