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Open Source

The open source model of operation and decision making allows concurrent input of different agendas, approaches and priorities, and differs from the more closed, centralized models of development. -from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

Google's Open Double Standard -- Fact-Checking Google's Treatise on "The meaning of open"

Google posted its treatise on "The meaning of open" designed to redefine the word "open" in Google's image. It is an important read because it is a bay window view into the altruistic way that Google yearns for the world to perceive it.

  • Like most all of Google's PR, however, Google's Treatise on "The meaning of open" may be "the truth" as Google sees it, but it is certainly not "the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

I.   Google's  Open Double Standard

Simply, Google is for "open" wherever it does not have a monopoly or dominant market position, however where it does, as in AdWords, AdSense and search advertising syndication, it is closed, to ensure that its dominance remains impregnable to competitors.

In the height of irony, Google has cleverly flipped a concept that was originally designed to be a sword of competition to a closed monopoly, and applied it as a political/PR shield to protect Google's closed monopoly from competition. 

How Can Craigslist Not Be Neutral or Open, But Support Net Neutrality & an Open Internet?

Craig Newmark of Craigslist, a leading net neutrality proponent, posted another strong support of net neutrality on Huffington Post where he shared Consumer Reports definition of net neutrality.

In another tech elite case of "Do as I say, not as I do," it is particularly ironic that Mr. Newmark is publicly championing how important it is for dominant players to not block traffic on the Internet, at the same time, Craigslist, the most dominant online classified ad site in the U.S., is blatantly blocking a new mashup called Flippity and "every single project built on Yahoo Pipes," per TechCrunch's post yesterday:

  • "Craigslist Blocks Yahoo Pipes After Dev Shows Craig His New Mashup." 

Why is the FCC changing its current consensus net neutrality principle #4 that consumers are entitled to competition among service providers, application providers and content providers, to a non-consensus principle in the FCC's Open Internet proposed regulations that consumers are no longer entitled to applications or content competition online?

Goobris Alert: "We want to be Santa Claus"

I kid you not. Google's latest antitrust defense, from the mouth of Dana Wagner, Google's lead antitrust lawyer, is: "We want to be Santa Claus. We want to make lots of toys that people like playing with. But if you don't want to play with our toys, you've got us."

  • See the quote for yourself at the very end of a Globe and Mail article entitled: "Google: we're not evil and we're not a monopoly either."
    • Google's Mr. Wagner continues: “In a West Coast company run by engineers, I don't think there was much attention paid to being in Ottawa, being in D.C. and telling your story,” Mr. Wagner says. “If you don't tell your story, other people do it for you.

Let me attempt to unpack the irony of this new story/metaphor of which Google has taken ownership. 

Most companies when they tell their corporate "story" try to "put their best foot forward," but no one but Google would think to try and slip jolly megalomaniacal corpulence down the narrow chimney of public credibility.  

Only Google would have so little real-world self-awareness as to choose to wrap itself in the beloved mythical role of Santa Claus who has the unique power to decide who has been good or "evil" during the last year, and the unique power to reward those who have been "good" in Google's eyes with toys and punish those who have been "evil" with coal in their stocking. 

Only Google would think it was good PR to allude to Google's secret search algorithms and auction "quality scores" as a worldwide "naughty and nice" list.

More "reason" behind Reasonable Network Management

For those trying to better understand some obvious, important and necessary reasons why networks need to engage in "reasonable network management" and prioritize Internet traffic to ensure quality of service for all -- please read a great post by George Ou over at Digital Society. 

Traffic prioritization is not anti-competitive or anti-openness -- its simple common sense network management.  

 

 

 

Ironically Zittrain's "Lost in the Cloud" emphasizes three of my big concerns/themes

Jonathan Zittrain's NYTimes Op-ed today, "Lost in the Clouds" ironically captured three of my big concerns/themes about the Internet and its natural outgrowth -- cloud computing.

  • I recommend this op-ed because it pulls together a whole host of converging Internet issues that others generally treat separately.
  • The problem with writing about these issues separately is that much of the richness of how these inter-related issues interact -- is lost.  

