Power Dynamics

This week, I’d like to focus on the aspect that intrigued me the most about this module and seemed to intertwine with many of the topics. This would be the idea of privacy and from ideas about privacy sparks ideas of control, in my eyes. Doug discussed power dynamics in today’s lecture (23rd March) and how those who have access or control are the ones that can stop events occurring and seemingly also, make things happen.

It was announced yesterday that the FBI may be able to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino killer, without the need for Apple’s assistance. If the method works, then the FBI receive the information they want, ultimately becoming more enriched with knowledge and power.

However, this has caused much controversy. If Apple were to help the FBI, it would have compromised the safety and trust of millions of Apple users. Prince Al Hussein, high commissioner for human rights at the United Nations was also in support for Apple’s argument.


In addition, if the FBI are able to find a loophole and succeed on their own, I think to a degree this could suggest an even bigger cause for concern. The BBC reported:

if the FBI can do it, so can any other hacker privy to the same information.

It also represents the power dynamics amongst society and how essentially, we have no control over our own liberty. This is supported by Lawrence Lessig’s regulation model from Code: Version 2.0, (see figure below) which shows in this situation how the government/those in power are simply going around the constraints, in order to achieve their goal.

Constraints Model




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