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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 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