    Zittrain: "The cloud, however, comes with real dangers."

    • I agree. That has been much of the point of my 13 part series since the first of the year:
      • "The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem"

    Zittrain: "Worse, data stored online has less privacy protection both in practice and under the law."

Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel

Google's launch of a new PC operating system on the heels of its announcement ending the "beta" phase for its popular gmail, Calendar, Docs and Talk applications, is happening in the midst of a new era where cyber-security has been made a new national priority and internet security breaches are increasingly serious and commonplace.

  • All this naturally puts a spotlight on Google's approach to security, because Google is becoming increasingly central to so many people's Internet experience.

An examination of Google's own public representation of its corporate philosophy and design principles shows security/safety is simply not a priority for Google. In many respects, security is viewed as a hinderance to, or a drag on, Google's over-riding goal of speed-efficiency.

In Google's philosophy statement, "Ten things Google has found to be true" there is no mention of the importance of security/safety to Google or Google's users.

#3 point on the philosophy list says: "Fast is better than slow:"

"The Web 2.0 movement is opposed to the privacy movement" -- Part XI of Privacy-Publicacy Series

Kudos to Saul Hansell for his post at the NY Times Bits Blog which ably spotlights the growing clash between those who publicly advocate for more privacy on the web and those who behind-the-scenes are opposed to more privacy on the web. 

  • From Hansell's post: "...There is a split, he told the conference, between the typical view of privacy among technology experts and the emerging view of people brought up in the social networking, Web 2.0 world.
  • “The Web 2.0 movement is opposed to the privacy movement,” he said. Traditionally, privacy advocates have pushed for a policy of “data minimization,” he argued. ....
  • The new ideology revolves around what Mr. Swire called “data empowerment.”

This privacy-publicacy tension that I have been writing about for months -- is obviously very real indeed. 

I coined the term "publicacy" a year ago because the english language did not have an antonym to the word "privacy," and it was clear to me that one would be needed because there was a growing movement that did not believe in online privacy -- even though the vast majority of Internet users expect online privacy -- per Consumer Report's Survey.  

This growing privacy-publicacy tension is very relevant to Hill efforts to pass privacy legislation.

The Costs of Free on the Internet

How can free have a cost? Well a lot of different things are converging in Washington that could bring much more focus to -- "the costs of free" on the Internet.

  • Last month's Revised Behavioral Advertising Principles from FTC Staff are largely about making more transparent the privacy "costs" of "free" Internet products and services funded by online behavioral advertising.
  • This month's NYT news that House Internet Subcommittee Chairman Boucher now supports passage of new Internet privacy legislation requiring consumer "opt-in" permission in order to exploit consumer information, implicitly recognizes the substantial hidden privacy "cost" of behavioral advertising.
  • This week's privacy and security-related complaint to the FTC filed by EPIC against Google's free cloud computing services, further brings to the forefront the hidden "costs" of free on the Internet.

Open Internet ethos: Ask for forgiveness not permission?

I consider one of the most troublesome aspects of the broader "open" movement for an Open Internet, net neutrality, free culture, and unauthorized tracking online, is the core Internet ethos that one should "ask for forgiveness, not permission." This ethos also goes by "innovation without permission."

This perverse Internet ethos can turn true Internet freedom on its head in that it self-servingly justifies one unilaterally usurping the freedom of others -- their freedom from harm, freedom of privacy, or freedom of safety.

  • In other words, it is an irresponsible ethos where one can do whatever one wants on the Internet, and if people object, just ask for forgiveness and stop doing it. 

The problem is that the proverbial bell can't be un-rung on the Internet because with caching and the viral nature of linking, once a harm or an invasion of privacy is done on the Internet -- it can't fully be undone. 

  • This ethos can be looked at as self-licensing to do whatever one wants, without regard to potential damage or harm.

One of the highest profile and recent manifestations of this "ask for forgiveness not permission" ethos is Google's Streetview effort. 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths