Op-ed roundup: The week in Tech Opinion

Is AT&T’s new pricing plan evil?

YES: Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine contends the plan, in which users’ data usage is capped on a monthly basis, is just that — evil. He says that AT&T’s response to its service problems is “not to improve its service, to invest in better ways to handle more customers.” Rather, “it’s to change its pricing to make us use its service less.” He says the change is nothing short of a "bait-and-switch" for those who signed onto the service expecting unlimited data plans.

NO: Atlantic blogger Daniel Indiviglio goes to bat for AT&T, saying users should celebrate the change. It “makes sense,” he argues, and will only be tough for the 2 percent of customers who are the heaviest data-users. “Less data usage will improve network traffic,” he writes. “Even though customers will hate it at first, the average smartphone user is better off at this point. They'll pay less and the data network will function more smoothly.”


Is Steve Jobs Big Brother?

HE'S JUST AN ARTIST: The New York Times posted an op-ed on why Steve Jobs is seen as a contender for both “comeback of the decade and villain of the year,” written by Robert Wright. He commends Jobs on surpassing Microsoft late last month as the world’s most valuable tech company, but notes his “authoritarian tendencies,” including a sometimes-fraught relationship with journalists and the high level of control he exerts over what can be viewed on his platforms. “Put these two Jobs profiles together — emerging infotech hegemon and congenital control freak — and you get a scary scenario: growing dominance of our information pipelines by a guy who likes to filter information.” Wright winds up finding something admirable in Jobs’ strategy: “Maybe Jobs is just intent on building the perfect product. Yes, he wants to make money, but, beyond a certain point, he’ll trade off money for perfection.” For that, he muses that Jobs may be “basically just an artist.”

And finally, a cartoon from the USA Today lampooning the debate over Facebook’s privacy settings.