Security will retard innovation

From Technology Review‘s “Terror’s Server“:

Zittrain [Jonathan Zittrain, codirector of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School] concurs with Neumann [Peter Neumann, a computer scientist at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, CA] but also predicts an impending overreaction. Terrorism or no terrorism, he sees a convergence of security, legal, and business trends that will force the Internet to change, and not necessarily for the better. “Collectively speaking, there are going to be technological changes to how the Internet functions — driven either by the law or by collective action. If you look at what they are doing about spam, it has this shape to it,” Zittrain says. And while technologi­cal change might improve online security, he says, “it will make the Internet less flexible. If it’s no longer possible for two guys in a garage to write and distribute killer-app code without clearing it first with entrenched interests, we stand to lose the very processes that gave us the Web browser, instant messaging, Linux, and e-mail.”