Merkel’s kneejerk reaction highlights internet governance concerns

When it was revealed that Angela Merkel’s own mobile phone was being monitored by the NSA  her sudden personal interest in internet governance and calls for the creation of a European internet seemed more than a little reactionary. There are a couple of important take away points here though. Firstly, Merkel’s concern over the matter of internet governance is well placed and should be shared by all freedom loving internet users, not just those with a passion for digital rights. Secondly, finding a solution to the problem of “re-decentralising the web” is a responsibility too important to be left to the politicians. Geeks everywhere need to make sure that they are not only looking for that solution, but also that their voices are heard by those with political power. Read Alexandra’s full article on ComputerWorld UK.

Bitcoin exchanges need to get their act together

Sometimes it seems as though bitcoin is a required fixture in the news. The recent collapse of Mt Gox is just the latest in a string of headlines that may have you wondering why people even bother. Bitcoin itself though remains a powerful idea and its transparent, open source approach have enabled it to stand up to scrutiny and criticism with head held high. Not only does it hold a lot of potential in its own right, it also stands as a shining innovative example of the potential for distributed, peer-authenticated ledgers. Far more problematic are the “exploitative ad-hoc businesses” which have grown up around it.

Over the last six months Simon’s been trying out a selection of different bitcoin services and exchanges. The different results he’s encountered generally reflect badly on this admittedly young industry and suggest that they have yet to really find their feet. In particular he claims that they need to work on transparency, user trust and business rigor. Despite his experiences, the process of exploring this world has left him confidently re-assured by the underlying potential behind bitcoin as a concept. Read more in this weeks InfoWorld article.