Tim Berners-Lee–the guy who invented the World Wide Web–wrote the best explanation of why net neutrality and open source are important and closed systems like Facebook and iTunes are bad for the future of the Internet: Long-Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, Scientific American Magazine, December 2010. These two paragraphs from the article’s introduction summarize Berners-Lee’s thesis:
The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, universities and companies have worked, both independently and together as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities based on those principles.
The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.
It will be required reading in Internet law, it’s addresses important topics, and its short. Why not read it now?