Over the holidays, noted blogger Cory Doctorow delivered a keynote at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress in which he warned that one of the biggest problems on the technology scene is that control over our computing devices is about to be taken from us. There is a video of the address, called The Coming War on General Computing, available on YouTube. Doctorow warns that the copyright wars are only the beginning of a much bigger set of issues having to do with how much we control our own devices. The address has already drawn much reaction from the open source community, and is, in some ways, a defense of open source principles.
One of Doctorow’s central points in his talk was that the devices we use now are going to much more pervasive–even heading inside our bodies–making it even more important that we control how they work:
“As a member of the Walkman generation, I have made peace with the fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die, and of course, it won’t be a hearing aid, it will be a computer I put in my body. So when I get into a car – a computer I put my body into – with my hearing aid – a computer I put inside my body – I want to know that these technologies are not designed to keep secrets from me, and to prevent me from terminating processes on them that work against my interests.”