What is the Open Web?

One of our workshops is called 'What is the Open Web and why should I care?'. It's a question which really comes down to personal priorities. We feel that the Internet and the Free Software and Open Standards that is is based on have allowed the creation of some fantastic tools which allow communication services to be;

  • Decentralised
  • Shared freely between projects
  • Difficult to censor
  • Relatively cheap & often free
  • Increasing easy to use

Services like Facebook and Gmail are real threats to this progress. There is also legislation which aims to make the Internet less open and threatens some of the good things that have happened. We think that it is important to be able to communciate what makes the 'Open Web' a good thing so that we can encourage non-technical people to join this fight.

There are some real problems with Mobile Phone Networks, Cloud Computing and Web 2.0 web services.

  • 'Free' web 2.0 services that openly spy on your data to target adverts at you
  • Lack of transparency about privacy of services and how they work with law enforcement agencies
  • Centralisation and lack of control of data logs and personal data

Using the tools that are promoted on this website is one way of promoting the open web. They are often decentralised and community run so that you can be sure that they are not tracking you and using the logs of your personal data in a way that you are unhappy with.

An Open Web Book

This free online book is a great source of information and analysis on the concepts and the tools fo the Open Web.It is written under an open licence and so may be edited and distributed as you see fit.

“As much as we love the open Web, we’re abandoning it.” —Chris Anderson, WIRED Magazine

The Web was meant to be Everything. As the Internet as a whole assumes an increasingly commanding role as the technology of global commerce and communication, the World Wide Web from its very inception was designed to be a free and open medium through which human knowledge is created, accessed and exchanged. But, that Web is in danger of coming to a close. This book shows what is happening and how you can play an important role in keeping the web open.

You can download the book in various formats from here.


Other Open Web Resources

An Open Web Booklet: There is talk of creating a stripped down version of it to allow the core messages to be distributed as a low cost leaftlet.

Freedom in the Cloud: This talk by Eben Moglen is a great introduction to the subject of Internet Freedom and how Free Software is a part of the story. It goes into the technical details of the Open Web but also the social implications of the choices that have been made for us.