Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Technical-Social Contract

The Technical-Social Contract: We think we understand the rules of commerce. Manufacturers and sellers advertise; we buy or not, as we choose. We have an intuitive nderstanding of how advertising works, up to and including a rather vague notion that advertisers try to target "suitable" customers. Similarly, manufacturers and sellers have an understanding of how people buy and use their products. However, technology has been changing what's possible for all parties, frequently faster that people's assumptions. This mismatch, between what we expect and what is happening, is at the root of a lot of high-tech conflict, ranging from peer-to-peer file-sharing to Apple's iPhone. (Via SMBlog -- Steve Bellovin's Blog.)

A brief and lucid explanation of the main issues behind the file-sharing and iPhone fights. Highly recommended, with a bonus of links to very interesting supporting material.

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