Jeff Mogul: So. I'm already running a little late. I'd like to now introduce our keynote speaker. And let me start by explaining that our keynote speaker, John Perry Barlow, has a somewhat unusual career for a computer science conference keynote speaker. He started as a cattle rancher in Wyoming. He's been the Republican Party county chair of his area in Wyoming. He also has been a lyricist for the Grateful Dead. More recently he's one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And he's been active writing about civil liberties issues in cyberspace. He has a column in CACM, Mondo 2000, Wired…he was in magazines that I've lost track of.

He's a very interesting speaker and I think we should just give him the next hour and ten minutes or so of our time. We will by the way taking questions from people in the MBONE. Unfortunately we didn't set this up quite far enough in advance so we'll have to have you mail your questions to for John and we will [indistinct] those, put them on paper, and read some of the questions later on. But without further ado, I'd like to introduce John Perry Barlow.

John Perry Barlow: Over the last four or five years since I left the cat­tle busi­ness, I’ve start­ed to feel like my life has turned into a Thomas Pynchon nov­el. And weird expe­ri­ences are so numer­ous that I don’t even keep track of them any­more but I’ve got to say, for some­body who spent most of his work­ing career push­ing cows around this is a very weird audi­ence for me to be address­ing. [laugh­ter]

You peo­ple are great, though. I hon­est­ly believe with­out hyper­bole that peo­ple in this room are doing things which will change the world more than any­thing since the cap­ture of fire, in terms of what it is to be a human being. And I’ll jus­ti­fy that very broad state­ment here as I go along.

But I’m not entire­ly unqual­i­fied to think and talk about wild places. I come from a part of Wyoming which is… The coun­ty I live in is larg­er than the Netherlands and has a pop­u­la­tion of thirty-five hun­dred at the moment. And is the focal point of the his­to­ry of the fur trade. And the fur trade was an eco­nom­ic man­i­fes­ta­tion that came into the West in the 1820s and 30s. And many of its con­stituents would be famil­iar to you. They were kind of a frac­tious lot of mis­fits. Opinionated lon­ers. They were some­what irreg­u­lar in their…both their eat­ing habits and their per­son­al hygiene. [laugh­ter] They were hairy and anar­chis­tic. They were smart. They cre­at­ed a soci­ety which was large­ly self-organizing. And they were explor­ing unmapped ter­ri­to­ry using tools that they devel­oped them­selves for get­ting around. And I would to try to draw a close par­al­lel between them and the peo­ple in this room but I think that will be unnec­es­sary.

So, when I first start­ed to put my head into cyber­space it was not as unfa­mil­iar to me as it is to a lot of folks who are now get­ting into that area, because it had a lot of the char­ac­ter­is­tics that still remain cul­tur­al­ly in my odd lit­tle part of the world. And I could see that a num­ber of things were going to go on in there, one of which if his­to­ry was to be any guide was that after a very free soci­ety had devel­oped nat­u­ral­ly in a very pret­ty place, then anoth­er soci­ety would come and try to make mon­ey off of it. And in the course of try­ing to make mon­ey off of it would impose an awful lot of con­trol.

There has been a lot of unfor­tu­nate talk about the nation­al infor­ma­tion infra­struc­ture being a data superhighway—this is large­ly an arti­fact of the fact that Al Gore’s father was instru­men­tal in cre­at­ing the inter­state high­way sys­tem. And it’s no mis­take that Al Gore likes that metaphor. But in fact what has been going on late­ly reminds me a lot more of the devel­op­ment of the rail­road in this coun­try. It is not a data super­high­way so much as a data rail­road sys­tem that we seem to be devel­op­ing. And there is a cau­tion­ary tale in there because the folks, Jay Gould and his fel­low bar­bar­ians who cre­at­ed the rail­way sys­tem in the West, knew that if they owned the roadbed and the area around it, they also essen­tial­ly owned the soci­ety that was going to devel­op there because they could tear up what­ev­er prod­ucts were cre­at­ed in that soci­ety on the basis of their own whim.

And the West today is still try­ing to get out from under­neath the bur­den of reg­u­la­tion and legal stan­dard­iza­tion that was cre­at­ed in those ear­ly days by the rail­road barons. It was almost impos­si­ble for farm­ers in the upper Midwest to make a liv­ing for a while even though the Northern Pacific Railroad had asked them to come in there and set­tle for noth­ing and had giv­en them land. As soon as they got estab­lished on that land, they were charged usu­ri­ous rates for trans­port­ing their their prod­uct to mar­ket. And I think if we look at the his­to­ry of the rail­road we can see exact­ly what kind of dam­age occurs when you give too few peo­ple con­trol over too much of the econ­o­my.

Actually I real­ly think that it’s far more use­ful to look at the devel­op­ment of the Internet in bio­log­i­cal rather than struc­tur­al terms. The Internet to me seems very much like a life­form. It has all those char­ac­ter­is­tics. It is self-organizing. It adapts itself read­i­ly into the pos­si­bil­i­ty space that it finds. It is being cre­at­ed in an inter­ac­tive way, out at the mar­gins rather than in the cen­ter. I’ve heard Unix described as a virus from out­er space. But it’s very much like a virus, I think. But it’s more a virus from inner space, the space inside the cere­bral cav­i­ties of many of the peo­ple in this room.

Among the notable char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Internet, out­side of explo­sive growth, is the extent to which it can nat­u­ral­ly route itself around prob­lems. John Gilmore, who may be here and is prob­a­bly known to many of you, said some­thing pro­found when he said that the Internet deals with cen­sor­ship as a mal­func­tion. And it real­ly does. You see peo­ple try­ing to stop the traf­fic in cer­tain kinds of intel­lec­tu­al mate­r­i­al on the Internet, and it sim­ply routes itself around it and gets that mate­r­i­al dis­trib­uted by some oth­er path­way.

Unfortunately, the folks who are now enter­ing into the game, and to a more pre­cise extent the orga­ni­za­tions and insti­tu­tions that are now enter­ing into the game, are very dif­fer­ent from what has pre­vi­ous­ly char­ac­ter­ized the devel­op­ment of net­works in the world. And they come at this with a dif­fer­ent par­a­digm of how the world works, and how to cre­ate order. They came at it with the notion that order is some­thing that you impose and not some­thing that emerges. They come at it think­ing about their prod­ucts as being some­thing that are focused and cen­tral­ized, require large amounts of cap­i­tal to cre­ate, and then broad­cast in a one-to-many medi­um.

