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  World-Information City: IT-Corridors complicate survival!

Emergence of new information-spheres in the interrelationship between City and Intellectual Property discussed at conference in Bangalore

“The corridors of the industries of information create security zones for the beneficiaries of globalisation in the middle of a sea of despair!” – said the renowned author Arundhati Roy using an incisive metaphor which marked the end of the two days conference “World-Information City” on Friday , 18 November 2005. In the centre of interest was the interrelationship between City and Intellectual Property. In India’s IT-metropolis Bangalore specialists from all over the world discussed the emergence of new information spheres in the context of transformational processes in urban societies. Here, at “Sri Jaya Chamara Jendra Victory Hall”, debates concentrated on restricted access to knowledge and information, copyright and patent regimes and societal control and surveillance.

“Urban space is being transformed into a focal point in the fusion of governmental surveillance on the one hand and the data collection of private consumer behaviour on the other”, explained David Lyon (Queen University, Kingston, Ontario). Solly Benjamin, India based urbanist, reported about recent methods of dispossession in developing areas through IT-industries which make use of ruthless settling policy: “Whereas Bangalore is being presented as a role model to the rest of the world, survival for a great majority in the city is getting more and more difficult.”

“World Information City” is an essential part of the international collaboration within the framework of the EU-India project “Towards a Culture of Open Networks” and also hosts, apart from the conference, an exhibition and art interventions in the centre of the city. The collaboration with Sarai (Delhi), Alternative Law Forum (Bangalore) and De Waag (Amsterdam) is of significance to Vienna’s Netbase / t0 (Institute for New Culture Technologies) as to raise public interest and awareness now also with a project in India.

In this context Konrad Becker, head of Netbase, said: “Today, Bangalore is seen as a symbol for the different realities of the new economics of information and their coming into conflict resulting in profound cultural and societal changes. Hence, it is of great importance to keep close contact with such areas when working out cultural strategies and media policies which guarantee access to the knowledge that forms the basis of our Informational Society.”
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