Interview with EFF’s John Perry Barlow

Totalitarianism. Urban pathology. The death of creativity. These are the fears that keep John Perry Barlow awake at night. The co-founder of the 12-year-old Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) tries not to be bleak. But he sincerely worries that Microsoft will usurp e-commerce and AOL Time Warner will seize media, and the two forces will extinguish dissenting voices in a “diabolical” plot to own the economy and the human mind. “I worry that the Net is closing. I would say that (Microsoft e-commerce initiatives) .Net and HailStorm are huge threats and really diabolical. The problem is that hardly anybody recognizes it because they don’t know what .Net is or how it works. They don’t know that Microsoft is trying to own all of your transactions, literally.”C|Net asks: “To play devil’s advocate, isn’t Microsoft simply selling a product that millions of people are willing to purchase at their own will?“.

Barlow replies: “Oh, come on. People aren’t willing. Microsoft is giving people what Microsoft wants because it has a monopoly, which isn’t based on the value of the product but rather a positive feedback loop in the information economy: Everything is compatible with Windows, ergo, Windows prevails and continues to prevail regardless of its liabilities. It’s No. 1 because it’s No. 1, period, not because it’s valuable. In fact, it’s become totally diabolical.”

Read the rest of the interview at C|Net.


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