March 27, 2013

Uncomfortable about how the internet’s developing”

Sue Gardner announced that she is moving on as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation today. She highlighted where she wants to direct her energy next:

Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands of industry groups and governments, and we are –increasingly, I think– seeing important decisions made by unaccountable, non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one that’s consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals advocating for the public interest online — what’s good for ordinary people — but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.

So much about that mirrors concerns I have as well. My book club read The Master Switch two years ago. After reading that book I realized how real it was that the open Internet we’ve come to embrace won’t just continue magically. It will need people like Tim Wu, and soon Sue Gardner, fighting to keep it that way.


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