Exploding telecom

The UK’s Carphone Warehouse plans to offer free broadband. [via Simon Waldman] See also today’s Times story about San Francisco’s free/paid wi-fi. There’s some hooha in there with a kneejerk story about privacy concerns:

But even before the city announced the winning bidder, privacy advocates had begun to criticize the Google approach for what they say is its potential to violate consumer privacy. Early last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Council released a joint report calling the EarthLink and Google proposal “privacy-invasive,” because it would involve “cookies” that track users from session to session to enable customized delivery of ads.

Like every single ad-supported site out there. Get over it. Cookies don’t have cooties. Without cookies, ads will disappear and you won’t get free wi-fi and free content.

  • I have a webcam, I read 1984. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I sign up for govenment/muni run internet access. I have more faith in Google but not much more(see China).

    Feels like an exploding tipping point…

  • Gordon

    I understand where privacy groups are coming from but believe that as with all “free” services on the web there is a price to be paid whether it be pop-ups, advertising or cookies. In the medium-term, 3-5 years, I can see free or virtually free web access becoming widespread within the UK assuming that people like Carphone Warehouse have a supportable business model.

    I say, “Bring it on”

  • Kirk,

    What if you’re really not that interesting?

  • Gee Jeff, how about Exploding Workforce? I just resigned from a perfectly so-so position with a state entity, where I had been hired only two months before to EP a TV show and “further New Media initiatives,” because my boss told me I was “surfing the Internet” too much and that I would have to stop doing so. I kid you not.

    I looked her calmly, bemusedly even, in the eye and replied, “THAT’S not ever going to happen.” I then went home and promptly emailed in my resignation.

  • Kirk,
    What if you’re really not that interesting?

    I’m not that’s why they have data mining computers that don’t get bored ;) I’m not paranoid I just think if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile.

  • Stephen Wheeler

    I’m not happy with your characterization of privacy concerns as being ‘knee-jerk’.

    A concern is a legitimate reaction to a perceived problem. You don’t see it – maybe your blind / dumb / insensitive / ignorant / prejudiced etc.. Not meaning to be nasty – just asking for some considered reporting here.

    Aside from that, people need to wake up to the fact that their data is being taken for its value – but it’s their data, it defines them. Is ‘free’ broadband / wi-fi a good trade for a significant piece of you? It sure isn’t for a piece of me – even if broadband turns out to be a fundamental social service.

  • Stephen Wheeler