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.
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 bit 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.