Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Data Zittrain I 175/176
Data/data portability/Zitt5rain: A move to tethered appliances and Web services means that more and more of our experiences in the information space will be contingent. A service or product we use at one moment could act completely differently the next, since it can be so quickly reprogrammed without our assent. (…)Older models of software production are less problematic. Because traditional software has clearly demarcated updates, users can stick with an older version if they do not like the tradeoffs of a newer one. These applications usually feature file formats that are readable by other applications, so that data from one program can be used in another. There has been ongoing debate about just how much of a problem lock-in can be with a technology. (1) The tradeoff of, say, a long-term mobile phone contract in exchange for a heavy discount on a new handset is one that the consumer at least knows up front. Much less understood are the limits on extracting the information consumers deposit into a non-generative platform. Competition can be stymied when people find themselves compelled to retain one platform only because their data is trapped there.

1. ( VsZittrain) : For opposing sides of this debate, compare Paul A. David, Clio and the Economics of QWERTY, 75 AM. ECON. REV. 332 (1985), with Stan J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, Should Technology Choice Be a Concern of Antitrust Policy?, 9 HARV. J. L. & TECH. 283 (1996) (arguing that it is difficult for “inappropriate” technology to become established as a standard and that antitrust policy should not be used to improve on even imperfect results). See also Seth Schoen, Trusted Computing: Promise and Risk, http://www.eff.org/Infrastructure/trusted_computing/20031001_tc.php (last visited May 15, 2007).

Zittrain I
Jonathan Zittrain
The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It New Haven 2009

Zittrain, Jonathan Morozov I 30
Zittrain/Morozov: Internet-centrism has also found its way into regulatory thinking. One of the most attractive contemporary theories of Internet regulation, developed by Jonathan Zittrain from Harvard, revolves around the idea of generativity. It is based on the premise that the openness of the platform is the main reason why "the Internet" has triggered so much innovation. On the "Internet" no one has to ask for permission to start a new service. (1) (See Terminology/Zittrain).
I 31
MorozovVsZittrain: But the theory of generativity does not deal with the sensitive issue of how the "Internet" itself will die - not at least because Zittrain, under the influence of the Internet-centrism, absolutely wants the "Internet" as an eternal medium. His theory is a recipe for how the Internet can live forever.
I 32
Of course, there are other strong social, political and even aesthetic concerns about the challenge posed by the rise of apps to digital "lifestyles", but claiming that Apple - one of the culprits according to Zittrain - is bad for innovation because it is bad for the "Internet" is like saying that "the Internet" is bad for innovation because it is bad for the phone.
I 33
The irony is that Zittrain's theory of generativity, which is very critical of gatekeepers such as Apple, is itself a gatekeeper. While generativity gives the go-ahead for a good, reliable and predictable innovation that promises to stay within the boundaries of the "internet" and to keep things as they are, the unruly and disturbing way that begins within the "internet" but eventually becomes transcended, repressed and perhaps even eliminated is pushed into the background. (...) But these criteria ((s) of openness and Internet compatibility) are only meaningful in a world where the well-being of the "Internet itself" is the essential of everything, the summum bonum.

1. Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet— and How to Stop It (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009).

Morozov I
Evgeny Morozov
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism New York 2014