There’s a thoughtful and interesting article here which talks about this thing known as “web 2.0”, and in particular APIs. Are they a good thing? Well, they are certainly opening up opportunities that wouldn’t have been made available in any other way, and the relaxing of control over certain aspects – vectors, he calls them – of data is definitely doing some good. But who is really pulling the strings?
Of course it’s us, the developers and designers. Just as the editor of a book has the final say over what goes into it, the editor of a film has control of what goes to the screen, we have control over what data we allow out of our systems. More than once I’ve been scared at the thought of the responsibility we have with regard to our blogging software. Not just because of the political and legal implications of what is written, but because of how people perceive the system – something they own and control themselves.
But they don’t control it, I do. And while I think I’m a nice guy who wants to act in the best way for my group of internet friends, there may well people people will much more power than me who have less in the way of scruples. It’s all too easy to put up a face of friendliness and cooperation to another person, while witholding things from them secretly. That, to a certain extent, is what’s happened in many countries around the world over the last few years.
So, we’re all equal. But some are more equal than others.