I don’t think that these are nec­es­sar­i­ly bad peo­ple. But they have a very hard time get­ting it. Most of the folks that I talk to from the tele­vi­sion indus­try think that inter­ac­tive tele­vi­sion con­sists of putting a buy” but­ton on your chan­nel click­er. [laugh­ter] I’m not kid­ding. I wish I were.

And they fail to under­stand that there is a pro­found dif­fer­ence between infor­ma­tion and expe­ri­ence. And they are try­ing to sell non-inter­ac­tive, stored infor­ma­tion as though it were expe­ri­ence. And I think they actu­al­ly believe that they’re accom­plish­ing that task.

They are going to try, in many ways, some of them overt, some of them unknown even to them­selves, to impose their cul­ture and their their metaphors in this envi­ron­ment. And there are all sorts of ways in which their immune response sys­tem is already work­ing and I’ll give you just one exam­ple.

I was recent­ly talk­ing to some­body from Viacom about the impor­tance of cre­at­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between what­ev­er set-top box­es Viacom was spon­sor­ing and oth­er kinds of net­work­ing, specif­i­cal­ly the Internet. And I talked about TCP/IP with this fel­low from Viacom. And he said, Well, we would love to be able to incor­po­rate TCP/IP but real­ly it’s just too slow. The pack­ets are just too big. It can’t be made to be isochro­nous. We real­ly don’t think that it has a place on top of your tele­vi­sion set.”

And while that may seem like an irrel­e­vant fac­tor to many of you who prob­a­bly don’t even own a tele­vi­sion set, if we are to cre­ate a soci­ety on the Internet that is gen­uine­ly inclu­sive and does­n’t con­sist of its present sort of large band of wild geese, we are going to have to make it so that you can get Internet con­nec­tion from that elec­tron­ic device which is your prin­ci­ple access point into cyber­space and that is liable to be that set-top box.

The folks in the tele­vi­sion and enter­tain­ment busi­ness are also intrigued by the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the rail­road­ers first con­front­ed, which is that they are going to build the roadbed, essen­tial­ly, and they’re also going to be in the infor­ma­tion busi­ness. And it’s not lost on them that if you own the rails and are also ship­ping the car­go that you get a real­ly good deal on your rates. And that oth­er peo­ple may not get a very good deal, espe­cial­ly if you feel them to be in com­pe­ti­tion with you.

This has giv­en rise to a whole set of con­cerns and prob­lems which the Electronic Frontier Foundation is now deal­ing with. You know, EFF did not start out to be some kind of a traf­fic cop on the data super­high­way. That was­n’t our objec­tive. A the time that Mitchell Kapor and I start­ed EFF, we had a very nar­row set of con­cerns. We just thought that there were actions tak­ing place on the part of the gov­ern­ment that made it clear that they did­n’t quite real­ize that speech was speech, whether it was expressed in bits or ink on the page. And we felt like real­ly all we were going to have to do was to hire a few real­ly scary civ­il lib­er­ties attor­neys in New York and kick hell out of the Secret Service, and dust our hands off in sat­is­fac­tion and go back to what­ev­er it was we were doing.

But, we had­n’t been at this very long before I got some elec­tron­ic mail from a young fel­low who was in what at that time was still the Soviet Union say­ing, Well, I applaud what you and Mr. Kapor are doing in try­ing to assure the appli­ca­tion of the First Amendment to cyber­space, but you should real­ize that in cyber­space the First Amendment is a local ordi­nance.”

And that was a rev­e­la­tion to me. And also to Mitch and we start­ed think­ing about what had to be done, on a struc­tur­al rather than legal lev­el, to make cer­tain that peo­ple who con­nect­ed to one anoth­er elec­tron­i­cal­ly were able to do so with­out fear of reprisal for the things that they might think and say. Mitch said some­thing pro­found at one point, which is that archi­tec­ture is pol­i­tics. And when I say that to some­thing like the TV Academy, they don’t have the slight­est idea what I’m talk­ing about, but I’ll bet the peo­ple in this room know that very well. And it’s a mes­sage that I think you need to start car­ry­ing to the world in a much more for­ward and proac­tive way than is your nat­ur­al bend. I know that when I’ve talked to com­put­er audi­ences at times in the past, I’ve had a con­tin­u­ous ques­tion and com­plaint from peo­ple in the room who say, Well you know, you want me to behave as though I were a social philoso­pher, and actu­al­ly what I do is bus archi­tec­ture.”

Well…exactly. [laugh­ter; applause] And I don’t think that you can expect the social philoso­phers to under­stand bus archi­tec­ture very very well for a while, either. So the job falls to you and the peo­ple who under­stand the basic nature of this very very dif­fer­ent ter­rain.

When I was down in Los Angeles last week I went to some­thing that some of you may have heard about, which was the Superhighway Super Summit. You nev­er saw such self-importance in your life. It was unbe­liev­able. This has noth­ing to do with any­thing except it’s more evi­dence that I’m in a Thomas Pynchon nov­el. As a guest of the White House I had a packed which includ­ed a dis­crete lit­tle card said that Those per­sons who will be accom­pa­nied by a per­son­al secu­ri­ty assis­tant are remind­ed that their assis­tant may not car­ry his weapon while in the build­ing.” And there were also two park­ing pass­es, one for reg­u­lar cars and one for lim­ou­sines. So, they knew a fair amount about the cul­ture that they were pitch­ing to down there.

And the idea that this par­tic­u­lar set of hooli­gans was going to be in charge was ter­ri­fy­ing to me. In spite of the fact that to my sur­prise and sat­is­fac­tion, I found peo­ple like John Malone say­ing all the right things. And it was very grat­i­fy­ing to see that the things that EFF was pret­ty much alone in say­ing two years ago are now polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect. But there’s a great dis­tance between being able to mouth the polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect thing and actu­al­ly hav­ing the kind of con­scious­ness that will pro­mote those goals in a seri­ous way. These folks are in busi­ness. They’re not in it for their health.

