This is a topic that needs A LOT more commentary, but before it gets lost in my growing, enormous queue of important articles and books to comment on (I need staff! I need fellow bloggers to do this with me!), let me note this.
People worry about the NSA and Snowden's revelations. As you know, I don't think much of them; I don't think they are established, they don't have a case, they are about an anarchist agenda used as a cat's paw by the Kremlin, and ultimately I don't think there's a there there.
The problem with the Panopticon begins with Google and other platforms and that secessionist Silicon Valley, not the NSA, which plays catch-up trying to do the job it was hired to do. We have oversight, checks and balances, remedies, means of reform for the NSA.
We don't have ANY of those things for Google. That's why the NSA is never my primary concern.
I also have a long-term worry about the gnomes of the Internet who are steadily taking over pieces of it, and have really been galvanized now that the Snowden Affair has given them an excuse to kick the US government out of standards bodies and to oppose it in international fora and so on.
So this sort of thing -- nodes around the world run by collectivist nerds with budgets -- becomes of great concern, it's like the problems of ICANN and IETF which I have long written about (undemocratic, unaccountable).
- Cold poached salmon with dill & hollandaise dressing
- Butternut squash, red onion & spinach tart
...while you're fretting about Snowden, who is also likely eating well either on the Russian dime or from money John Perry Barlow is raising from the glitterati for him.
Of course readers of this blog and my Second Thoughts blog about Second Life will recognize Beth Noveck.
I really should spend more time on dissecting her faux-democracy theories that are really about bureaucratic "democratic centralism" and collectivism.
Some day I will win the lottery and create my Institute for the Study of Internet Ideologies as an alternative and antidote to things like this.
Then I might be able to keep up with the nerd-nodes, but alone, I can't.
Still waiting for at least one other person to join me in the New England Society for the Pluralarity, which combats the Singularity.
So what could possibly go wrong if a bunch of high-class nerds who like to pay for expensive conferences get together and plan stuff? Why worry?
Well, look at the Open Data Institute's new global network, reported enthusiastcally by the Guardian (of course).
I bet few people gave this a second thought:
Just one year after its foundation in London, an organisation created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt to stimulate economic, environmental and social innovation through a system of open data sharing and analysis, has announced rapid global expansion of its ambitions.
The Open Data Institute has announced the launch of 13 international centres, known as "nodes", each of which will bring together companies, universities, and NGOs that support open data projects and communities. The nodes will be based in the US, Canada, France, Dubai, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Argentina, with two extra US nodes Chicago and North Carolina. Three further UK nodes are to open in Manchester, Leeds and Brighton.
The new ODI nodes will variously operate at local and national levels. Each one has agreed to adopt the ODI Charter, which is a open source codification of the ODI itself, and embodies principles of open data business, publishing, communication, and collaboration.
But they should, because of its budgets:
The ODI is a non-for-profit organisation that has so far helped set up more than a dozen open data-based startup companies in the UK, generating income, research and training. It has also created a certificate for open data allowing all users to access information on many areas such as healthcare, transport, peer-to-peer lending, and energy efficiency. The UK ODI secured £10m funding over five years from the UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, $750,000 from global philanthropic investor Omidyar Network created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. It aims for long-term sustainability through match funding and direct revenue through memberships and supporters.
Note the role of Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald's new angel for this new media thing that GG has left the Guardian for.
The other people in the speakers' list will tell you of more budgets, i.e. the CTO for New York City, which has a healthy budget for open this and open that -- which has never given us an app telling us where the toilets of New York City are. (I'm going to have to code one myself, which tells me how long you may be shifting from one foot to the other.)
"Open Data" covers a multitude of sins -- I will come back another day to dissect it. These are the bureaucratic "democratic centralists" of the Wired State. They are the ones who will control your health, education, welfare -- life -- data. Not the NSA.