Doc Searls Weblog · Will the carriers body-snatch the Net with HTML5?

Doc Searls Weblog · Will the carriers body-snatch the Net with HTML5?:

It’s at least clear that TV is the elephant in the snake of the Net’s time. It is moving off the air and over the top of cable and telephony. Still, the Internet is sold as a service already by cablecos and telcos that hate the thought of remaining a “dumb pipe.”

If things go the way Crossey expects, the Net’s carriers will likely expand Net service offerings in ways that fracture the Net into pieces, each with hard-wired dependencies on the carrier. The result will be the biggest body-snatch in the history of business. Standing where the Net used to be won’t be Telco 2.o, but TV 2.o, with lots of marketing gravy. (Think of all that jive the “big data” pushers are saying about “delivering personalized experiences.”)

So, rather than having the greatest marketplace ever created, we’ll have a set of entertainment and marketing services, available only from phone and cable companies, working only on devices they sell or sanction: basically the worst scenario imagined by Jonathan Zittrain in The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. We’ll still have some of the Net’s huge open marketplace, but far less of it than would would have been possible if what ran on the pipes were structurally separated from the pipes themselves.

I see little reason for hope here. Big Business and Big Government, enemies in the theater of politics, are in fact completely aligned around the wishes of Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon and Hollywood. People like me have been remarkably ineffective in advocating for the free and open Internet and its importance for the free and open marketplace, as well as a free and open society. On letting the Net slide into the clutches of its enemies there is no daylight between Obama and Romney, because it’s a non-issue for both of them. Just like it’s a non-issue for most of us.

Hope I’m wrong. And I’d be glad to hear arguments to the contrary. I’m a born optimist, and I try to keep an open mind. But I’m not feeling good about this thing right now.

[Sounds grim.]

Santa Rosa, California with Andy Hampsten

Santa Rosa, California with Andy Hampsten:

Andy Hampsten will point out pot-holes and cattle grids. He will ride next to you, with his bars a perfect hand span away from yours and never try to smash you. He will descend smoother and safer and faster then you can imagine. If some food pops out of your pocket and you don’t realize, he will stop and pick it up and ride back to you and quietly hand it back without a fuss. He will smile a lot.

Here are some things he won’t do. Complain, moan, talk about himself or drop famous names.

[“There’s a lot of riding to be done.” Amen. Lots to learn as well. Allez!]