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Friday, January 20th, 2012, 4:33 pm

The Culture of Renting

Früher Bankautomat

THE more we move forward, the more we stay the same and sometimes step back. The Internet was created to facilitate the use of one’s space and one’s own material, but in this age of mashups and ‘free’ hosting by so many companies, a lot of people simply subscribe to be a guest at someone else’s platform, thus conceding of the main features of the World Wide Web.

It is saddening to see the number of people who willingly (or due to peer pressure) choose to upload ‘public’ photos that will only be visible to those who give away their personal details to creepy Mark Zuckerberg. It is scary to see how many people still manage their E-mail (professional and personal) on servers in other countries — servers that can be snooped without even informing those affected. Those two problems are not the same, but they illustrate how much different today’s Web is. Once we go there, there’s no going back.

This whole thing boils down to a culture of renting. People purchase machines that are only rented in the sense that they are not general-purpose machines; they are controlled and thus owned by just one company. People also subscribe to other sites where they rent space and sometimes a mail box. People rent a ticket to some database which determines who their “friends” are. When life is “rented” from big corporations rather than bought to be owned, self-determination is assured a destruction. The whole “cloud” media hype makes this worse.

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