And I looked around that audi­ence, and I real­ized that what I was look­ing at was per­haps the ulti­mate expres­sion of con­tem­po­rary civ­i­liza­tion. Which made me start to think that…you know, while Mitch and I had always talked about the job of EFF as being sym­bol­iz­ing the elec­tron­ic fron­tier, I think that our job and your job increas­ing­ly is going to be frontier-izing civ­i­liza­tion. [applause] Because I believe that as a species we have gone just about as far as we can go by design. If we’re going to try to design soci­ety from the top, we will con­tin­ue to have the sort of results that they had in the Soviet Union, and at IBM. [laugh­ter; applause] The world is sim­ply too com­plex a place to fig­ure out. It’s pret­ty good at fig­ur­ing itself out, as long as you have an extreme­ly open archi­tec­ture, basi­cal­ly an ecol­o­gy or ecosys­tem, which sup­ports ideas in a flu­id and nutri­tious kind of way. And that’s one of the great genius­es of Unix. I mean, I have a NeXT machine— (I expect a boo” or two.) That’s as close to Unix as I’ve been able to get, and that’s kind of like Unix with train­ing wheels by Armani. [laugh­ter; applause]

I have no per­son­al aspi­ra­tions to you know, write a lot of shell scripts and I still kind of feel like C++ must be just an excep­tion­al­ly excep­tion­al­ly mediocre report card [inaudi­ble due to audi­ence laugh­ter]. But Unix, if you look at the devel­op­ment of Unix over the course of its exis­tence it’s real­ly tru­ly remark­able how this crit­ter has grown. I think of it some­times as being the 1990s equiv­a­lent of Chartres Cathedral, where thou­sands of peo­ple worked for many years cre­at­ing some­thing that was amaz­ing­ly com­plex, and yet some­how worked rather ele­gant­ly to the pur­pos­es for which it had been cre­at­ed. I look at Unix as it con­tin­ues to devel­op and I think that it will con­tin­ue for a long time to be the genet­ic code of cyber­space. And you have to approach your work, I think, with that in mind. Of course the gov­ern­ment and the large enter­tain­ment and tele­vi­sion bod­ies that are now get­ting into this real­ly don’t have a sense of how impor­tant it is to have an adap­tive organ­ism as your sub­strate. They are not approach­ing it from that angle.

But you know, I am pleased to say that among the things that Al Gore announced down in Los Angeles the oth­er day, had to do with open­ing up infor­ma­tion infra­struc­ture to com­pe­ti­tion. In the past as you know, most of the infor­ma­tion infra­struc­ture of the United States was designed on the basis of a reg­u­lat­ed monop­oly. And so we had for many years a stran­gle­hold on the part of AT&T, which up until very recent­ly would still require you to fill out a whole bunch of forms in order to put a suc­tion cup on your tele­phone. And I’m very grate­ful to Judge Greene, who took a lot of flak at the time, for hav­ing the insight to see that this stuff was going to devel­op much more rapid­ly and much more open­ly in the hands of a lot of dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies rather than one.

And the same thing is now start­ing to hap­pen with regard to the impend­ing train­wreck between the cable indus­try and the tel­cos and the the wire­less indus­try. These var­i­ous indus­tries have been reg­u­lat­ed in the past by com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent regimes orig­i­nat­ing in com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent places. Most of the broad­cast­ers have been reg­u­lat­ed by the FCC—and poor­ly, I might add. Most tele­phone com­pa­nies are reg­u­lat­ed by state pub­lic util­i­ties com­mis­sions. And most cable oper­a­tors are reg­u­lat­ed by munic­i­pal­i­ties.

What they’re try­ing to do is to cre­ate a sys­tem where­by all these dif­fer­ent media can come into direct com­pe­ti­tion with one anoth­er so that the path by which bits can get into your home or office is so rep­e­ti­tious and so open that com­pe­ti­tion brings down prices and cre­ates band­width. And there’s going to be, as you folks know well, an enor­mous desire for band­width that it’s going to take a lot of dif­fer­ent agen­cies to pro­duce. I mean band­width is one of those things kind of like mon­ey and sex. You know, the more you’ve got the short­er it feels. [laugh­ter]

And as soon as we start mov­ing away from text, as I hope we will since I per­son­al­ly have a text aller­gy at this point. I get a kind of ASCII glaze at the end of the week after five days of 100 to 150 email mes­sages a day. Each one of which I have to read in order to under­stand whether or not it’s impor­tant to me. And I want to see a lot of rich­er data that has a kind of semi­otic for­mat that tells me right away whether or not I want to mess with it. But it’s gonna take a lot of band­width to do that.

In any case, there are sev­er­al bills already in Congress which the EFF has been a pret­ty involved in help­ing cre­ate. There’s the Markey bill, which is HR3636, the National Communications Competition and Information Infrastructure Act of 1994, which would make it pos­si­ble for cable com­pa­nies to pro­vide tel­co ser­vices and vice ver­sa. And also make it pos­si­ble for the nation­al long-distance car­ri­ers to com­pete with the RBOCs in InterLATA telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

There’s anoth­er fair­ly sim­i­lar bill in the Senate, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Act, which is being pro­mot­ed by Inoue and Danforth.

And as Vice President Gore announced on Tuesday, the admin­is­tra­tion is cur­rent­ly draft­ing an amend­ment to the Communications Act which would include a whole new sec­tion of code called Title 7. And Title 7 essen­tial­ly does some­thing pret­ty enlight­ened. It’s a pro­mo­tion of a lot of the prin­ci­ples that EFF has been talk­ing about in open plat­form. And it essen­tial­ly would make it pos­si­ble for telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers to enter into a fair­ly non-regulated regime if they were will­ing to assure com­plete open­ness of what­ev­er chan­nel they were cre­at­ing to what­ev­er ser­vice or serv­er might wish to attach itself to it. And there is a lot of empha­sis being placed on mak­ing cer­tain that the data super­high­way is not 500 lanes one direc­tion and a foot­path the oth­er.

I can’t tell you how impor­tant it is that these design prin­ci­ples are full duplex. This does not res­onate with their cul­ture. They don’t know very much about get­ting that bit back from the con­sumer. They real­ly don’t. And they are under­stand­ably a lit­tle afraid of what will hap­pen when the couch pota­toes actu­al­ly start to speak up about what has been smoth­er­ing them, from their glass tubes all these years. It may turn out that they don’t real­ly like this stuff very much, and that they are not going to be pleased by 500 ver­sions of the Hair Channel For Men [laugh­ter] or the abil­i­ty to watch My Mother the Car at any hour of the day or night.

