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  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Intellectual Property, Internet Access, , , , , , , , , , , , , , UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

  • Gerrit Eicker 13:03 on 5. December 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , Anarchy, , , , , , Corruption, , , , , , , , , , , , , Ideology, , , , Informational Self-determination, , Intellectual Property, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Reporters Without Borders, , , RWB, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    WikiLeaks: Pros and Cons 

    The impact of WikiLeaks? Duty to basically reconsider and agree on informational self-determination; http://eicker.at/WikiLeaks

    • Gerrit Eicker 13:04 on 5. December 2010 Permalink | Reply

      WikiLeaks: “…is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box). One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth. We are a young organisation that has grown very quickly, relying on a network of dedicated volunteers around the globe. … WikiLeaks has combined high-end security technologies with journalism and ethical principles. Like other media outlets conducting investigative journalism, we accept (but do not solicit) anonymous sources of information. Unlike other outlets, we provide a high security anonymous drop box fortified by cutting-edge cryptographic information technologies. This provides maximum protection to our sources. We are fearless in our efforts to get the unvarnished truth out to the public. When information comes in, our journalists analyse the material, verify it and write a news piece about it describing its significance to society. We then publish both the news story and the original material in order to enable readers to analyse the story in the context of the original source material themselves.”

      Wikipedia: “The term informational self-determination was first used in the context of a German constitutional ruling relating to personal information collected during the 1983 census. – In that occasion, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that: ‘[…] in the context of modern data processing, the protection of the individual against unlimited collection, storage, use and disclosure of his/her personal data is encompassed by the general personal rights of the [German Constitution]. This basic right warrants in this respect the capacity of the individual to determine in principle the disclosure and use of his/her personal data. Limitations to this informational self-determination are allowed only in case of overriding public interest.‘ – Informational self-determination is often considered similar to the right to privacy but has unique characteristics that distinguish it from the ‘Right to privacy’ in the United States tradition. Informational self-determination reflects Westin’s description of privacy: ‘The right of the individual to decide what information about himself should be communicated to others and under what circumstances‘ (Westin, 1970). In contrast, the ‘Right to privacy’ in the United States legal tradition is commonly considered to originate in Warren andBrandeis’ article, which focuses on the right to ‘solitude’ (i.e., being ‘left alone’) and in the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects persons and their belongings from warrantless search.”

      Democracy Now: “Goodman: ‘…not all transparency advocates support what WikiLeaks is doing. Today we’ll host a debate. Steven Aftergood is one of the most prominent critics of WikiLeaks and one of the most prominent transparency advocates. … We’re also joined by Glenn Greenwald. He’s a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for Salon.com who’s supportive of WikiLeaks.’ … Aftergood: ‘I’m all for the exposure of corruption, including classified corruption. And to the extent that WikiLeaks has done that, I support its actions. The problem is, it has done a lot more than that, much of which is problematic. It has invaded personal privacy. It has published libelous material. It has violated intellectual property rights. And above all, it has launched a sweeping attack not simply on corruption, but on secrecy itself. And I think that’s both a strategic and a tactical error. It’s a strategic error because some secrecy is perfectly legitimate and desirable. It’s a tactical error because it has unleashed a furious response from the U.S. government and other governments that I fear is likely to harm the interests of a lot of other people besides WikiLeaks who are concerned with open government.’ … Greenwald: ‘If you look at the overall record of WikiLeaks – and let me just stipulate right upfront that WikiLeaks is a four-year-old organization, four years old. They’re operating completely unchartered territory. Have they made some mistakes and taken some missteps? Absolutely. They’re an imperfect organization. But on the whole, the amount of corruption and injustice in the world that WikiLeaks is exposing… I criticize them, for instance, for exercising insufficient care in redacting the names of various Afghan citizens who cooperated with the United States military. They accepted responsibility for that, and in subsequent releases, including in the Iraq document disclosures, they were very careful about redacting those names.'”

      Reporters Without Borders: “Wikileaks has in the past played a useful role by making information available to the US and international public that exposed serious violations of human rights and civil liberties which the Bush administration committed in the name of its war against terror. … But revealing the identity of hundreds of people who collaborated with the coalition in Afghanistan is highly dangerous. It would not be hard for the Taliban and other armed groups to use these documents to draw up a list of people for targeting in deadly revenge attacks. … Nonetheless, indiscriminately publishing 92,000 classified reports reflects a real problem of methodology and, therefore, of credibility. Journalistic work involves the selection of information. The argument with which you defend yourself, namely that Wikileaks is not made up of journalists, is not convincing. Wikileaks is an information outlet and, as such, is subject to the same rules of publishing responsibility as any other media.Wikileaks must provide a more detailed explanation of its actions and must not repeat the same mistake. This will mean a new departure and new methods.

