Ironically Zittrain’s “Lost in the Cloud” emphasizes three of my big concerns/themes

July 20, 2009

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.”

    • I agree. This is the point of my June testimony before the House Internet subcommittees on Internet privacy.
      • My central thesis was:
        • “Why A Consumer-Driven, Technology/Competition-Neutral, Privacy Framework Is Superior to a Default ‘Finders Keepers Losers Weepers’ Privacy Framework”
      • As long as we make privacy policy, technology driven and not consumer driven, it will be haphazard, lagging and full of massive holes.

    Zittrain: “If the market settles into a handful of gated cloud communities whose proprietors control the availability of new code, the time may come to ensure that their platforms do not discriminate.”

    • Once again, Mr Zittrain makes sense.
    • I have long advocated that if Google, Amazon, and eBay believe that net neutrality and an open Internet is important enough to mandate it from broadband providers, why should it not apply to the webopolies Google, eBay and Amazon, that have a much more dominant “gatekeeper” power in their segments than any of the broadband competitor has in their market?
      • If their proposed net neutrality mandates were good and not poison, why wouldn’t the webopolies eat their own cooking?
    • Any techie will tell you, cloud computing is just network computing.
      • Any antitrust expert will tell you that the Internet’s network of networks creates huge network effects than can be anti-competitive.
      • Common sense tells you that a “platform” is just tech-speak for a “network.”
    • If network computing platforms naturally produce large network effects, why should “network” neutrality expectations not apply?
      • Without technologically-neutral network neutrality expectations, is the next cloud computing monopoly just “a click away?”

    Update: The reason I said that this post was ironic is that most people who follow my blog would be surprised that I would agree with Mr. Zittrain on anything, because I am in most strong opposition to Mr. Zittrain’s overall philosophy of the Internet and his support for an information commons.

     

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