Discussing Online Privacy in the Observer, with Tom Chatfield

I was recently approached by the Observer to take part in an email-based discussion with Tom Chatfield about online privacy and the direction that companies like Facebook and Google are taking us.

It was a lot of fun to write, over the course of a day, and there were some interesting points raised. 1000 words each isn’t enough to explore very much, but I found it surprisingly useful for clarifying my thoughts on the subject, and quite inspiring for some of the future work that is constantly buzzing around my head.

The original story on the Observer is here.… Read full post

Contentious Connections

I have a comment piece in the Guardian today about network neutrality and BT’s Content Connect service. The online version is here.

I’ll let the article stand largely by itself, whilst pleading the difficulty of putting the net neutrality debate across in 800 words whilst simultaneously linking in BT’s Content Connect.

One point I would like to add, for anyone who finds this, is that the term “net neutrality” can be, and often is, very misleading; if you’re new to the subject then “neutrality” almost certainly means something different to what you think it means! Common terms combined with complicated technical subject matter are a recipe for disaster. Tim Wu’s excellent “Network Neutrality FAQ” should be required reading for this subject.

The Guardian article in full:

The desire for high-bandwidth internet services, such as internet TV is placing ever greater demands on the internet’s infrastructure. New technologies are being developed to meet these demands, but companies are increasingly considering new business models. With its Content Connect service, BT has brought itself into conflict with a fundamental design principle of the internet, raising concerns that the drive for profit could lead to changes that will harm consumers and content producers.

The principle in question is that of net neutrality, which broadly states that data passing over the internet should be treated equally regardless of whose data it is.

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