Freedom or Swag? -- OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD

Short Form


This is why we can't have nice things, peace, or privacy: When closed software or services are offered for free or cheap and found to be "good enough", the market creates barriers to innovation and freedom. Surrendering freedom is convenient and easy, keeping it requires ongoing vigilance. Why would a business not give its customers what they want?


The world is full of consumers, busy consuming. They’re so busy that flashing and shouting advertisement has become an essential part of business and a key in delivering “free” software and services and commonplace in “social networks”. We’re told that consumers are ignorant but that their market has wisdom and that the smart move is: never try to teach your way into a sale.

Consider: The democratization of information and the basis of grassroots organizing is primarily centered around a few corporate products (driven by ad revenue) with users locked in network silos and constant privacy issues? How can anyone in one of our current “social networks” become aware of those who refuse to join?

Similarly: Why don’t you encrypt e-mail to your mom? Why do my friends stop calling when I put a foil hat on my android phone? Why, when you try to explain online privacy and security to your friends and family, does someone in the next room say “oh, here he goes on some rant”?

Finally: Is it good citizenship for businesses to leverage the complacency of their customers? Why are customers complacent? How can Software and Service work in a way that maintains a user’s privacy and security while being completely transparent and avoid creating silos? Do customers really want injection-molded software and services cluttering up their lives like some digital landfill of short-sighted decisions?

This talk will start with a man in a room asking questions. Hopefully, together we can find some answers.

Speaking experience

Eric has previously spoken at open source bridge, OSCON, and given several presentations at various local user groups.