Has Google launched the age of open source communication?

Has Google launched the age of open source communication?

Summary: What is preventing the age of open source communication from happening is, in a word, regulation. Not just regulation that protects the prerogatives of private companies, either. But regulation in its broadest sense.

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TOPICS: Google
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Pogo - We have Met the EnemyA breathless e-mail came in today from IP Media Monitor, hyping a story from Cynthia Brumfeld claiming Google's San Francisco WiFi play "changes the legislative landscape." (No link, it's behind a firewall.)

Does this really open the door to open source communication? (Illustration courtesy the Web site of Karl and Kathy Swartz.)

Well, it could. San Francisco could giggle and give in, letting Google set up a citywide hotspot, giving everyone with an 802.11 client instant broadband. Rose petals could fall from the sky, SBC could go bankrupt, and Osama Bin Laden could walk up to Abu Ghraib prison of his own free will, hands in the air.

Ain't gonna happen.

What is going to happen is this thing is going to be picked apart. Privacy advocates are going to bring all their Google-angst to the table, and demand answers. SBC is going to say that city approval is tantamount to sponsorship, and sue. The state legislature is going to get involved. And on and on and on.

What is preventing the age of open source communication from happening is, in a word, regulation. Not just regulation that protects the prerogatives of private companies, either. But regulation in its broadest sense.

Should pedophiles and terrorists get free broadband? How do you keep this from happening? So, now that everyone has to "sign up" for this service, what other controls must we put in place? Can't have the kids seeing Paris Hilton naked, right?

In other words, as Walt Kelly's Pogo said so long ago, we have met the enemy and he is us. You're not like that, and I'm not like that, but someone is like that. And in a democracy, all those someones have a right to be heard. It often turns out that they're the majority.

Topic: Google

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  • Has Google launched the age of open source communication?

    No.
    An_Axe_to_Grind
  • What stops a pedo or terrorist from getting free broadband *now*?

    Nothing. Joe Kidlover can put his laptop on a table in a coffee shop, snipe some free access there and chat to his next victims while sipping on a hot latte with skim.

    The problem with 'open source' communication isn't whether peddies or turr'ists can get access. That happens now, as we speak. The problem is small, rectangular, green and smells real good. Money. Cash. Benjamins. Take your pick. 'Open Source' communication = free. That doesn't sit well with the likes of Microsoft, T-Mobile, Verizon, Comcast and so many others who now charge a hefty price for your surfing pleasure.

    Take a look at all the attempts at municipal wifi that were completely torn apart due to lobbyists and the corporations crying that it will be unfair competition. Anyone comes near that cash cow, they start shooting.

    The people want the internet to be free and open, the corporations do not.
    Sabz5150
    • Nothing is free...

      And especially bandwidth. Someone, somewhere is paying for it. In order for someone to provide Internet Access, it requires electricity, an office/building/physical-location, some hardware (non-free), some software (some might be free via OSS), people (no one works for free other than volunteering efforts but I don't see how this applies), connection/peering at NAPs, etc.

      So the question really needs to be asked is 'what is the tradeoff' for this 'Free Communications'
      JJ_z
    • Terrorists should get free broadband

      OK -that doesn't sound right. But really, if you want to give free broadband to a group of people - and actually make a real difference by doing so - are San Franciscans in that much of a need? Give it to the people whose leaders deprive them of information. That deprivation drives fear, anger and hatred. Want people to consider real democracy? - give them the tools to find out what a real democracy is - to question their governments and improve their own way of life - to talk to one another and the rest of the world without fear.
      fischernorth