Monthly Archives: March 2018

When Permissionless Doesn’t Mean Permissive

“Permissionless innovation” is one of the invariant properties of the Internet — without it, we would not have the World Wide Web.   Sometimes, however, this basic concept is misunderstood, or the expression is used as an excuse for bad behaviour.

Consider the case of the Guardian’s article on the use of “smart” technology, such as wifi trackers that tail people through their phones’ MAC addresses, to monitor activities in Utrecht and Eindhoven:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/01/smart-cities-data-privacy-eindhoven-utrecht:

“Companies are getting away with it in part because it involves new applications of data. In Silicon Valley, they call it “permissionless innovation”, they believe technological progress should not be stifled by public regulations.”

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