Networks Under Threat

There is a practically non-stop flow of threats to the Internet.  That’s because the Internet is fundamentally empowering and therefore also threatening to those whose power is diminished.

This week, there are two big things on the forefront, which my colleague Albert has written up today.  Both issues — how the US protects (or sacrifices) individuals’ privacy on the web, and how the internet is fundamentally governed — are super important.

In particular I am concerned about privacy — I suspect that most people really have no idea quite the extent to which companies and governments are tracking their every move.  And I suspect that this issue is going to go mainstream in 2013.  It’s an issue that both governments and the private sector need to really get right — on the private side, in order to earn the trust of customers, and on the public side in order to ensure a free society.

Vanishingrights.com does a great job describing what’s at stake with privacy reform (in this case, the Electronic Communications Protection Act).  This quote particularly stood out to me:

So, I encourage anyone reading this to think about both of these issues and why they’re so important, and take a moment to call your representatives.

Separately, with the help of the inimitable Mike Masnick I have started a hackpad to keep track of “networks under threat” – a timeline history of public conflicts between new networks and the incumbent hierarchies they threaten (think: Coursera being banned in Minnesota, AirBnB being banned in NYC, etc.).  Feel free to hack on that with us!

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