Where Web2.0, IPR and e-participation intersect

People are beginning to wise up to the implications of allowing those cuddly Web2.0 services to host all that nice information your give* them (see Because you can’t do bettr than Flickr for instance for the enthusiasm that Web2.0 can generate – sorry Simon, only picking on you because my comment on your blog raises the issue of data protection)

In For Your Information | ‘Web 2.0’ and data control Peter Bradwell of Demos has picked up that even Tim O’Reilly (not a poor man, I don’t believe) has noticed that internet business are interested in money, not some dream of participatory democracy:

It’s really about data and who owns and controls, or gives the best access to, a class of data. (quoting Tim O’Reilly in Wired interview)

Good comment too to Peter Bradwell’s post saying that research:

should look into how the line is drawn between your rights as a citizen-consumer-producer and the companies rights as an owner-controller-surveiller

Looks like this is going to be an ongoing debate, and the arguments can easily be extended to governments too. I mean, what right does the US government have to my (financial) data, and how can I redress any injustice?

*Have you read the terms of service of your favourite Web2.0 tools? Do you think you’re covered by the Data Protection Act? Hell, I don’t even know who has rights to this piece, though I do think it’s sitting on a server somewhere in the US of A.


About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
This entry was posted in e-government, e-participation, ipr, news, politics, thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Where Web2.0, IPR and e-participation intersect

  1. SimonD says:

    Don’t worry Peter, I don’t feel picked on. 🙂

    Of course web 2.0 firms are interested in cash. But so far, the advertising-based model hasn’t collapsed… in fact, it continues to boom. Google reportedly made more money in 2006 than Channel 4, and is on track to leapfrog ITV1 within two years.

    I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable locating anything too sensitive outside the UK (or certainly, outside the EU), but then again, I don’t often share anything too sensitive.

  2. jameshigham says:

    Peter, you’re way ahead of me on this one but the question of data privacy is one I thnk I’ve circumvented by leaving everything open to scrutiny. Anyone can scour my site and find nothing incriminating.

    Where the problem might come in is in security against Trojans and so on but my base Norton does a partial job here.

  3. Simon, James, I guess where I’m coming from is thinking about where the likes of Webcameron are heading. That is, if politicians, political parties and governments start being serious about using Web2.0, there’s going to have to be some serious thought about the legal/jurisdictional implications

    I’m more of a techie, so in a way it’s a reminder to me to not get too carried away with ideas like the one I was thinking about of integrating an local authority’s content into the world of Web2.0.

    Simon – For commercial uses you’re right that at the moment the advertising model seems to be doing fine. Tom O’Reilly/Peter Bradwell was also making the point that currently the aim is to become the owner of a service. The big money comes later: think about what Google has been able to do once it became the owner of internet search, or the creators of Skype by getting in early on internet telephony. (Is Automattic doing the same with WordPress/Akismet?)

    James – Yours is one approach. Even so, if an opinion you express happens to be illegal (or considered unnacceptable) in a country where one of the Web2.0 services you happen to use sites its servers (or is based)… then what? Generally, how will you retain ownership of your opinions if they’re hosted using different services (YouTube, WordPress, Flickr) with different terms of services, possibly in different jurisdictions? The USA and EU (never mind Russia) have very different attitudes to the balance between openness and privacy, as has been shown by the banking and air-travel data exposure fiascos.

    Thanks both for your comments though – much appreciated

  4. Pingback: In a networked world, where is the debate taking place? « Spartakan

  5. Pingback: Keep your data away from them PATRIOT-driven people over the water? « Spartakan

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