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Book details of 'High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace'

Cover of High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace
TitleHigh Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace
Author(s)Peter Ludlow
PublishedJuly 1996
PublisherMIT Press
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Reviewer wrote:
A clash-of-cultures collection of 33 essays--scholarly treatments by learned professors and online screeds and manifestos by psuedonymous hackers--dealing with the knotty questions of cyberspace: privacy, property rights hacking and cracking, encryption, censorship, and self and community. A great book for courses on the Internet, or for the more thoughtful and philosophically inclined Net traveler.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
I found Ludlow's account of the creation of this volume very interesting. Wanting material for a course on philosophical issues in cyberspace, he turned first to the more academic readings in computer ethics. Having read most of these myself, I am not surprised that the project was not a raging success. Undaunted, he turned to a very interesting source for content: the net itself. Actually, the versions appearing in the book primarily appeared in print journals of one sort or another, but usually developed drafts on the net first. In any case, the authors all have direct experience of online life, and opinions that are generally more passionate than academic. The material covers many points of view, and, where possible, contrasting positions are presented. For example, a well researched and articulate couple of papers, one an official institutional brief, is just slightly less impressive when someone comes along and points out that the quotations cited are taken very much out of context. Because of the personal nature of many of the documents, they are much more readable and interesting than "surveys" or "position papers" with all the juice drained out. Given the informal nature of the texts, Ludlow has done a very superior job of collecting the most articulate of the available content, although, in an attempt to represent all points of view, a few less convincing voices are included. Not all the articles are that good, but the number of pedestrian items of standard magazine fodder are few. The essays are grouped under the topics of intellectual property and rights, system intrusion, encryption and privacy, censorship, and the self online. Intellectual property and system intrusion are covered very well, with good presentations for opposing positions. Encryption is rather one sided, and the additional topic of privacy is not addressed terribly well. Censorship is likewise viewed from a single perspective. The section on self is the weakest in the book. Most of the pieces are personal, as might be expected, but also tend to deal only with a single system, and do not get into larger, more conceptual, issues. Two do stand out: Julian Dibbell's rather classic "A Rape in Cyberspace" and James DiGiovanna's excellent "Losing Your Voice on the Internet" that deserves to be more widely known. While there are some gaps that could be filled, overall this serves the purpose very well: it is a good series of discussion starters, written by people who know the online world well. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999

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Book description:

foreword by Mike Godwin "...The two sides of the dispute appear in dueling essays as part of a massive collection, titled High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, edited by Peter Ludlow and coming in June from The MIT Press. I hate the title, but this collection covers many timely issues, such as property rights, computer crime and cryptography. If you make your living by writing code, you have to read this book." -- Peter Coffee, PC Week Peter Ludlow has culled from various sources, both print and electronic, key articles on hot cyberspace policy issues, together with lively extracts from online discussions of these issues. These include the standard academic pieces along with "rants and manifestos" on a broad range of issues from the denizens of cyberspace and reflect the discourse of cyberspace itself. At times they have what Ludlow terms "a certain gonzo quality," but nonetheless they raise serious conceptual issues in a way that illustrates precisely what is at stake. The topics covered in this timely compilation include privacy, property rights, hacking and cracking, encryption, censorship, and self and community on-line. The writings/discussions: John Perry Barlow · Wine Without Bottles Simson L. Garfinkel, Richard M. Stallman, and Mitchell Kapor · Why Software Patents Are Bad The League for Programming Freedom · Against Software Patents Paul Heckel · Debunking the Software Patent Myths Pirate editorial · So You Want to Be a Pirate? Mike Godwin · Some "Property" Problems in a Computer Crime Prosecution The Mentor · The Conscience of a Hacker Julian Dibbell · The Prisoner: Phiber Optik Goes Directly to Jail Dorothy E. Denning · Concerning Hackers Who Break into Computer Systems Congressional Testimony by Emmauel Goldstein Philip Zimmermann · How PGP Works/Why Do You Need PGP? Steven Levy · Crypto Rebels John Perry Barlow · Jackboots on the Infobahn Dorothy E. Denning · The Clipper Chip Will Block Crime The Denning-Barlow Clipper Chip Debate David Chaum · Achieving Electronic Privacy Timothy C. May · A Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto Blacknet · Blacknet Worries Philip Elmer-Dewitt · Censoring Cyberspace ACLU Letter to CMU Mike Godwin · Virtual Community Standards Jeffrey Shallit · Public Networks and Censorship Mike Godwin · Sex and the Single Sysadmin: The Risks of Carrying Graphic Sexual Materials Computer and Academic Freedom News: List of Banned Files on College Campuses Amy S. Bruckman · Gender Swapping on the Internet Elizabeth Reid · Text-Based Virtual Realities: Identity and the Cyborg Body Pavel Curtis · Mudding: Social Phenomena in Text-Based Virtual Realities Julian Dibbell · Rape in Cyberspace Elizabeth Reid · Communication and Community on

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