WEB WARRIOR

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In ancient Roman history, warriors were fearless fighters. On the front lines during battle, they risked their lives to grasp the ultimate prize: honor.

There are warriors on the Internet as well. And they're helping to make this network of networks a real place to do business.

For this feature we conducted e-mail or phone interviews with people who are changing the way the Web looks, feels and acts.John Perry Barlow

Co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Grateful Dead lyricist

New York and Pinedale, Wyo.

One of the central objectives of my life is to crack the distorted perception of reality presented by the mass media. All an advertiser-supported broadcast medium is doing is selling the attention of an audience, and if that's all they're doing, there's no moral incentive. Mass media exist only to confirm the delusions of the masses. It's practically impossible to get a correct message filtered through mass media.

But the Internet will never be a mass medium because the Web has such a strong cultural vector and wires itself so deeply into that that it ends up having more effect on people who come than the people who come have on it.

Likewise, there's a huge difference between advertising through mass media or through interactive-it's like dropping leaflets from bombers or going door to door to talk to people.

Commercialization of the Web is fine. I'm not some hippy who shuns the idea of money. What people do in the physical world should be done in cyberspace, and I don't think cyberspace would amount to anything if there were no money there, because make money is what everyone does every day.

There's a paranoia out there about using a credit card online that's hard to figure out because people have no problem calling on their cell phones and broadcasting credit card numbers right over that network. The hype surrounding security on the Web has less to do with real threat and more to do with false perceptions.

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