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in Master Switch, we have a brilliant explanation and history of what Wu calls “the Cycle,” through which information industries rise, consolidate, monopolize, capture governments, force out competitors, and, eventually, fragment into something less grandiose, less perfect, but more vibrant, open, and innovative.

Tem uma parte do livro muito foda que fala sobre fitas magnéticas e secretária eletrônica:

The book is a wealth of anecdotes, like the story of magnetic tape and the answering machine. Discovered and invented first in the 1930s at AT&T’s Bell Labs, they didn’t come to fruition until the 1960s because AT&T executives believed answering machines would lead the public to abandon the telephone. As a result, the telecommunications sector became “a stagnant, oppressive industry under decades of AT&T rule,” Wu writes: “The sector began to resemble a small-scale version of the planned economies of the Soviet Union.”

Essa parte sobre net neutrality é foda, fala sobre o perigo que é ter empresas donas de conteúdo e da infra-estrutura de transmissão:

The concept of separating content from conduit is an old and important one. The late U.S. District Judge Harold Greene, who oversaw the legal case, which broke up the old AT&T, warned early on about the dangers of having a company, like AT&T or one of the Bell companies created by the break-up, offering information services and owning the network. In 1982, Greene wrote, “there is a real danger that AT&T will use its control of the interexchange network to undermine competing publishing ventures.” Here is one that might sound familiar to today’s audience: “AT &T could discriminate against competing electronic publishers in a variety of ways. It could, for example, use its control over the network to give priority to traffic from its own publishing operations over that of competitors.”

It’s not fashionable to talk about “common carrier” services — the idea that some businesses serve an essential function so that they operate in a non-discriminatory way. Opponents of Net Neutrality, usually those who favor the big telecom companies, complain that the idea is old-fashioned in today’s Internetworked world. Wu notes that the phrase is old-fashioned — it has been around since the 15th century, and for good reason. The harms to the public, to innovation and to society, are greater with industrial and centralized control than without it.

No final do livro tem um apelo do Tim Wu:

Let us, then, not fail to protect ourselves from the will of those who might seek domination of those resources we cannot do without. If we do not take this moment to secure our sovereignty over the choices that our information age has allowed us to enjoy, we cannot reasonably blame its loss on those who are free to enrich themselves by taking it from us in a manner history has foretold.

Via Tiago Dória, Boing Boing e Huffington Post.

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