The trend towards openness

In addition to open government and open citizens, our evolving social mores need to put pressure on business and corporate culture to be open with their products and their data, and with what customers are allowed to do with their own data -- or, in a practical sense, with their own gadgets that they've bought.

One of the important things to stress to corporations is that openness is good for business:

Cellphone Carriers Relax Their Grip on Content

The industry, of course, has selfish reasons for promoting openness. [...] Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists are already salivating over the enthusiasm for cellphone applications. [...] They have gone mainstream, with teenagers and women finding novel uses for them — texting snippets of their lives to friends or tracking friends on maps. The carriers and the handset makers realize they have to make the phones adaptable to those new customers.

What is happening is inevitable,” said Walter Piecyk, a communications analyst at the research firm Pali Research who studies the mobile phone market. “Companies can’t really stop it. They might as well embrace it. Consumers are demanding these types of devices, which is good for everyone.

[Emphasis mine.]

One of the greatest pushes in terms of the change of attitude is, of course, the natural mindset of the young generation that is growing up with these technologies. These kids want to create, and push, their own content. Probably open and for free, too.

[Michael Shiloh, who is in charge of developer relations at OpenMoko] envisioned a day when creative programmers could combine different tools, like Wikipedia, directories and G.P.S., to create uniquely personalized phone applications.

Mr. Shiloh said his 13-year-old daughter told him recently that she wanted to create her own mobile games. “To some extent, it may sound geeky,” Mr. Shiloh said. “But considering we have a population of people who have grown up creating their own Web pages, it’s not unfathomable.”

Another article that seemed related was a short Bits blog item on a recent Federal Communications Commission vote. ("Kevin Martin’s Open Network Manifesto")

FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Bush appointee, was "pleased that that he had been able to get two other commissioners to back his plan to sanction Comcast for interfering with some customers’ use of file-sharing software."

And he was eager to suggest that this move reflects a standard of openness that should apply to cable, telephone and wireless networks.

That precedent is going to be increasingly applied,” he said. “We are setting a very high bar on what network operators can do in terms of putting limits on consumers.”

[...] Mr. Martin’s view is that people should generally be able to use any device and any software, and connect to any legal content they want to.

A rather enlightened opinion from a government commission that is not traditionally progressive in its actions.

Like the above article, it highlights the trend towards openness as a new precedent, a higher bar to be met, a new standard of acceptability being pushed up from consumer expectation and demand, rather than imposed downwards from business and government with their eyes on profit and control.