It's great that occupations are springing up all over the United States. But I wonder when will there be an occupation of Silicon Valley? It feels kind of weird for me to raise the question because I lived and worked in Silicon Valley for many years. I know some of the people who run the place. Lived in Woodside, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Los Gatos. My neighbors were the power brokers of the valley. And some of them are people who I did business with, who I like as human beings, and who I think are basically just as good as any of us. However, in pursuit of more wealth, they represent every bit as much what's wrong with our economic system as any Wall Street banker.
Instead of bundling parcels of mortgages and turning them into derivatives, they bundle up parcels of people and turn them into masses of users, who generate content. Then they sell access to those users for a price, to other businesses. The problem is that as growth levels off, and it's sure to do that (how many more groups of 800 million can Facebook find, and where will they have to go to find them, and who will they have to sell out to to get there) -- they're going to have to take more from those users. Zuck calls it "sharing." The rest of us call it "privacy."
Ahh so you think there is no such thing as privacy. Think again. Do you want to see every piece of porn everyone you know is looking at? That's a lot of porn, and some of it might be fairly tasteless. Live and let live we all say, until you put your life in my face. Do you want your friends (and everyone else) to know everything you buy at the grocery store? Every phone call you make? Your exact whereabouts at any moment? What power this would give to stalkers. And what fear this would cause in those who are stalked.
So while Silicon Valley is enabling an ever-more-intrusive role for networks, how about occupying a bit of Silicon Valley, as a reminder that users are people, just like they are. And that turnabout is fair play.