03 October 2013

World Wide Web for sale (slightly used)

An EFF article reports that Tim Berners-Lee, director of W3C, the standards body that attempts to specify what web browsers do, approves the inclusion of DRM restrictions in a forthcoming HTML specification.

As the EFF article points out, this new direction is likely to damage the W3C's already less-than-stellar reputation as a respectable standards body. Which is a pity, because the web is a better place when we can all agree on interoperability standards.

Your web browser, whether on your laptop or on your phone, behind the scenes, is called a User Agent. This means it represents you, the "User", giving you much freedom in the way you experience the internet. With DRM restrictions built-in, your browser becomes a copyright-enforcement-agent, and you risk losing many of the freedoms you have enjoyed up to now. We are entering a terrifying new era where government itself is the enemy; DRM is a major piece of armour in favour of centralised power and against The People.

Disappointing, Mr. Berners-Lee. Perhaps it's time to resign and let Mr. Stallman take the helm?