      Reporters Without Borders: “…condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. … We stress that any restriction on the freedom to disseminate this body of documents will affect the entire press, which has given detailed coverage to the information made available by WikiLeaks, with five leading international newspapers actively cooperating in preparing it for publication. – Reporters Without Borders would also like to stress that it has always defended online freedom and the principle of ‘Net neutrality,’ according to which Internet Service Providers and hosting companies should play no role in choosing the content that is placed online.”

      Preston/Guardian: “Be clear, right from the start. Any editor presented with a quarter of a million US State Department documents on a WikiLeaks plate has a duty to sift, check – and publish. Newspapers exist to get news into print, not shilly-shally around as pompous (and, alas, often American) champions of the public’s right not to know too much. And if, thus far, the most unexpected story of the lot is Washington’s inability to keep its diplomatic traffic secret, that’s a public service, too. … At which point – casting aside assorted bits of legislation, editing codes and sheaves of moral guidance – a more basic test applies. Do you, printing the WikiLeaks bumper bundle, feel queasy or certain you’re trying to do the right thing? How would you feel if you didn’t print them? And, equally, would you feel chastened, angry, maybe ashamed, if your telephone hacking exploits were laid out to the full by Private Eye?” (Guardian’s WikiLeaks-coverage)

  • Gerrit Eicker 17:41 on 22. October 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , 37signals, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Intellectual Property, , , , LDAP, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Facebook Groups for Enterprises? 

    Zuckerberg: Not today, [Facebook Groups] is not designed to be an enterprise product. So, what about tomorrow? http://eicker.at/x

    • Gerrit Eicker 13:26 on 26. October 2010 Permalink | Reply

      RWW: “Mark Zuckerberg, interviewed on the subject of Facebook Groups, told GigOm’s Liz Gannes ‘Yeah, well maybe this will replace Socialcast! [laughs] Not today, this isn’t designed to be an enterprise product.’‘Facebook Groups actually strengthens the case for Yammer,’ says Yammer CEO David Sacks. He points out that if organizations don’t adopt their own enterprise social networking systems ‘Your employees may start using a public platform that you have no control over.‘ He encourages to organizations to formulate an internal social networking policy and set aside funds to purchase enterprise social networking software. … All enterprise SaaS solutions involve putting intellectual property on someone else’s servers, but Facebook will need an enterprise friendly TOS before this behavior is actively condoned by corporate users. … Then there’s that qualifier ‘yet’ in Zuckerberg’s statement. Someday, with tighter, more integrated access controls and an enterprise friendly TOS, Facebook might give enterprise collaboration companies something to lose sleep over.”

      Rodriguez, Clearvale: “On the low-end, Facebook Groups is likely to put pressure on vendors that provide simple collaboration tools – for example, 37Signals, Ning, and Google. We’ll have to see how much pressure – some of these tools are quite popular and quite good. But on the higher end of the market – the part of the market that sells to the enterprise – the disruption is likely to be more subtle. The enterprise will require a whole lot more functionality, and more in the way of privacy and security. But Facebook Groups could help evangelize the new architectural requirements for business collaboration. It wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook taught the business community something about collaboration – think of all the Enterprise 2.0 vendors who cannot resist telling customers that they are a ‘Facebook for the enterprise’? But the new lesson from Facebook – obvious to some, but not yet clear to many – is that collaboration with people outside your company needs to be in the cloud – how else would you be able to freely connect and collaborate with them?

      Cannell, Gartner: “For me, the biggest reason Facebook is exciting (from an enterprise perspective) is because it is establishing a new widely recognizable online interaction pattern (consisting of streams of status messages and activity notifications). Enterprise collaboration products that have been providing group-focused workspaces for many years are being refitted to tap into the broad familiarity of Facebook. If they can provide something that behaves like Facebook then people will be more comfortable using it and will more easily recognize its benefits. The rebranding of enterprise wikis as enterprise social software is just one example of where this is happening. If Facebook Groups succeeds then expect enterprise products to soon follow by providing similar experiences. – Personally, I would love to see Facebook Groups succeed. Not for the sake of Facebook, but for the sake of enterprises trying to use their intranets for something like Facebook.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:47 on 21. June 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Intellectual Property, , Johannes Gutenberg, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Slogans, , , , , Technical DNA, , , , , , ,   

    The Internet 

    Naughton: 9 key steps to understanding the most powerful tool of our age, the Internet; http://j.mp/b7puKP

