architectures of control
MY AIM IN THE LAST CHAPTER WAS TO CRACK ONE MEME ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE Net—that the Net has a nature, and that its nature is liberty. I argued instead that the nature of the Net is set in part by its architectures, and that the possible architectures of cyberspace are many. The values that these architectures embed are different, and one type of difference is regulability—a difference in the ability to control behavior within a particular cyberspace. Some architectures make behavior more regulable; other architectures make behavior less regulable. These architectures are displacing architectures of liberty.
This chapter suggests how and why. In a nutshell: the why is commerce, and the how is through architectures that enable identification to enable commerce. As the Net is being remade to fit the demands of commerce, architectures are being added to make it serve commerce more efficiently. Regulability will be a by-product of these changes. Or put differently, the changes that make commerce possible are also changes that will make regulation easy.
I don't pick out commerce to pick on commerce. My argument is not that commerce is the enemy, nor that there is any necessary connection between commerce and regulability. 1 There is no doubt that commerce will flourish in the future of the Internet, and no doubt that is a good thing. The presence of commerce in the Net's future, however, does not mean that the Net of the future will be the same as the Net of the past. Commerce will change the Net, and my aim in this chapter is to help us understand how.
R E A L SPACE
By "identity" I mean something more than just who you are. I mean all the facts about you that are true as well. Your identity, in this sense, includes your name, your