Mitchell Baker is the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Internet. He recently wrote on his blog about the presence of self on the Internet in a post called, “I Am Not A Number“. It’s a short, philosophical post worth reading.
Baker’s main point is that the Internet and its corporate hooligans are not only stealing but also sculpting each Internet user’s identity. Scary stuff. He wants his presence on the Internet to be himself, not a caricature of himself that exists only after corporations get done manipulating information about him.
After you read Baker’s post and the comments below it (do read these), you will hopefully understand why its important to make sure a free and open Internet, void of companies collecting every possible piece of data about you, is vital to people’s privacy and their rights. Supporting organizations like the Mozilla Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others like it is paramount to this cause.
Surprisingly, the perpetrators are the companies we know and respect. I’m not writing this to call out any particular examples but to highlight the fact that if you knew exactly what was going on, you probably wouldn’t be happy with it. Make sure to educate yourself so when and if users are actually given a voice to dictate how the Internet should be operated and governed, you know what you’re talking about.