In Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics, Chun discusses the Internet as a structure of power and freedom and how people sometimes respond negatively to such power.
The first important aspect I found is on page 2 where Chun discusses the Internet as a tool of freedom. Chun states that the Internet was “…sold as a tool of freedom, as a freedom frontier that by its name could not be tamed: the Internet supposedly interpreted censorship as damage and routed around it” (2). In other words, Chun is explaining how the Internet is seen as “tool of freedom” to people because you can access anything and everything by a click of a button. This is important to the overall argument because later on Chun explains how this freedom puts fear in some people. This can also apply to our class as we rethink digital culture and rethink how our devices give us freedom, but when we were younger our parents tried to limit our “freedom” by monitoring our use of our devices due to free that we would do things we were not supposed to.
The second important aspect I found is on page 11. Chun explains sexuality and fiber optics by stating that the relationship between “…control and freedom in terms of fiber-optic networks is often experienced as sexuality or is mapped in terms of sexuality-paranoia” (11). Chun applies this to his overall argument on fiber optics by comparing the computer to infectious diseases that can jump from computer to computer. This comparison can actually help our class get a better understanding of his argument by comparing it to real life.
The third important aspect is on page 18 where Chun states the problem with software. Chun explains that the problem with “software studies” or transcoding “…is this privileging of software as readable text; it ignores the significance of hardware and extramedial representation because it only moves between software and interface” (18). Chun is saying that studying software is difficult because people what to categorize it into the visible and non-visible functions, but it is not that simple. This applies to the overall argument because software is what gives our laptops and desktops meaning and purpose. This can apply to our class because we have already discussed in the Kittler reading how tricky it can be to accurately define and categorize software, and according to her, it does not exist.
Although this was an interesting read, I do have some discrepancies with a couple of points that Chin made. The first confusing point Chun made is when she states, “Using a packet sniffer, however, you can see that your computer constantly wanders with you. Even when you are not “using,” your computer sends and receives, stores and discards─that is, reads─packets, which mostly ask and respond to the question “Can you read me?” (3-4). I understand where she is going in the beginning, but it feels like she trails off at the end. I am not sure where she is going with the point.
The other confusing point she makes is on page 15 where Chun compares web sites to the telephone by saying “However, unlike the telephone, it does make prosecution easier” (15). I am just not sure where the connection between web sites and telecommunication is at this point in the article.
Lastly, my question to the class would be “How would you compare fiber optics to the internet?”