Thought: A society's control over itself through the use of technology will only be truly in control of itself once that technology - hardware and software - is free too.
There are 2 issues in this though:
- Legal rights to resources. The GPL is an important step away from a repeated-licensing, subscription-style model. Any software requiring an "upkeep" purely for its *use* (not its installation) is not sustainable. Hardware is covered under individual property laws.
- Control over development. If a community/society/network does not have full control over what the code or hardware does, or how it does it, then it is not self-sufficient. This entails knowledge though, and is why we (as independents) need a knowledge-driven economy. N.B. The problem is not to ensure that everyone has the requisite knowledge, but to ensure that every community has the requisite knowledge within it.
(As techies, we should not expect others to understand the technology. But should we not expect them to offer us their skills, that we lack, in return?)