Do we need two Internets?

[As ever, this is also on the BBC News website]

Jonathan Zittrain’s recent book, The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It, has spurred a lot of discussion both online and offline, with blog posts lauding his insights or criticising his over-apocalyptic imagination.

The book itself makes fascinating reading for those who have watched the network grow from its roots in the research community into today’s global channel for communications, commerce and cultural expression.

And the distinction that Zittrain makes between computers and devices that are open for hacking, exploration and creative use and those which are locked down and limited is one that we can clearly see.

An iPhone and an Asus Eee PC are very different objects, and I can’t imagine anyone scrawling ‘this machine kills fascists’ on their iPhone in homage to Woody Guthrie, while my son has just done this to his Asus.

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