Law in the Internet Society

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VinayPatelFirstEssay 5 - 07 Jan 2020 - Main.VinayPatel
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Advertising as a Solution

While fear can be an effective motivator, it has not been successful for action against surveillance because the threat is either too small or too big. However, fear is not the only way to promote behavioral change. People may be more motivated to use free software if the pitch for it focuses on the positive rewards of better software rather than the negative effects of their current software. There must be bigger and better marketing and advertising for free software products (without using unethical behavior collection practices). People are likely to adopt new technology if someone they trust shows them it is better than what they are currently using. However, despite being inundated with ads my whole life, I had never heard of the free software programs discussed in class before this semester, and without seeing people I know use them, I still have little idea how they work. Among those without the benefit of this course, there is probably even greater ignorance of free software. Advertising which focuses on the higher quality of free software should be able to convince more people to try it. Describing the problem of surveillance may play a role in demonstrating the privacy benefits of free software, but the product should be at the center of the pitch, not the threat. When free software is always tied to the surveillance threat, it also becomes tied to the feelings of apathy and powerlessness that the threat creates. A positive advertising strategy for free software may be a solution.

This draft conveys an idea clearly, which is its strong point. But it does so in a static fashion. Each paragraph says pretty much the same thing: if we think we cannot solve this problem, because it is too daunting at both the individual and systemic level, we will instead ignore the problem and give up.

This may be true. I have pointed in class to the form of collective hopelessness Russians call beznadyoga, and to its production in the Soviet Union as a form of political control, as one billboard on an analytic road to an understanding of the phenomenon. Climate denial and the post-denial forms of pro-fossil propaganda are another. My own approach to solving the problem of collective learned helplessness is FreedomBox, which is a way for technologists to make, use and spread mechanisms of response that teach possibility.

None of these approaches may be to your taste, which is fine. But the best route to improving the draft is to introduce new ideas and forms of analysis, whatever you may want them to be, so that the next draft doesn't repeat the same idea multiple times in eight paragraphs.

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Revision 5r5 - 07 Jan 2020 - 00:15:06 - VinayPatel
Revision 4r4 - 05 Jan 2020 - 23:04:49 - VinayPatel
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