Stuff worth reading about openness

Tim O'Reilly

I maintain another blog called Open Season which is all about openness and open source. I’ve been using it to share links to articles, along with a sample quote each time. Each post takes 25 seconds or so with Tumblr.

I wrote about it here in June 2009. Just mentioning it again as some of the recent articles I’ve read have been splendid.

I make no claims to comprehensiveness there, it’s just my own findings on themes related to openness. And conversely, closedness and proprietary systems.

I have a feeling these themes will come to define not only technology, but our wider culture and society in many ways.

If you want to follow a “proper blog” on this stuff, read Open by Glyn Moody.

And of course everything written by Tim O’Reilly and his colleagues is worth a read. (He’s pictured here, perhaps questioning a future web that isn’t small pieces loosely joined.)

Phorm’s deep blog inspection

If you’re interested in online privacy issues, you may have read about Phorm, the company that gets your web usage data from ISPs in order to show you contextual advertising.

Recently I’ve been contributing to a blog called Future Music Lab along with some colleagues from the music, media and online industries. One of my posts was an intro to Phorm as I understood it.

I then received an email from Benjamin Usher of the Phorm Communications Team, essentially correcting me on three points I’d made.

It’s interesting that they seem to be monitoring blog posts so closely. I’m not known as a privacy champion or anything, but clearly they felt the need to salvage some reputation by putting me straight. The email looks very “boilerplate” with what look like well-rehearsed rebuttals – so I don’t know if these are old arguments. I still have concerns about Phorm though and the email didn’t reassure me enough to welcome them.

You can comment directly here, on Future Music Lab, or on your own blog.

Make sure you republish anything that you get via email. Let’s have some open scrutiny.