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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

"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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