In spite of these fair­ly enlight­ened activ­i­ties, I think that you will see that Congress is even more inclined than ever to act in loco par­en­tis. And there are pend­ing bills which would impose the neces­si­ty of hav­ing some kind of tech­no­log­i­cal switch on your set-top box that sensed violence…and would just cir­cum­vent its entry into your home. This is obvi­ous­ly pret­ty bone­head­ed but these are the kinds of things that we have to deal with. We have to make Congress and the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions providers rec­og­nize that the best way to assure fam­i­ly val­ues for what­ev­er fam­i­ly might be hav­ing those val­ues is to tag infor­ma­tion in ways so that they can make their own choic­es. And there are ways to do that that’re not par­tic­u­lar­ly demand­ing from a tech­ni­cal lev­el. But we do not need a soci­ety which pro­tects us from our own words. [applause]

You know one of the great things about talk­ing to you guys is I don’t real­ly feel like I have to go through a very detailed his­to­ry of EFF or what we’re doing. But I know that many of you who had a nat­ur­al affin­i­ty for the work that we did in defend­ing free­dom of speech in the very begin­ning were baf­fled when we sud­den­ly became some­thing that looked like a tel­co trade orga­ni­za­tion and start­ed push­ing ISDN and deal­ing with telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tion. And as I say, I think that we did that for good and suf­fi­cient rea­sons, even if they did­n’t com­mu­ni­cate very well to the oth­er side. And I want to run down some of the fun­da­men­tal aspects of open plat­form.

We are try­ing to pro­mote the idea that there needs to be com­mon car­riage, much as there has been through­out the his­to­ry of the tele­phone sys­tem, where the phone com­pa­ny cer­tain­ly did­n’t try to reg­u­late con­tent over its lines. The prob­lem here is that com­mon car­riage under the tele­phone mod­el was pro­tect­ed by a reg­u­la­to­ry regime which essen­tial­ly gave a monopoly…the right to go on being a monop­oly and a lot of incen­tive to go on being a monop­oly, if they would keep those lines open. And now it’s a whole new ball­game. Trying to come up with a mod­el for com­mon car­riage which does not involve a reg­u­la­to­ry over­bur­den or monop­o­lis­tic prac­tice is going to be a very sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge and we don’t have all the answers by any means. [record­ing cuts out]

…is a hard-wired ver­sion of the radio spec­trum, in which they are broad­cast­ing through­out these wires but they are not receiv­ing any­thing from the oth­er end. We have to make cer­tain that the Vail notion of uni­ver­sal ser­vice con­tin­ues to pre­vail even in cul­tures that may not find that so amenable. We have to work on inter­con­nec­tion and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty. I mean, when the fel­la from Viacom told me that TCP/IP had too much over­head, as a non Unix wee­nie, I did­n’t have a good response to him except I said that it sound­ed to me faint­ly like a reli­gious rather than tech­no­log­i­cal state­ment. Which I think it is. But the peo­ple who know that and have sound evi­dence to prove it need to be speak­ing to the peo­ple who think that that is a canon of their faith.

You also need to be think­ing about set-top box and video archi­tec­ture pro­to­cols that will make it very easy for the tel­cos and the infor­ma­tion ser­vices to pro­vide video in a fair­ly cheap bandwidth-wise and order­ly fash­ion. And I think there prob­a­bly is some truth that it’s hard to do under the cur­rent sys­tem. I saw what hap­pened to the Internet as soon as Mosaic got out there. And I’m some­what con­cerned that if a lot more of this goes on it’s going to be very dif­fi­cult to get traf­fic across the Internet. There are some seri­ous tech­ni­cal chal­lenges.

There’s a new ini­tia­tive which EFF is just start­ing to open up that you maybe inter­est­ed in, try­ing to work with the com­pa­nies them­selves, and these include some of the new Internet-based com­pa­nies, to con­vince them that there is a busi­ness advan­tage to allow­ing those peo­ple who con­nect to their sys­tem to use those con­nec­tions for what­ev­er pur­pose. And I don’t want to pick on Rick Adams, who I assume is here, but I think it’s unfor­tu­nate that AlterNet and PSI, and oth­er com­mer­cial Internet providers have for­bade those peo­ple who con­nect through them to use their facil­i­ties for such com­mer­cial ser­vices as bul­letin boards. And this is a debate that’s going to have to be car­ried on among you folks who are on the Internet and use those providers. And it may well be that you have to start look­ing to oth­er providers that are will­ing to open up their lines to real com­mu­ni­ca­tion and not impose unnec­es­sar­i­ly restric­tive bar­ri­ers to com­pe­ti­tion. [applause]

There are anoth­er set of issues that I think are going to be par­tic­u­lar­ly trou­bling, and dif­fi­cult to solve. And the gov­ern­ment is real­ly not even on the chart with this yet. I…more Thomas Pynchon. I had a real­ly weird expe­ri­ence the oth­er day. I man­aged to schmooze myself onto Air Force Two and ride back up here with Al Gore. A…surreal sense of unre­al­i­ty per­vad­ed that expe­ri­ence for me. But Al Gore’s a good guy and a smart guy, but he has been very focused on those issues around reg­u­la­tion and com­pe­ti­tion and has not thought about some oth­er issues very hard, and one of these is cryp­tog­ra­phy.

When I start­ed to to talk to him about cryp­tog­ra­phy he said, Well, you know, we have nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests at stake.” And I think that we need to think long and hard about whether or not our nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests are actu­al­ly addressed by try­ing to impose export embar­goes on cryp­to­graph­ic code. This strikes me as being like try­ing to impose export embar­goes on wind, first and fore­most. I mean, you can get MacPGP or PGP from FTP sites all over the world in sec­onds, so I’m not quite sure what they’re accom­plish­ing, except that they are accom­plish­ing a chill­ing effect on the abil­i­ty of American cor­po­ra­tions to incor­po­rate robust cryp­tog­ra­phy into soft­ware and hard­ware which they might design. Because obvi­ous­ly it does­n’t make a lot of sense to build a sys­tem that puts in cryp­to­graph­ic stan­dards that the NSA is not going to allow you to ship over­seas. You don’t want to have to build one sys­tem for the United States, and anoth­er sys­tem for over­seas sales, espe­cial­ly in a busi­ness that exports as much of its prod­uct as we do in the hard­ware and soft­ware indus­tries.

So we have to get the gov­ern­ment to rec­og­nize the futil­i­ty of cryp­to embar­go. It would be nice if they could rec­og­nize that the Cold War is over. But that may take some time. And even when they do rec­og­nize that we still have to deal with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: kid­die pornog­ra­phers; drug lords; ter­ror­ists; and unnamed for­eign ene­mies. And these mon­sters are rat­tled out every time I sug­gest that maybe it would be a good idea to free up cryp­tog­ra­phy. I think they are all fair­ly illu­so­ry beasts at this moment. Assuming that we have to shut down pri­va­cy in America because of ter­ror­ists does­n’t make a lot of sense to me when we only lost six of our cit­i­zens to ter­ror­ism last year. This is not quite the threat that the gov­ern­ment would por­tray it to be.

And real­ly what we’ve got going on I think is the NSA act­ing as a stalk­ing horse for the FBI and oth­er domes­tic law enforce­ment inter­ests, who are scared to death they’re going to lose their abil­i­ty to wire­tap as ana­log com­mu­ni­ca­tions becomes some kind of dig­i­tal fruit sal­ad. And they don’t see—and there may be a for­tu­nate qual­i­ty to this—they don’t see yet the tech­no­log­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ties that dig­i­ti­za­tion will present them. And I think we need to see that and deal with it accord­ing­ly. We may be hurtling toward a future in which every sin­gle thing we do will be vis­i­ble to the gov­ern­ment. And as it is right now, any time you make a finan­cial trans­ac­tion you smear your fin­ger­prints all over cyber­space. This does not need to be the case. But it’s going to take a lot of chang­ing con­scious­ness to have it be oth­er­wise. And I was talk­ing to Gore the oth­er day, he was boast­ing about how gov­ern­ment ser­vices were going to be a lot more effi­cient as a result of a cen­tral­ized card that peo­ple could use to get any mon­ey that was owed them by the gov­ern­ment in dis­abil­i­ty pay­ments, social secu­ri­ty pay­ments, or what­ev­er. They could sim­ply go to a kiosk and insert their card and get their pay­ments. And I asked him if there weren’t some pri­va­cy con­sid­er­a­tions that went along with this and I drew a com­plete blank. So we have a seri­ous prob­lem.

There are also seri­ous prob­lems that have to be reck­oned with in giv­ing cryp­tog­ra­phy to every­body. I mean I’m not cer­tain that I’m com­plete­ly san­guine with the idea that the advent of dig­i­tal cash may cre­ate an econ­o­my in which tax­es become vol­un­tary. You know, at first blush that seems immense­ly appeal­ing to me. [laugh­ter] And I’m sure it does to you, too. But the prob­lem with sim­ply buy­ing the gov­ern­ment that you think you need is that the peo­ple who can afford gov­ern­ment get it and the peo­ple who can’t don’t get it, and you see what’s hap­pen­ing already in the deliv­ery of a lot of vital ser­vices.

Education has become pri­va­tized at the top. Mail has become pri­va­tized at the top. I mean I don’t know any­one with an income over 50,000 that use the Postal Service when they want to send a pack­age. They use Federal Express or UPS.

Even the police ser­vices. If you go down to Los Angeles, which I guess you won’t be able to do for a few days, you will find that in the wealth­i­er parts of Los Angeles, the local estab­lished government-supported police force is not a major ele­ment. The real police come from WESTEC. It’s kind of like out of Snow Crash. I don’t know how many of you have read that but I mean…we’re talk­ing about a future in which Don’s Police Company will be more impor­tant than the local police. And in fact be the local police.

But I also think that we have to detach finan­cial trans­ac­tion from iden­ti­ty or we are going to be in a seri­ous mess. I think that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment we’ve got, for all of its inep­ti­tude, is rel­a­tive­ly benign. But as Lord Acton said, Absolute pow­er cor­rupts absolute­ly,” and when the gov­ern­ment can see every sin­gle thing we’re up to, I think that con­veys to them a lev­el of pow­er that I’m not going to be com­fort­able with their hav­ing. And I don’t think you should be.

There is also a whole set of extreme­ly knot­ty ques­tions about intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty. And again, I’m pleased that I don’t have to explain to this audi­ence that the dig­i­ti­za­tion of every­thing presents us with cer­tain intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty chal­lenges. You know a lot about this. Believe me, the peo­ple in tra­di­tion­al media do not. And we are enter­ing a sit­u­a­tion where the pri­ma­ry arti­cle of com­merce looks a hell of a lot like speech. And giv­en the ambi­gu­i­ty of prop­er­ty law in this area, I think it’s almost impos­si­ble for us to say that free speech is assured when pro­pri­etary inter­ests will try to con­trol its trans­port, in their own eco­nom­ic regard. There is going to be a lot of that, there already is a lot of that. There are oth­er aspects of this that are more incon­ve­nient than threat­en­ing but I don’t see how we’re going to avoid a com­plete col­lapse of tech­no­log­i­cal progress if we con­tin­ue do things like put patents on things like cur­sors. [applause]

But, I’m sure that many of you work for com­pa­nies that now feel oblig­at­ed to patent every thought that hap­pens to gel up in your heads. And I think you have to think about how you can serve Caesar, and at the same time serve the col­lec­tive good of human­i­ty. Because I am con­vinced that a lot of those thoughts real­ly are the col­lec­tive prop­er­ty of human­i­ty. Somebody once said that art is what hap­pens when God speaks through a human being. And I think there is some­thing bold and arro­gant about think­ing that you own what­ev­er hap­pens in your head. I think it’s there for every­one. That’s my own per­son­al belief and I’m sure I can get a good argu­ment out of some of you on that point.

But when I dis­cussed the intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty dilem­ma with Gore on the plane the oth­er day he said, Well, you’re a song­writer and you must know that there is already a sys­tem oper­at­ing that deals in intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty that does­n’t have some phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion, and that is BMI and ASCAP.”

And I said, Well I’m a mem­ber of ASCAP. And if you think that’s the solu­tion, I invite you to write some songs.” [laugh­ter] Because ASCAP and BMI have a sys­tem for extract­ing roy­al­ty pay­ments from radio and tele­vi­sion sta­tions and dis­trib­ut­ing to their mem­bers which is so dis­or­ga­nized and dis­or­ga­ni­z­able that I look at ASCAP pay­ments as being man­na. I mean, when I get a check from ASCAP I think, Well that’s nice. I won­der if it reflects any­thing real about radio play and tele­vi­sion broad­casts.” I sus­pect not, because what they real­ly do is they’ve got peo­ple walk­ing around streets with randomly-selected tapes of radio broad­casts, lis­ten­ing to them on their Walkmans, and writ­ing down every song they hear and com­ing up with some kind of very crude sta­tis­ti­cal reck­on­ing of what that means in terms of actu­al air­play. And this is a slop­py sys­tem.

But I think there are going to be oth­er sys­tems of intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty pro­tec­tion which evolve, prob­a­bly based on some­thing more like a per­for­mance mod­el or a ser­vice mod­el, than instan­ti­a­tion in some phys­i­cal wid­get, whether it’s a book, or a tape, or what­ev­er. Those things are all going to go away, and we have to fig­ure out how to sell the wine with­out any bot­tles. And I think that we prob­a­bly will. I can’t imag­ine that we’re going into the infor­ma­tion age with­out any way of get­ting paid for the work that we do with our minds. But we’re just going to have to change our sense of what that work is from own­er­ship, to per­for­mance and ser­vice. We’re going to have to look at our­selves in a con­tin­u­ous rela­tion­ship with the peo­ple who use our work rather than say­ing, Alright, well I’ve put my work in this box, and I’m going to give you this box and the next time it’s going to be a whole new trans­ac­tion.”

But, these are going to involve some fair­ly pro­found eco­nom­ic and social changes. About the only thing I’m will­ing to say about them from here is that any­thing I say about them at this point is liable to look ridicu­lous in ten years. Everything is going to change very much. I real­ly feel that what we are essen­tial­ly doing here is rough­ly like what the French the­olo­gian and philoso­pher Teilhard de Chardin was talk­ing about when he start­ed to write in the 30s about the Omega Point, or that point at which human beings became so good at com­mu­ni­cat­ing with one anoth­er that they cre­at­ed what amount­ed to the col­lec­tive organ­ism of mind. We are going to become a crea­ture. In a sense maybe we already are. And that will be a very dif­fer­ent kind of crea­ture than has ever been seen in the uni­verse before. It will be enor­mous­ly pow­er­ful. And you folks are help­ing it be born. I want to take some ques­tions and answers, but thank you very much.

John Perry Barlow: Could I have some light in here? I like it a lot better when I'm talking to people I can see. Yes, go ahead.

Audience 1: Okay. In the past, even though the Internet has had funding from the government, I think there's been more sweat equity from some of us, and more local money put into the Internet compared to the government's contribution. With the advent of the superhighway, this ratio may change and therefore the government's control of the Internet may also increase. Do you have any comments on that?

Barlow: Well, you know, fortunately…you'd never guess it from hearing their public statements but the government has no intention of building the national data superhighway. They know that that's not something that they can afford or something that they should be doing. What they are doing instead is trying to create the right economic environment in which that thing can be built by private industry. And that's really the appropriate approach, as long as you can put in place certain standards for behavior that will help private industry act in a democratizing rather than pluto-craticizing kind of way.

The government is also doing the right thing in the sense that they are trying to stimulate internet use by providing grants to schools and other other public interest bodies for Internet connection. And they're also interested in creating applications which will become strongly supportive of public use of the Internet.

So, I think that whenever government gets involved in anything you've got to be vigilant. But I'm very pleased with the overall approach they're taking to building this thing. They're not setting out to try to pour concrete. Or in this case lay fiber. They know enough to know that there's an awful lot of dark fiber already out there and what they need to stimulate are the on-ramps and the country roads. Because the main routes have already been built.

Audience 2: In yesterday's Chronicle, Michael Schrage is a columnist, he wrote that all the talk about information haves and have-nots is creating a welfare ethic in cyberspace, and goes on to say that the real problems are not poverty or wealth in a monetary sense but how illiterate or literate people are. I'd like to know your thoughts about that.

Barlow: Well, I don't think Michael Schrage gets it. He also in the same column talks about what this is all for is for television, essentially. He doesn't seem to understand that people want to interact with each other over this. And he also doesn't understand something an Andrew Carnegie understood very well. I've got a great quote in here which I could read you if my battery hadn't gone flat on me. [laughter; applause] I don't know about these things. …from Andrew Carnegie, who said that he gave his money to libraries because he felt that libraries were one of the great tools for achieving social equity and justice. They did not pauperize people. They didn't make them dependent. They give them the tools that were necessary for them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. And really what we're talking about is the construction of a great meta library. And I can't believe that giving people access to a system on which all the world's information is going to reside will have a truly deleterious effect on the ability of people to get information.

There are problems, and they're primarily cultural rather than economic problems. You folks have created an interface, if we can call it that [laughter], which is highly exclusive. It's congenial to people like you. And there aren't a lot of people like you, as you may have noticed. [laughter] It is not particularly congenial to people like my mother, or a 13 year-old from Harlem. Or, I might, add most women. Just take a look at the numbers in this room. There are women here but you are a special lot. There aren't enough of you here. [applause] And I think that we can't really settle cyberspace until we can make it safe for the women and children, and it isn't. [laughter; applause]

And I don't blame you guys this. I mean, Brenda Laurel and I were at a conference a few years ago talking about why there aren't more women in digital media, and whether it was a process of active exclusion or what. And a young, pale man got up in the back of the room and he said, "Well, you have to understand that I got in the computer science because I was scared of girls. [laughter] And there weren't any there."

So you know, I think that there are a lot of problems that have to be addressed with regard to access, but they're mostly problems with making the tools easy for people to use. Because I don't think that the technology itself is going to be very expensive for very long. I mean I've seen 286's as doorstops and paperweights. And they're still perfectly good for accessing the Internet. We need to get that machinery out into the community that can't afford it. And you need to make certain that the information providers and infrastructure providers feel some sense of social responsibility about putting access points at low cost into every home in America. But Schrage's argument that this is all for the rich I think is a little misleading.

I am…you know, I am a bit concerned about what I'm afraid is going to break down in the library model. I mean, in the library model you come to the library and get books free. The contents of those books didn't cost you anything, it had already been paid for when the library bought the book. And now I'm afraid we're going to a system where an awful lot of information is going to cost everyone who uses it. And I don't know the answer to that question. I hope that the collective mental horsepower of the people in this room can turn themselves to that because it's going to be a tough question.

Audience 3: I had a somewhat more practical question about openness. You mentioned a desire to make sure there are multiple wires to the house. But one of the problems I'm seeing is that the local municipalities own the conduits. And this is actually becoming a tremendous difficulty for example in getting rights to get conduit—look at the [MCLI?] deal that made sure they could install stuff in New York City.