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:54 on 21. June 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Naughton: “The strange thing about living through a revolution is that it’s very difficult to see what’s going on. … We’re living through a radical transformation of our communications environment. … Often, these interpretations are compressed into vivid slogans, memes or aphorisms: information ‘wants to be free’; the ‘long tail’ is the future of retailing; ‘Facebook just seized control of the internet’, and so on. … Here’s a radical idea: why not see if there’s anything to be learned from history? … So let’s conduct what the Germans call a Gedankenexperiment – a thought experiment. Imagine that the net represents a similar kind of transformation in our communications environment to that wrought by printing. What would we learn from such an experiment? … The most common – and still surprisingly widespread – misconception is that the internet and the web are the same thing. They’re not.Disruption is a feature, not a bug. … The internet’s disruptiveness is a consequence of its technical DNA. … Think ecology, not economics.Complexity is the new reality. … [Common] strategies are unlikely to work in our emerging environment, where intelligence, agility, responsiveness and a willingness to experiment (and fail) provide better strategies for dealing with what the networked environment will throw at you. … The network is now the computer.The Web is changing. … Huxley and Orwell are the bookends of our future. … Our intellectual property regime is no longer fit for purpose. … The sad fact is that if there is a ‘truth’ about the internet, it’s rather prosaic: to almost every big question about the network’s long-term implications the only rational answer is the one famously given by Mao Zedong’s foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, when asked about the significance of the French Revolution: ‘It’s too early to say.’ It is.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:25 on 13. January 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Google China, , , , , Intellectual Property, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google China 

    Google: We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn; http://j.mp/4W6zxe

    • Gerrit Eicker 09:43 on 13. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China. – The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.”

      Jarvis: “I am astounded and delighted at the news that Google is no longer comfortable censoring search results at the call of the Chinese government and is threatening to pull out of the market. … Will the Chinese people revolt at losing Google? We can only hope. Will other companies now have to hesitate before doing the dictators’ bidding? We can only hope. Will Google be punished by Wall Street? It probably will. But as I’ve argued, we should hope that Google’s pledge, Don’t be evil, will one day be chiseled over the doors of Wall Street.”

      NYT: “While Google’s business in China is now small, analysts say that the country could soon become one of the most lucrative Internet and mobile markets, and a withdrawal would significantly reduce Google’s long-term growth. … Google’s announcement Tuesday drew praise from free speech and human rights advocates, many of whom had criticized the company in the past over its decision to enter the Chinese market despite censorship requirements. … Some company executives suggested then that the campaign was a concerted effort to stain Google’s image. Since its entry into China, the company has steadily lost market share to Baidu.

      WSJ: “Google’s statement was hotly debated within the senior ranks of the company, according to two people familiar with the matter. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt was concerned about the potential backlash, but operating in China has been a concern of Google co-founder Sergey Brin in particular, these people said.”

      SEL: “So one issue Google now faces is why it will now fight Chinese censorship but not censorship in other countries. The answer is likely that Google will seek to curb the widespread censorship that China demands especially on political discourse. That such widespread censorship, even though legal in China, is simply too restrictive and unreasonable for Google to operate under. – Google has diligently worked to build marketshare in China over the years, one of the few countries where it is not the dominant player. When it failed to censor, it found itself losing traffic due to government blocking to the leading player there, Baidu. The ability for people to find music, not always legally, in Baidu also has contributed.”

      RWW: “What Took So Long? – Curt Hopkins, founder of the Commmittee to Protect Bloggers, responded with a similar point of view, saying, ‘Given that not just Google but every single other American tech company has shat themselves to get at the mythological Chinese market, this is way too long in coming.'”

      TC: “I’ll give Google this much: They’re taking a bad situation and making something good out of it, both from a human and business point of view. I’m not saying human rights didn’t play into the decision, but this was as much about business. Lest we get too self-righteous as Westerners, we should remember three things: 1. Google’s business was not doing well in China. … 2. Google is ready to burn bridges. … 3. This is only going to be a trickier issue in the next decade. … This may be the most shocking part: In retrospect Yahoo has played China far better than Google. It pulled out of the country years ago, knowing it wouldn’t win and owns nearly 40% of the Alibaba, a company that very definitely knows how to grow in China. Entrepreneur and angel investor in China Bill Bishop – who hasn’t always agreed with my China coverage in the past – pointed this out, adding ‘Not often Yahoo looks smarter than Google.’”

      Scoble: “Google has EVERY INCENTIVE to kiss Chinese ass. That’s why this move today impressed me so much. … It doesn’t matter to me that Google played footsie up until today, either. They were the first to stop playing footsie and THAT deserves a HUGE round of applause.”

      Hall: “As I’ve written before on this blog, this is a defining moral issue of our time if you’re a technologist, tech writer, or member in some other way of this community. I love to see the world in grays, but this is one of those issues that is purely black and white. And if you in any way side with China, or advocate a position that excuses their behavior – well, I think that’s just utterly immoral and you should be ashamed.

