Kapor Mitchell and Barlow John Perry
ACROSS THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER
Mitchell Kapor and John Perry Barlow
Electronic Frontier Foundation
July 10, 1990
Over the last 50 years, the people of the developed world have begun to
cross into a landscape unlike any which humanity has experienced before.
It is a region without physical shape or form. It exists, like a
standing wave, in the vast web of our electronic communication systems.
It consists of electron states, microwaves, magnetic fields, light
pulses and thought itself.
It is familiar to most people as the "place" in which a long-distance
telephone conversation takes place. But it is also the repository for
all digital or electronically transferred information, and, as such, it
is the venue for most of what is now commerce, industry, and broad-scale
human interaction. William Gibson called this Platonic realm
"Cyberspace," a name which has some currency among its present
Whatever it is eventually called, it is the homeland of the Information
Age, the place where the future is destined to dwell.
In its present condition, Cyberspace is a frontier region, populated by
the few hardy technologists who can tolerate the austerity of its savage
computer interfaces, incompatible communications protocols, proprietary
barricades, cultural and legal ambiguities, and general lack of useful
maps or metaphors.
Certainly, the old concepts of property, expression, identity, movement,
and context, based as they are on physical manifestation, do not apply
succinctly in a world where there can be none.