Recent events have me wondering.
DHS takes over cybersecurity by shutting down torrent sites and threatening providers (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/the-rise-of-web-censorship/375); BitTorrent responds (http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-based-dns-to-counter-us-domain-seizures-101130/).
Comcast charges one of its backbone providers for providing Netflix (http://gizmo.do/dNWO31); Credoaction responds (http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/comcast_netflix/index2.html?rc=tw2).
Amazon charges for free books from Project Gutenberg (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2010/11/amazon_charges_kindle_users_fo.html). No response yet, but you can always just go to their site and get it all for free; oops, guess you need an iPad with a Kindle app for that!
The FCC releases its freedom of the internet and privacy statement and holds a lukewarm Twitterfest and Credoaction responds with a petition to the President (http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/obama_net_neutrality_1/?rc=tw2).
We are living in an age of nanosecond post and response. Some of that is good, groups can quickly marshal public opinion and provide feedback on sensitive public issues. Some of that is bad, for exactly the same reason.
The issues of net neutrality, open data, online freedom and privacy are not so simple. They won’t be solved in a nanosecond, by informed or uninformed public opinion. They won’t be solved by public opinion at all; certainly influenced, but not resolved.
These are complex issues requiring ‘long reads’ and are not going to happen in 140 characters , via status updates or posting to your wall. Don’t think your political representatives are going to fix this; look at recent bills and proposed legislation and see how woefully ignorant they are to the way things actually work (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/11/case-against-coica). Ditto for DHS. They are interested in control and monitoring of data and already setting in motion some scary policies that may well compromise Google, Twitter and Facebook (http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/66092) (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023464-38.html).
And we haven’t even begun to deal with how marketers are going to use all this data to track, sell, streamline and target us.
It’s a rough playground out on the Web, users beware!