johnsu01 (johnsu01) wrote,
johnsu01
johnsu01

DefectiveByDesign event

Here are Justin's photos from the event, including a couple of me talking on behalf of our group to some very jovial Cambridge police officers. What was disturbing about that conversation was not their attitude, which was very accommodating (wish I could say the same about mall security), but how much they already knew about what we were going to do and why we were doing it. We didn't try to hide this info -- it was advertised on the Internets -- but still, I'm a bit chilled by the fact that they bothered to care.

The Apple store in Cambridge is inside a mall. Malls are really bad news. I rarely go to them (there just aren't that many here, for one thing), and now I remember one good reason why. They embody a serious diminishment of public space for public expression -- retail fortresses often surrounded by acres of privately owned blacktop. They may not feel like a fortress, until you try to get in when they don't want you in.

No leaflets, no photos, no speaking to people if they don't want you to (modulo some legislated specific exceptions). What if some store inside is doing something bad that people might not yet know about? A mall may be private property, but all kinds of ownership are not alike, and I question whether this kind should be accorded the same kinds of protections that are extended to smaller, more atomistic properties. In an era that seems to be headed toward increasing personal aggregation and filtering of information (but is it really?), I find this exclusive control over what is the public space in many communities troubling.

I'm also a little worried -- maybe just curious -- about who the seemingly unaffiliated people in the store taking our pictures were. I don't think they were Apple customers.

So, that's my personal, unofficial side of things. I have a lot to learn about organizing things like this. We missed some opportunities by being preoccupied with the security presence. I guess that's what you call intimidation. But we were pretty successful in terms of our own expectations, and obviously got Apple's attention, so perhaps those were the right decisions after all. More about the substance of the campaign will be posted via official channels.
Tags: activism, apple, cambridge, defectivebydesign, diary, drm, malls
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