Latest read: The Future of the Internet

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University wrote The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It. This book is very interesting for all the wrong reasons. Zittrain documents that existing, closed, controlled systems are damaging the internet an if continued, he writes will negatively impact our future access and interaction.  I enjoyed reading the book and dedicated blog established by Zittrain to keep his conversations moving forward.

The Future of the Internet

BTW: The cover is not an actual photo rather a Photoshop’d image. However the image clearly represents his message.  The book is about Generativity impacting the internet.  Ultimately his argument is to place generativity at the core of all open technologies that tap into the internet.

Zittrain begins Part I in the book with a tbit of historical reflection: The Battle of the Boxes, Battle of the Networks and CyberSecurity.  He followed on the impact of legal lessons learned from Wikipedia.  There are plenty of examples how open, generativity systems make the internet better.  Here are a couple of examples Zittrain addressed that do not:

Law enforcement agencies have used network devices to manually turn on OnStar (the in-vehicle security, communications, and diagnostics system from GM) to record and monitor conversations of unknowing passengers.  OnStar is installed in over 50 models of GM cars alone.

The FBI requested from a judge the ability to turn on the microphone of a unsuspecting cell phone owner allowing law enforcement to tap, track and record conversations.

Think about that for a moment. Ever take a picture with your digital camera or cell phone?  Millions of people do this everyday and upload content to photo-sharing websites like Flickr.  Can you imagine taking a series of photographs — only to later realize the camera (via remote commands) copied all your photos without your knowledge.  Zittrain addresses how your personal content can be affected by a judge in Texas while you live … say in Ohio.  Don’t believe it? Read Chapter 5: Tethered Appliances, Software as Service and Perfect Enforcement” to see how a judge in Marshall Texas did just that — regarding a copyright case involving TiVo.

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Latest read: Hot Property

Its all in the timing.  The global economic crisis has placed my latest read Hot Property: The Stealing of Ideas in an Age of Globalization into a pretty unique light. Regardless of the delay in the US economy the impact of globalization, technology and good old corporate espionage has impacted the world’s stage in manufacturing and distribution.

From aspirin to automobiles with computer technology stolen right in the middle. Author Pat Choate, an economist was the 1994 University of Oklahoma Arthur Barto Adams Alumni Fellow.  He has also written Agents of Influence: How Japan Manipulates America’s Political and Economic System.

The core arguments focus on the use of historical legal patents and technological advances of foreign companies competing against American interests by stealing.  Today its known as corporate espionage.  The end result: the US government does not protect companies in today’s global marketplace.

This book will leave most Americans frustrated.  Globalization has changed the way people and business must evolve to simply stay in business.  The auto industry is a timely example of how America lost this business to global competition.

The old assumptions in American business do not work today. When you innovate and invent, patents will protect your dedication and hard work against competitors around the globe.  How wrong Choate proves this idea is today.

Hot Property will quickly show you how far from the truth the real-world works … against you.  Reminds me of T-shirts I see around the Univ. Wisconsin-Madison campus:  “Don’t let school get in the way of your education”.Choate illustrates how major American companies like GM, Microsoft and Cisco are powerless to stop Chinese counterfeiters. To remain a “favorable company” in the Chinese market, American companies sacrifice their own development, technology and employees while trying to gain business in China.  It is somewhat amazing to see the RIAA use it’s legal arm against elderly Americans for downloading an MP3 file but turn a blind eye to the stunning levels of piracy in China.

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