Again?

Sharing cover

I reproduce here the text of an op-ed originally published on La Quadrature du Net’s website.


Yet another? But yet another what? One does not even know. Once more tens of people killed, many more injured. Once more, a human being has carried them over towards death and suffering in his trajectory of violence and self-destruction. And both ISIS and most western commentators rush to describe him as the soldier of a cause when one does not even know if and when he discovered it.

But also yet another opportunity for politicians to compete in destroying the values they claim to defend. When the French parliamentary investigation committee on the January and November 2015 attacks has just concluded that putting in place the state of emergency was useless in preventing the repetition of attacks, when President Hollande announced its removal on the morning of July 14th, here it is back. And again ten thousand soldiers are mobilized supposedly to to reassure the population, in reality to install a permanent state of fear. And those politicians who want to conduct the next government overbid by requesting anew the preventive internment of persons classified as “S”1. The word “war” ten times by minute from all mouths. Invoking in parallel the external enemy that is born from the disasters of our previous external policies and an internal enemy that does not exist yet but that one will soon be able to create by following the lessons of our American friends. In short, a huge competition to put in place exactly what those who claim the paternity of the attacks wish most: making our own universe unbearable so it resembles the caricature they draw of it.

What can an organisation like La Quadrature du Net say in such a situation, when it focuses on promoting what can make sense in a world to come, a world that resembles to what is at play already in the practices of many, from all origins. A world where commons are produced and the common good cared for. Where the future paths are considered open if only one asks the right questions, whether about technology, production and consumption models, capability-building for all, freedom and ability to express oneself, or the open debate on what is valuable. We can only repeat that what remains of dignity in Parliament will be measured by the number of votes to reject the state of emergency. What remains of justice and reason in our society will be measured by counting those who refuse to scream “war, war, war” with those who want to be able to say tomorrow that we have no choice but conducting it all out.

And we will keep sowing the seeds of other possible paths while it is the very idea of a polity that our failed politicians bury.

Philippe Aigrain, 18 July 2016

  1. Persons who are considered by police and security services as a threat to national security even though they have not been found guilty in court.. []

Fundamental rights: shameful manoeuvring of the French socialists (and others)

Update : The French S&D MEPs succeeded, to obtain the deletion of the 4th part. Shame on them. Further update after analysis of the votes. The governmental right wing parties (PPE and ECR) voted for the deletion of parts 2 and 4 as could be expected. The S&D (social-democrats) voted in most cases for keeping […]


How should we frame and serve cultural rights in the digital age ?

This post gives the core of what I said in the panel on « Legalizing file-sharing: an idea whose time has come – or gone? » in the Information Influx conference organized to celebrate the 25 years of IViR, the Institute of Information Law in Amsterdam on 4 July 2014. The panel brought together 4 […]


Political asylum in France for Edward Snowden now!

published at the occasion of the first anniversary of the Snowden revelations and a large-scale campaign in France demanding President Hollande to grant constitutional asylum to Edward Snowden.


Don’t harm the best effort Internet to compensate for the loss of roaming income

This post has undergone various limited revisions since its original publication. When not purely cosmetical, these revisions are signaled through footnotes. The European Parliament is presently in the last stages of first reading for a revision of the telecom regumation. This revision addresses two facets: roaming costs for international mobile communications and network neutrality. Cancelling […]


Will French Parliamentarians Consent to a Democratorship?

Numerous reactions are now being voiced against the inclusion in the 2014-2019 Defense Bill of article 13 whose provisions enable a pervasive surveillance of online data and communications. Gilles Babinet, appointed in 2012 as French Digital Champion to Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, was quoted [fr] […]


A senior beginner

Photo Jean Salvat Madeleine V. is my partner’s aunt. She just started using computers and the internet, a 95 years old beginner. Yesterday, we received her first email. She was motivated and assisted by the staff of Résidence Canarie, the old people’s home in Argelès-Gazost. I promised her a post on this blog is she […]


The maelström of Violet

See footnote for more on the context of this entry1. Five dancers at the back of the scene. Motionless, regularly spaced. On the left, a drums set, the usual instruments of electronic music, and an also immobile musician. It lasts, and tension builds. Then one of them, the taller one, starts to raise his arm […]


It’s just time

In Europe and elsewhere, societies are in a strange state. Even when not voicing it, many are indignant at social injustice, at the apathy in face of ecological challenges, at the ruling groups, their blind economicism and their colluded interests, at the development of pervasive control and surveillance. Meanwhile, citizens and societal groups develop new […]


Sharing is a cultural right, not a market failure

An endless stream of law proposals, soft-law initiatives and free-trade agreements keeps trying to eradicate or prevent the non-market sharing of digital works between individuals. New strategies are pushed using incentives and threats so that intermediaries will police the Internet to save the scarcity-based business models of a few from the competition of abundance. So […]


The body as architecture

I carry on my episodical chronicles of contemporay dance performances on this blog. My literary experimentation blog could be better suited, but it is in French only. The yearly Rencontres Choréographiques de la Seine-Saint-Denis are back, and with them the pleasure of discoveries for the intermittent amateur. Tamara Bacci, Marthe Krummenacher and Perrine Valli are […]


Discussion of the Onlife Manifesto

The Onlife Manifesto was produced by a multidisciplinary group for the European Commission DG Connect. Its focus is “what it means to be human in a hyperconnected world”. I was one of 7 people asked to react to it at the occasion of its publication on 8 February 2013 in Brussels. The others were representatives […]


Expropriation from the common heritage

Some context for English speaking readers: on 15 January 2013 the French National Library (BnF) has signed public-private partnerships for the digitizing of 70000 ancient books (up to 1700) and 200,000 78 and 33 rpm sound recordings of patrimonial value. These partnerships, respectively with ProQuest and Believe, grant a 10 years exclusive commercial exploitation right […]


We need a new formulation of end-to-end analysis

End-to-end analysis is the major theoretization of the Internet that was proposed by Jerome Saltzer, David Reed and David Clark from 1981. In their seminal paper and later ones, they formulated what became known as the end-to-end principle, interpreted often as “application-specific functions ought to reside in the end hosts of a network rather than […]


The Polish campaign for the right to culture

I write this post in a mix of sadness and joy. The sadness of losing Aaron Swartz who committed suicide two days ago. He was a great person (say all who met him) to whom we owe a significant part of the victory against SOPA in the US through his organization Demand Progress and many […]