[iDC] Computrace query

Jonathan Beller jbeller at pratt.edu
Tue May 25 16:09:36 UTC 2010

I just want to thank all of you (both on and off-list) for the crash  
course in Computrace and the connection of its maker Absolute Software  
to LANrev. (LANrev is the program that allowed 80,000 images of  
Harrington High School students using their computers in their own  
homes to be captured by school administrators.) The battle with Pratt  
IT to remove Computrace from "my" would be computer and from the  
campus at large is just beginning, but I will be organizing a round- 
table at Pratt in the Fall under the rubric of the Aesthetics and  
Politics Series that I run there. If anyone on this list feels  
inclined to speak about the program, the company or network security  
and the commons more generally, please let me know off list and we'll  
see what can be arranged.

All best,

Jonathan Beller
Humanities and Media Studies
and Critical and Visual Studies
Pratt Institute
jbeller at pratt.edu
718-636-3573 fax

On May 24, 2010, at 2:56 PM, Christopher Kelty wrote:

> On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 11:30 PM, Jonathan Beller  
> <jbeller at pratt.edu> wrote:
>  First is this assessment of Computrace's capacities correct and  
> second, does it not seem that acquiescing to the installation of  
> such programs institutes an unprecedented level of surveillance over  
> our intellectual and sensual exploration as well as our very  
> creativity. We know that in principle our every screen-view and  
> inscription is retrievable by those who have immense power over us.  
> If this understanding is correct, how can we tolerate that our  
> liberal arts institutions allow a window open to the possibility of  
> human freedom be closed not only for us but --should this situation  
> become the standard -- perhaps for all time?
> like all forms of surveillance, it's virtual first, and actual only  
> with the hard work of actually employing people to sit in the  
> panopticon.  Your IT department is trying to solve a disciplinary  
> problem with a technical fix, which is both an assault on human  
> freedom, and a waste of your money.  I would recommend:
> 1) buy the computer.
> 2) download http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download (or your choice)
> 3) burn cd
> 4) insert cd
> 5) restart computer
> 6) click install
> not to be a an ideologue or anything, but this is a very good reason  
> millions of people work hard to create high quality free software  
> (as in freedom), to save you from this kind of bullshit.
> ck
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