I loved a teenage IPO: Wickedleaks part 1

In 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that the Constitution guaranteed a right to privacy.

Today, that right is the currency in a high-stakes bargain. On one side are elected and appointed officials charged with overseeing protection of our rights, and on the other are worldly companies whose e-commerce and social networking systems are exploding in popularity, number, speed, and power. In the middle are the people who use the communications technology, to one extent or another.

I loved a teenage IPO: Wickedleaks part 1.

Russ Imrie February 14, 2012

In 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that the Constitution guaranteed a right to privacy.

Today, that right is the currency in a high-stakes bargain. On one side are elected and appointed officials charged with overseeing protection of our rights, and on the other are worldly companies whose e-commerce and social networking systems are exploding in popularity, number, speed, and power. In the middle are the people who use the communications technology, to one extent or another.

It’s a marketplace where lawmakers get divergent information as they mold law and regulation. While no one wants to be the one who “killed the internet,” lawmakers most of all, they are hit with the need to satisfy the wants of their skittish voting constituencies, and of course their business connections, who are bullish on Internet expansion and technically aggressive. The demographics reality is that citizens, notably those who came of age before the Internet was much of a factor or a threat in their personal lives, wield heavy political clout. But out in the lobby, business is on fast-forward.

So it’s a delicate position for regulators as bit by bit, license to trade on your personal information is peddled here and there in return for some level of control of the industry and on an [assumed] assurance of a place on a board after retirement from government service. Regulators scramble in this testy political environment (we’ll leave that to be discussed at another time) to cope with technology and a ruthless market that will only respect privacy and ownership to the extent that there is law, oversight, and means (as well as the will) to enforce it. It’s a huge issue engaging parents, law enforcement, network businesses, and content creators in an epic debate.

Internet technology is seen as the silver bullet that will energise American society and the economy.

First a look at the ground swell of support for Internet connectivity in our lives. In the next installment we’ll get into the detailed concerns we all need to look at. A fantastic metaphor for today’s (s)urge to connect is the Transcontinental Railroad that joined the East and West coasts in 1869. Towns vied to be included on the planned routes. Those that were not “died”. Incredible wealth[1] was consumed and generated and scams proliferated around the project. The mass of Americans had their very identities transformed to a broader, national outlook. Art, music, and film focused on the rails and that resonates to this day. So the Information Highway sprouted, grew, morphed, and generated another transformed generation of Americans—the connected.

So, it’s all good? I’m writing this on an Amtrak car enroute to New Orleans. ironically. My iPhone shows a blue dot and nothing else where I would usually see a map in most cities. A forest passes by out the window but that’s not information I’m looking for. My tweets are sluggish as cold molasses and photos I want to share with Facebook friends about the train journey won’t go anywhere soon. FTP and updating a website? Not a chance. All the cool stuff that is driving the Internet economy forward is impotent. Consistent, widespread connectivity’s mobile wireless universe of shopping, spamming, and streaming lay miles away from the farms and hamlets along the tracks. I look at my laptop to work from my saved notes.

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