Similarly, I mean you know, if I can get to a railroad line, for example, almost anywhere in the country—railroad lines being an interesting situation because you can put fiber along them very cheaply. I mean for example to wire the entire peninsula could cost a few thousand bucks to go down the Caltrain line here. But getting from one house to Caltrain means you have to go through the local municipality to get permission to put something in the conduit, which means huge amounts of money and difficulty of access. Is there anything one can do to try to encourage competition in the conduit sort of space?

Barlow: Well this is essentially what EFF is trying to get done in Congress, and in working with the various congressmen and with the administration. You know, that's been Priority A, is making certain that there are a lot of competitors who are operating on a level playing field in getting those bits to you. And I think that the bills that're presently pending are headed the right direction. I strongly recommend…you know, tedious as it may be, that you make yourself familiar with that legislation.

And I would also recommend you know, EFF as being a good way to do that. If there are a lot of you who have not joined EFF I'm going to be perfectly self-serving now in saying that I think you really ought to. And if you don't feel like joining us, at least try to check in on our news groups, which are…um… I didn't get enough sleep last night. and eff-news. But the best way to get information from us is to write and ask to be put on our mailing list. And also if you're interested in getting paper for those friends of yours that may not be digitally-connected, you can request that paper materials be sent to you. We will try to keep you extremely up-to-date on what's going on in Washington, where we have the dismal chore of keeping track of it.

We'll do that for you so you don't have to, but you need to be somewhat aware. You need to know that there are going to be moments where it becomes critical to write your congressman. And you need to try to make your friends aware of what's going on here. Because people are in a serious state of confusion. Most folks are differently clued from yourself, and you need to help them out a little bit.

Audience 4: You seem to be advocating two things that at least at first blush seem like they might be at least somewhat mutually contradictory.

Barlow: I hope so.

Audience 5: One is letting competition in a level playing field get things going. The other is universal access as a type of of…that the telephone companies have subsidized local access to get as their quid pro quo for regulated monopoly. This seems to be a sticking point in the various bills in Congress. What is the best position?

Barlow: Well this is a tough problem. I tend to think, though, that if I'm not in the presence of irony and paradox I must not be in the presence of the truth. And you know, the way in which the Vail model worked was by the imposition of the telephone company as a regulated monopoly which was in a position to charge some of its customers a lot more in order to subsidize other of its customers who couldn't afford those rates. And we don't want to go to that regime, and there's no enthusiasm anywhere in the industry for doing that. Too many years of dealing with the FCC has hardened everybody against regulation.

But I think that the answer to that is that there is something about real competition, and not the kind of bogus competition you get between two or three agencies, that is going to have an enormously distributive effect, naturally. If it's real competition, it's in their best interest to get those connections to everybody. Because they're also going to be in the business of selling the stuff that comes over that wire, and if they can't get that wire to you they can't sell that stuff to you. I've had that experience from a number of people in places like Bell Atlantic and TCI and I tend to believe them. I think they see it as being in their self-interest to get everything connected.

But you know, I don't feel some sense of great security in that, I feel like we have to be continuously vigilant. And you know, it's one thing to say that we want open competition, it's another thing to come up with an appropriate mechanism for assuring it and God is in the details. And there's going to be a lot of hard work in working out those details.

By the way I have a question from the net here, which is "Will a recording of this speech be available afterwards?" and I guess the answer is yes though I don't know…

Jeff Mogul: The answer to that is that Carl Malamud who runs Internet Talk Radio will be given the tape of this and he'll make it available via his usual techniques.

Barlow: Right.

Audience 5: Yes, I had a question. Amongst this audience I—and I mean to insult no one—you usually use the word "politics" to describe any social phenomenon you don't understand. [Barlow laughs] And in my experience, I come from the actual precinct in which Tip O'Neill lived, and his famous dictum about all politics being local I think probably holds here. The only thing I guess I would I would ask you is if you could comment on the degree to which politics is about voice. And in my experience on the local level, it has always been that those who are frankly allied on the side of goodness are those who are doing it out of love and in their spare time. And the opposite number is paid to do it and arrive in vast multitudes in proportion to the amount of money to be made. The descriptions you were giving earlier sound like an ever-greater Goliath for us sundry Davids in the audience. I wondered how you might address the inequity.

Barlow: Well at least that ought to get you out of bed in the morning. Or at nightfall whenever you get up. [laughter; applause] But you know, I think we need to look at the Internet itself, which is one of the greatest volunteer projects of all time. And is doubling in size annually in spite of the fact that there doesn't seem to be any money in it anywhere that anybody can— [laughter] People from the physical world keep asking me about how the Internet gets paid for and I…you know… I don't know. [laughter]

Audience 5: Time Warner does.

Barlow: Uh…no Time Warner definitely doesn't, I assure you. They really don't. They're trying hard to figure that out.

But you know, you're absolutely right. All sensible politics are local, for sure. And that's one of the great geniuses of distributed communication systems. Because the sort of macro decisions, the meta decisions that get made about the Internet emerge from little collective decisions that are made all over its outer boundaries. I think there's something enormously democratizing about this. And I think that it is a very, very powerful system that the old structural methods are going to have a difficult time competing with. In spite of the fact that they have a lot of money behind them, they don't have the same kind of passion. They don't have the same sense of personal investment and involvement in what they're doing that people who are building the Internet do. And I…I think, you know there are times when I feel like this thing is just going to spread of its own accord, at the present rate which is sometimes 20% growth per month, until sometime before the turn of the millennium every man, woman, and child on the planet has an email address. But you know, I think we can also expect to see that curve go asymptotic at some point and… You know, I'm not completely sanguine about about our chances but I'm very optimistic. We just have to stay on it.

Audience 6: My question is, when I think about the question of maintaining quality on the net, you know I'm not sure that all thought [flame?] is any better than Geraldo. And unfortunately—

Barlow: At least you don't have to see them. [laughter]

Audience 6: Unfortunately, quality in things like this conference and on the net has relied traditionally on unpaid program committee members and moderators. And as everyone of the businesses involved in this starts saying, "We don't do anything unless we see the return," I'm worried about the sustaining volunteer effort to create the basic information, ie., writing the first copy when you can't usually charge people who're making more copies, and sorting the out good information from the bad. And I hope that the government will try to arrange the politics so that there is a reward in that part of the business in what would traditionally be the librarian refereeing business once the printing business is no longer throwing up the surplus to support it.