      Guardian: “Google has stood up to the most extreme form of cyberbullying and said: no more. This matters more because it is putting western companies and governments on notice that it is now OK to say China is a bad neighbour on the internet. Besides tolerating commercial espionage via hacking, it also allows the hosting of thousands of sites that help spammers rip people off around the world. It allows the theft of intellectual property (the complaint of Cybersitter being only the most recent). It may lead to a new maturity. China’s government has been put on notice that it cannot do as it likes.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:40 on 13. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      CNN: “Within hours of Google’s announcement that it was no longer willing to self-censor in China, Google.cn was retrieving results for sensitive topics including the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:30 on 14. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      TC: “Taking a moral position four years too late – whether you’re the first or the last to do so – is like suddenly declaring that you oppose the Iraq war now you’re no longer standing for the Senate or renouncing your own steroid abuse once you’ve retired from professional sports. Which is to say, it’s taking no moral position at all.”

      WP: “GOOD FOR Google. The company’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine is more likely to mean the end of its China-based service than a breakdown of Beijing’s political firewall. But more important than the question of whether Google.cn survives is the larger issue that Google has now raised for other Western companies and democratic governments – which is whether China’s gross and growing abuse of the Internet should be quietly tolerated or actively resisted. … Google’s action also challenges the Obama administration, which has been slow to embrace the cause of Internet freedom. The restrictions the Chinese government imposes on Google and other firms ought to be a trade issue as well as a human rights issue…”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:59 on 4. January 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Intellectual Property, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , VastPark, , , , ,   

    The Metaverse in 2010 

    Will AR surpass full virtuality? Will SL be acquired? What about interoperability? 2010 predictions: http://j.mp/7NeF4H

    • Gerrit Eicker 10:07 on 4. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Haskell: “There will be increasing awareness that Augmented Reality, and not pure Virtual Reality, will be the future for what we now call virtual worlds. … By year-end 2010, 50 of the Global 1000 will have dramatically expanded their presence in Second Life, with collaboration being a key enterprise target. … There is a 30% chance of Second Life being acquired by a larger company in 2010. IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, and Google are all candidates.”

      Neva: “Augmented Reality will become the hugest thing, with everybody scrambling with zealous greed to create APIs and games and features and better phones. … Linden Lab will sell itself. Note that I say ‘sell itself,’ and not ‘IPO’. There is no IPO coming, not in this recession and post-VW boom climate. Instead, LL will become a ‘partner’ to something bigger. Perhaps IBM will buy the Enterprise function and keep Lindens on as a content-creation studio, and they will keep that brand or even call themselves Nebraska or something equally stupid but they will all be Lindens.”

      Gwyn: “Interop will become a reality. Don’t expect miracles before the year’s end, though. Starting just after June 2010, when the interoperability communication protocol among grids becomes an Internet standard, LL will work together with at least IBM and Intel (and possibly some large OpenSim grid co-location services – which will exclude most of the OpenSim grids people usually talk about) to allow Gold Grid Providers full interoperability with Second Life Grid.”

      MJ: “2010 will see the United States further formalise taxation arrangements in regard to virtual goods. I doubt the Australian Tax Office will make any substantive rulings in the coming twelve months. – 2010 is going to see the largest MMO launch since World of Warcraft: Star Wars The Old Republic. It won’t eclipse the incumbent but it will become the solid number 2 player in the short-term, with all bets off in the longer term. – This year saw social games like Farmville take off in a big way. There’ll be some significant fatigue from users with these platforms, but there’ll also be further innovation to make them more engaging and with easier integration of virtual goods without the spam-like accompaniments that plague people’s Twitter of Facebook timelines. Overall: continuation of exponential growth, albeit not at the same level it has been the past six months.

      Frisby: “Consolidation continues throughout the first half of 2010. – Platforms with relatively simple feature sets will continue to face increased competition from free products and their more technologically complex brethren. Many will survive on one or two large clients – but as a whole they will languish with a dearth of new clients. … Entertainment Worlds continue to quietly succeed year-after-year. – I’m not talking about MMORPG games here either. The consumer entertainment virtual worlds will continue to grow, or at least will not stagnate as fast as business worlds. There.com, IMVU, Second Life will all continue to see growth – although at a smaller percentage than they have previously (5-15%). – Blue Mars will languish for the first half of 2010, but may gain serious pace in late 2010 as usability problems are fixed and average user hardware specifications continue to improve.”

    • Gwyneth Llewelyn 12:51 on 9. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Let’s hope so :) It’s nice to see how people continue to keep their optimism about VWs and their uses! It’s a technology that is approaching maturity (at least on some platforms) but it’s still so much misunderstood… for 2010, I wish that this technology starts to become better and better understood as its uses become apparent…

      • Gerrit Eicker 17:59 on 9. January 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Indeed. Maturity rules, the hype is (mostly) over. – I’m not setting any hopes on a broader understanding as long as (old) media still hawks “Second Life” in its literal sense.

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