Technology starts off promising freedom and later is used by dictators

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


In 1982, eleven clandestine Radio Solidarity radio stations were shut down across Poland. The scientists who cooperated in the balloon project were risking serious jail time in addition to the loss of their career and livelihood.

Their act of defiance didn’t bring down the state. It didn’t do much more than give hope and brighten the day of a few hundred people. But it went straight back to that first idealistic promise of radio: that there existed magic, invisible rays that had the power to erase the distance between people, bypass all intermediaries, and penetrate even the thickest walls.

I tell this story to reassure you that just because everything is heavy and political right now, it doesn’t mean we can’t also fight these fights on our own terms, as nerds.

The Utopian qualities that made us love the web have not disappeared, even as it’s become centralized and corporate, and we can find ways to defend and express them in our work.

The important thing is to recognize that there is a fight, and a need for individual acts of creative resilience.

We have to make sure that the powerful don’t get comfortable using our tools. And we have to find ways to dismantle the surveillance economy before it becomes a poltical weapon turned against our democracy.

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