Reprogramming The World-Cyberspace and the Geography of Global Order book Abstract
In the pre-digital era, the same tableau might have been one of police destroying a printing press; the destruction of a printing press being an efficient means of containing information and destroying a message. In the digital age, the UK government remained insistent on this same method of control. It physically destroyed the machinery of the newspaper, despite the fact “that other copies of the files existed outside the country and that The Guardian was neither the sole recipient nor steward of the files leaked by Snowden.”
The effectiveness of the state’s power to coerce is limited within a specific space and time, because the object of its control existed outside the space of the state. More specifically, not only was this information outside of the space of the UK, it existed outside the space of any state.
The leaks themselves existed in a global space. In the past, the rationale for destroying the printing press was linked to its locality and its central position in the distribution network for its messages. Now, the message is no longer linked to the locality of the machine, and in McLuhan’s word “the medium” has been transfused with “the message.”
As a result, the state’s ability to control information is bounded, and The Guardian “preferred to destroy [its] copy rather than hand it back to them or allow the courts to freeze [its] reporting.”
While the individuals using the angle grinders are helpless in the face of the state, the state is helpless in the face of technology: reporting on the leaks continued. Interestingly, the very leaks being destroyed exposed how states are attempting to shift this proposition and reassert power to control information. New spaces create unique governance issues.
This theme can be traced through the historical development of the international system of governance, which is tied to the conceptualization and division of space. From empires to Westphalian states to the modern state, the way in which global space is conceptualized, divided, and compartmentalized is a critical component in understanding the distribution of governance across the globe.
This research takes up this thread and argues that Cyberspace creates an alternative geography that is facilitating a respatialization of the world. This respatialization, from an international space to a global space, is directly tied to the networkization of real space that creates new abutments and intersections with Cyberspace.
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