5 years ago: Digital Feudalism and How to Avoid It
The one thing I’d change is to replace “open source” with “ethical technology” and “free (as in freedom)” in my words.
@aral Great talk. What do you make of services which aren't open source, but state clear alignment with privacy -- subscription instead of ads, no data mining (or even end-to-end encryption), easy data export?
@james Depends on their funding and corporate structure. The key risk is that they’ll be Trojan horses – if they get too popular, one of the surveillance-based businesses buys them and slowly erodes privacy – see WhatsApp. If VC-funded, it’s basically a given that this will happen unless they IPO (and even then, the internal loss of control of the original founders – is they were driven by their social mission instead of profits to begin with – may change its character).
@aral What do you think of something like this: https://github.com/jamesisaac/product-pledges . Hasn't left draft status as I'm not sure it's a particularly bullet-proof solution. WhatsApp a good counter example as network effects are so strong that it's too late for people to leave even with ample notice, but for apps with a good single-user utility I can see it helping. Do you think that sort of approach could help / is there something similar I'm not aware of?
@aral (For an example of how it looks to an end-user, who isn't concerned with the exact clauses)
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