research design laboratory


In light of the platform we're building, I'm going over some of the Highlights of Eben Moglen's Freedom in the Cloud Talk from a speech given at a meeting of the Internet Society's New York branch on Feb 5, 2010, entitled: "Freedom In the Cloud: Software Freedom, Privacy, and Security for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing." Worth considering in the segment "What is a Platform?" [18:00], Moglen says:

What we have are things we call platforms? The word platform, like cloud, doesn't inherently mean anything. Thrown around a lot in business talk, but basically what 'platform' means is places you can't leave, stuff you're stuck to, things that don't let you off. Once the net become a hierarchically organized zone with servers in the center and increasingly dis-empowered clients at the edge, it becomes the zone of 'platforms' and platform making becomes the order of the day...

In conceptualizing an archival platform, we are doing it with the knowledge that there is a growing awareness by users of the value of their data, and the importance of rights management online. This has a resulted in a growing desire amongst users--content creators--to be in control of how their content and how it can be (re)used.  By allowing users to manage and organize their personal archive, we're privileging both sharing content and retaining ownership. We're doing this by letting users automatically synchronize files to a remote server or local hard drive. Access to a local copy of one’s archive will allow users to browse and manage these files offline. These backups provides flexible options to allow users to ensure their archive is safe and preserved.  In terms of exportability, users can access data from their archive, made available in exportable formats through a public API. This ability to access one’s data frees the content from the platform. This is essentially our way of acknowledging that there isn't one simple solution to preservation and that by facilitating a range of possible outputs, users become empowered to save, backup, duplicate, share, and/or delete content at will.