Why the internet needs to be free

You may have heard that there’s a move by the ITU, an inter-government telecoms management committee, to take control of the internet. Take control of course means convince governments to give it control. This is a bad thing, and you should sign the petition against it here: http://www.freeandopenweb.com

However everything is not so simple and black and white. Why does the internet “need to be free”. Well we know the answer of course. It’s so we can download porn and make Skype calls without paying. These are important activities that bring the world together and make it a better place, but if we look past the everyday what is it that gives the internet its sense of freedom and power, and how is that in danger?

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There is no “privacy”

I tend to disagree with the common public expectation of “privacy”. I respectfully disagree with the privacy laws common in Europe that put limits on collecting and keeping data on people. Although professionally I greatly respect medical privacy rules, I personally wish we had a different set of rules that put the focus of protection elsewhere. When some court or civil rights organization in some country accuses Google of a privacy breach I tend to think that they bring an outdated, basically wrong, idea of privacy to the debate.

The reason I disagree with privacy is that there’s no such thing. It doesn’t actually exist.

When we think loosely about privacy, in fact, we think about three distinct things:

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