Barlow: Well, I don't think that the government needs to do very much along those lines. Because I think that one of the greatest problems that we face citing data shock. I mean, certainly our political system is already reeling under the effects of too much information. The average congressman has got an attention span of about five seconds. And I personally don't spend a lot of time reading Usenet anymore because I just don't have the time or the energy to sort out personally the signal-to-noise ratio. Which is lousy.

And furthermore I'm having to do it you know, with…the human I/O is worse than a cheat modem. For text. I mean it's great for experience. I mean we're getting gigabits per second of information about our environment. But with text it's not very high. So I think that there are a couple of solutions to the problem, one of which is gonna be richer media. But also I think that there's going to be a natural development of a lot of people who make their living by trying to sort out relevance for a specific audience that contracts with them. You know, at this point I would be willing to pay a certain amount to quite a number of people to identify what I really want to know about and flag the stuff that's out there on the Internet, to bring it to my attention so I don't have to read the whole damn thing to get the stuff that is important. [applause]

And I think that's already starting to happen, and will will happen a lot. I mean I really see that there are two great economic opportunities here. One is for virtual editing and the other one is for virtual community and ways in which you can bring people together and provide them a rich medium in which to interact with one another. I think they're going to be very successful business models and they're going to be small sort of machete and loincloth-style businesses. They're not the sort of thing that Bell Atlantic is ever going to know very much about running.

Audience 7: What about systems like the French Minitel? Do you think these are models that we should look at for the information superhighway?

Barlow: Well, first of all I can't imagine that Jesse Helms would be very appreciative of most of the content on Minitel. But you know, if anything I've had dealings with the French about trying to get the Minitel system connected to the net. And there's an enormous amount of cultural immune response there. As you would imagine, their being French and all. [laughter]

Interestingly enough you know, you run into the same problem in Japan. I mean, they recognize that…you know, their culture is very important to them and they recognize that there is something enormously infectious about this. They hate the fact that it's in English. Gore was saying the other day that he had been talking to the president of Kazakhstan and this fellow's son had said that he wanted to learn English because that was the language that the computer spoke. This is the sort of statement that chills a lot of Frenchmen.

But I'm pleased to say that they're starting to come around on this. I know that they have recently contracted with a Silicon Valley company that is in the PDA business to start connecting Minitel to a larger network. They've got some serious technical problems. I mean, Minitel was amazingly advanced when it was created. I don't think you could say that of it now. But I think there's a lot of there's suction in the online world that eventually is going to attract everything that produces electronic information.

Audience 8: This is kind of on a more mundane plane. What kind of connectivity do you expect to have at your ranch in Wyoming in the next decade, say?

Barlow: Well, I'm really hopeful that I'm not stuck at 19.2 forever. But I think that that again is is an area where I have plenty of reason for optimism. There are a number of companies that are working on satellite technology. And I think that there's going to be an economy of scale developed there fairly rapidly for those those kinds of extremely rural areas where running in traditional networks may be prohibitive.

But you know, actually the little companies, little telephone providers in places like I live have been consistently a lot more advanced than than the RBOCs. US West, which serves most of the area around me, is selling off a lot of its small tendrils rather than put in digital switching, whereas the private companies in those small areas have had digital switching for a long time, including one in my little town. Tnd they're presently running a fiber optic cable forty-five miles from Big Piney to Pinedale. I think it'll be a while before they start running fiber around Pinedale, but they're going to have ISDN there next year. [applause]

So again, it falls to a large extent to folks like you to go to your local telephone provider and say, "I want to get ISDN service, how can I do that?" I mean that's really important. Because a lot of these folks don't know that there's a real desire on the part of the public, that there's a market for this kind of product.

Have you been…?

Audience 9: I've been standing here in the middle.

Barlow: Okay, who's been there the longest? I haven't the slightest idea. Okay, go ahead.

Audience 10: I have, yes. To go on with this particular discussion, I live up in the mountains of New Mexico way up away from everywhere and I have a PageSAT satellite receiver. And that is one way, as you pointed out. The problem I'm having there is to get back to the Internet I need to feed back through an FCC-controlled spectrum. And the FCC is not quite coming around as fast as you seem to think the telephone company is, although I'm just totally getting around the telephone company. I really haven't had a phone for three or four years. I just recently got one because I bought a new house and it had a phone in it. But it will go away after a while.

Barlow: Well everybody knows that the FCC is a problem. That's the good news. I mean even the FTC knows that. And I think that as Title 7 gets drafted, we're going to see some fundamental changes in the way in which the FCC operates. Because the FCC has been doing something very different in the past from what it's about to start doing.

There's also finally an awareness that radio spectrum is not quite the same thing as real estate. That it has an infinitely divisible quality. And it's not quite necessary with present day technology to protect so much of the sideband as it has been in the past. So I think we're going to see some real changes in FCC policy. Again, you're going to have to help make those changes happen. I mean these organizations do not change because they want to. They change because they have to.

Audience 10: Well, the thing that I see that's got me scared is that I've a satellite receiver for like fifteen years. And the changes that went into effect when Time Warner turned the skies dark are just terrifying. Because as soon as there was a market, as soon as there were enough satellite receivers out there, then Time Warner decided that they would only send their satellite programming to those people who scrambled their signal so that the home satellite receiver could not receive it. And they had instant market at that point. And so that's why I support the cryptography thing. I'm against the Clipper chip. I'm all of those things just because it's already happened and you guys weren't even aware of it.

Barlow: Well you know, I don't want to be too enthusiastic about these people but another great market developed at that point which was in pirate decoding chips, and those people are amazing.

Audience 10: But the Time Warner people have defeated that market, too. They replace the video cipher almost every year.

Barlow: Yeah.

Audience 10: They're up to video cipher three and four technology at this point. As soon as you start to beat them or start to come even, then they replaced the hardware.

Barlow: And so marches technology. I'm afraid I'm out of time, folks. If you want immediate materials on EFF I think there's some out here on a table. I thank you all very much. I'm honored to be able to speak to you.

Mogul: Thank you John. Apparently we had about seventy people from the Internet listening in at 1 point or another—I don't think all at the same time. And I'd like to thank everybody. We have a break session and then at eleven o'clock sharp we'll be starting the first session of refereed papers in here and the first invited talk session I guess on the other side of the divider.

Further Reference

This recording at

A version of this speech, minus Q&A, is published at the EFF web site, titled "Stopping the Information Railroad". It is marked as having been transcribed, though there are differences from the recording above.

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