Open source warfare and the dark side of P2P: it will get worse before it gets better

John Robb presents a narrative in 3 moments:

1. Terrorist-criminal networks, their systempunkt open source warfare strategies

2. Failed states through spectrums of security and care that favour the rich and orphan the population

3. Self-reliant counter-reactions of cities and local communities using P2P formats

It is really important to put the Global Guerillas feed in your reading diet. John Robb is a fount of insights on the dark side of a peer to peer world, and on what he calls the terrorist-criminal symbiosis, which use open source warfare and p2p-technologies for their own ends.

In Fast Company, he summarizes his point of view.

First, it will get a lot worse. Global guerillas are perfecting systempunkt strategies which can disrupt state systems at minimal cost, while states are perfecting ways of warfare that they can sustain in the very long term, and he cites Iraq as an example. The rich, and the recent fires in Greece are a case in point, are creating their own systems of privatized security (this ‘spectrum of security’ is a mirror of the ‘spectrum of care’, with highly unequal health care and security as a result) leaving the general population more vulnerable than ever before.

But John Robb, while a realist, is not a doomsayer, he recognizes that at the same time, peer to peer is used also by local communities, to offset and combat such changes, and that open source war will function as a ‘pedagogical catastrophe’, speeding up the formation of counter-forms of social organization.

Mirroring our own vies on the relocalization of political and economic life, which I put forward in my recent article on ‘peer to peer and the feudal transition’ , Robb then describes what will happen, say, after 2016.

John Robb:

“By 2016 and beyond, real long-term solutions will emerge. Cities, most acutely affected by the new disruptions, will move fastest to become self-reliant, drawing from a wellspring of new ideas the market will put forward. These will range from building-based solar systems from firms such as Energy Innovations to privatized disaster and counterterrorist responses. We will also see the emergence of packaged software that combines real-time information (the status of first-responder units and facilities) with interactive content (information from citizens) and rich sources of data (satellite maps). Corporate communications monopolies will crumble as cities build their own emergency wireless networks using simple products from companies such as Proxim.
By 2016, we may see the trials of the previous decade as progress in disguise. The grassroots security effort will do more than just insulate our gas lines and high schools. It will also spur positive social change: So-called green systems will quickly shed their tree-hugger status and be seen as vital components of our economic and personal security. Even those civilian police auxiliaries could turn out to be a good thing in the long run: Their proliferation–and the technology they’ll adopt–will lead to major reductions in crime.

All of these changes may prove to be exactly the kind of creative destruction we need.

Some towns and cities will go even further. In an effort to bar the door against expanding criminal networks, certain communities will move to regulate, tax, and control everything from illegal immigration to illicit drugs, despite federal pressure to do otherwise. A newly vigilant and networked public will push for much greater levels of transparency in government and corporate operations, using the Internet to expose, publish, and patch potential security flaws. Over time, this new transparency, and the wider participation it entails, will lead to radical improvements in government and corporate efficiency.

On the national level, we’ll see a withering of the security apparatus, but quite possibly a flowering in other areas. Energy independence and the obsolescence of conventional war with other countries will reduce tensions between the United States and the rest of the world. The end of oil will also force corrupt states, now propped up by energy income, to make the reforms they need to be accepted internationally, improving life for their people.

Perhaps the most important global shift will be the rise of grassroots action and cross-connected communities. Like the Internet, these new networks will develop slowly at first. After a period of exponential growth, however, they will quickly become all but ubiquitous–and astonishingly powerful, perhaps as powerful as the networks arrayed against us. And so we will all become security consultants, taking an active role in deciding how it is bought, structured, and applied. That’s a great responsibility and, with luck, an enormous opportunity. Choose wisely.”

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