Field Networking

Recently I hear from people that have gotten visits from the dutch FBI/BKA equivalent called “Nationale Recherche”. Apparently some of the people that work there are making house calls while investigating – I kid you not – my involvement with the Occupy movement. As much as I feel I am an authoritative source with regard to my involvement in anything, I have yet to be asked any questions. So I don’t know how serious this is, nor whether this is part of a broader investigation into me, into Occupy or into something else entirely.

It’s probably nothing and I know I don’t have to, but I hope you’ll allow me to use this space to clarify some things anyway. If only to preserve precious government resources and to make sure other people don’t have to be bothered answering questions about me anymore.

Dear people at the Nationale Recherche,

If you Google me, you’ll find that I like to provide internet to people that would otherwise not be able to get online. You also might see that I like to play with networking technology in field circumstances. If you read some of the things I’ve said over the years, you won’t be surprised to hear that I am a longtime fan of the people at Adbusters, a “global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society”. They are the people behind the original call to occupy Wall Street.

So when the Occupy Amsterdam encampment went up, I was one of the people that went there to see if we could get a decent internet connection up at the tents at Beursplein in Amsterdam. We found some generous people close-by that wanted to share their internet connection and came with a small assortment of crappy base stations. (We later upgraded to some more suitable networking gear – which by the way has come way down in price lately.) This was absolutely not rocket science and I didn’t get much involved in further organization of anything, mostly because I long ago decided that direct democracy in an ad-hoc group is a wonderful thing that I want to stay very far away from. As Occupy Amsterdam descended into escalating chaos some of the networking gear disappeared, like many other things that were there. I shrugged. Good it was so cheap…

So there you have it, dear people at the Nationale Recherche: my involvement in the Occupy movement. Sometimes I find myself rooting for the underdog and I think it’s only fair if everyone has a say, including various fringe groups in society. I know a thing or two about field networking and I sometimes like to help give a voice to various groups of people that question the crumbling status quo. I don’t think of myself as a law-enforcement priority and neither should you, really. We all benefit if you spend your time investigating more important things, such as actual crime. If you still have further questions, I’d prefer it if you just ask me and not various other people, some of whom truly have not a clue what my link to Occupy is. Also: if you absolutely must ask others about me, it would be swell if you could refrain from threatening them or their employers.

Thank you.

P.S.: To prevent the spending of further tax euros: I have also helped transport a modest amount of internet bandwidth at the recent Ter Apel refugee action camp to facilitate streaming audio from there. Please don’t start bothering people about this when you become institutionally aware of it sometime in 2013.


Ik kan de boom in

I’m back…

It’s been a while since I have written anything. Now I’m not the type to continuously blog/tweet/Facebook about what I had for dinner, and I’ve been away for longer periods before. With age comes wisdom: I can now shut up when I have nothing interesting to say… 🙂

But since I last posted there have been some things that I’ve wanted to write. But when you’ve been away for a while, you don’t want to come back writing about something silly or mundane. The longer you’re away, the bigger of a deal the imagined comeback blogpost has to be. Until you reach the point where the only possible post is about how you discovered intelligent life on another planet or cured cancer. Or you just post something anyway…

OK, that out of the way…. So how have I been? I’m still, as always, watching in awe as the world gyrates towards financial and environmental crisis. Not depressed by it (that was 2004-2005) as much as just impressed, slightly intimidated and incredibly curious as to how it’s all going to play out. Apart from that I am dealing with what I guess are fairly common things one deals with when reaching the forties: caring for aging mother, helping people around me as best I can and making sure my kids get educated. None of which is easy to begin with and the particular circumstances are certainly not always helping. All the while I’m trying to learn new things while wondering what the hell I should be doing with the rest of my life. All very stereotypical, I guess.

I’ll follow-up with a semi-quick series of posts about some of the things I’ve been learning and doing, or that have happened to me.