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The dispute between AT&T and the US government regarding AT&T’s wish to buy Time Warner may seem new to some, but it has been a theme for ages for historian Tim Wu.
Wu describes „the cycle“: an ideological battle over how to handle information technology. On one hand you have believers in closed, well controlled systems. For them a closed system guarantees quality and best serves users; even at the cost of some content and technology censorship. On the other hand are those who believe in open, un-censored systems. These are essential against the stagnation of technology and limiting content creation. The cost here being a greater quantity of low quality content to sort through.
Wu sees merit in both approaches but makes his opinion clear that in history „open“ beats „closed“. In fact he fears that the internet may be moving towards a closed environment. What makes the book so current is the ongoing battle in the USA for „net neutrality“, a term coined by Tim Wu himself. Net neutrality is quite a counter intuitive idea: by being liberal with Internet Services Providers, government regulations enable ISPs to close the system through their own internet traffic and content availability regulation. This unwanted development
Review by Julio Prina