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Digital Public Infrastructural Possibilities | Stanford PACS
Imagine living in a society in which most of the land and buildings available for meeting and working were owned by a few for-profit corporations. Churches, governments, groups of friends, schools, nonprofits, and grassroots social movements would each have to reserve space on — or have a key to — a privately-owned facility, often on a large corporate campus, in order to meet and work together. It would be a society with no domed capitol buildings, city halls, temples, open campuses, public parks, community centers, or nonprofit spaces.
Fortunately, this is not the society we live in, but it does describe the online spaces where our digital information is stored and where much of contemporary life – including civil society action – now takes place. This scenario is inherently threatening to democracies, in which free expression and public participation presuppose people have both the ability and space to assemble outside of corporate or government monitoring.