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Mobile technology is turning us all into feudal serfs

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Threat to our fundamental rights

Virtually unnoticed, the sovereign rights of man are being eroded by the conjunction of cloud-computing technologies and crowd-sourcing philosophies. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are central to our identity and well-being, but they're being dragged under the bus of innovation. Here's how:

The right to life is based on the idea that life is the standard of moral value. Its aim is to protect the individual's ability to take every action necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of his or her life. Implicit in this right – always – is the right to property. What happens, then, in this era where access trumps ownership?

Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, where shared information is provided to users on demand, like electricity. These usercentric, "pay as you go, use only what you need" systems are affecting nearly every facet of life. In the clouds, we are forever "clients" utilizing distant servers to borrow and invest in intangible capital.

Flickr, Bebo, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook: Where does all our stuff sit? It is no longer tucked away in albums or lining the shelves of our libraries, but with privately owned companies that can regulate it however they like. Our conversations, too – once reserved for the dinner table or the bedroom, boardroom, or classroom – now reside outside ourselves, our homes, and our dominion, in the air above us.

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