Sunday, November 11, 2007

DOPA Goes to College

I've written a lot about DOPA here -- never positively, since I think this legislation designed to cut off access to social network sites from computers in schools and public libraries fosters an attitude about distributed computational media that stymies technical education and disenfranchises the poor in the acquisition of social capital as well.

Now I discover that the kind of blocking software being used in many schools and libraries to use -- as Lawrence Lessig says -- the code of computer architecture to achieve what the code of law has not yet done has been installed in the city's local training center for the digital arts, The Academy of Entertainment Technology.

I first noticed this when I was sitting in a PC lab, where the Flash developer teaching my ActionScript class wanted to show off a site that he had designed for Apple, and none of us could get Facebook to open, although we could view the page at home. Since Facebook is specifically marketing itself to start-ups to build applications for the site, this policy seems particularly stupid for a course targeted to young, independent creators of web content. And when learned colleagues like Amy Bruckman are arguing that Facebook-oriented projects like Splat! could also motivate young people in K-12 environments to learn the fundamentals of computer programming, this seems a particularly misguided approach to take in public facilities where education is the stated aim.

Of course, during the break, when I wanted to write up this outrageous incident for the Virtualpolitik blog, the Blogger browser window kept closing. So at least I avoided the danger of blogging while angry that day.

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