Dispatches from Inside the Golden Cage.

Here I am, November 25 somewhere in the outskirts of Hamburg. Having returned from an inspiration and food for thought-packed week in London there is finally some time to digest a few of the themes that have been on my mind lately.


In recent years, there has been (a still ongoing) discussion all around the subjects of big data, privacy and publicness and the ever-growing power and impact of American web services.


Being a German myself, it is obviously hard to avoid our country’s sceptical– and sometimes even stroppy — attitude towards all these bold new things digital. Well, to be honest, today’s novel rendition of the Pepsi vs. Coke battle has pretty much turned into a battle of two cultures- openness and tech-love vs. concern and techno-skepticism. No other odd couple personates this 21st century struggle of cultures as adecquate as the ingeniously sauna-savvy Jeff Jarvis and hot-headed (but nevertheless observing, smart and precise) Evgeny Morozov.


A few weeks back, the brilliant Miriam Meckel contributed an elaborate piece “The Limits of Freedom on the Internet” in Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Saturday edition, right on the cover of its week-end spread.


Mrs. Meckel’s open statement:

“The web provides pretty much everything for anybody- at any time and anywhere. First and foremost there is transparency, boundlessness and freedom. At least– that is what you might think. Until that very point when Google, Apple and Facebook show us where they are setting the Internet’s limits.” –Miriam Meckel *

Mrs. Meckel literally spoke from my heart on this matter and I am very glad that this piece was published over on Süddeutsche. I highly recommend you to read the article, if you are English speaking– give translate.google.com a shot.


As for this, our very first Haruki Observatory Mini Series, our plan is to observe, understand and do a little bit around our digital Golden cages. Eventually, at some stage, also with the help of some old and new friends.
Inside the Golden Cage: a short history of lock-in effects.
Instatitis: A tale of a 21st century disease in the self-making.
My public Personal Sickness: blogging and the rise of public health data.
Data Liberation: How you, I and everyone I know can get back control over their data.


At least, this is the initial plan. Please do get in touch, if you want to contribute or bounce some ideas.


* Original Quote in German from SZ 03.11.2012/ sueddeutsche.de: “Im Netz gibt es alles für jeden – immer und überall. Und vor allem gibt es Transparenz, Grenzenlosigkeit und Freiheit. So denkt man sich das. Bis uns Google, Apple und Facebook die Grenzen aufzeigen.”