Here are the official Freedom to Tinker predictions for 2008, based on input by Alex Halderman, David Robinson, Dan Wallach, and me.
(1) DRM technology will still fail to prevent widespread infringement. In a related development, pigs will still fail to fly.
(2) Copyright issues will still be gridlocked in Congress.
(3) No patent reform bill will be passed. Baby steps toward a deal between the infotech and biotech industries won’t lead anywhere.
(4) DRM-free sales will become standard in the music business. The movie studios will flirt with the idea of DRM-free sales but won’t take the plunge, yet.
(5) The 2008 elections will not see an e-voting meltdown of Florida 2000 proportions, but a bevy of smaller problems will be reported, further fueling the trend toward reform.
(6) E-voting lawsuits will abound, with voters suing officials, officials suing other officials, and officials suing vendors (or vice versa).
(7) Second Life will jump the shark and the cool kids will start moving elsewhere; but virtual worlds generally will lumber on.
(8) MySpace will begin its long decline, losing customers for the first time.
(9) The trend toward open cellular data networks will continue, but not as quickly as optimists had hoped.
(10) If a Democrat wins the White House, we’ll hear talk about reinvigorated antitrust enforcement in the tech industries. (But of course it will all be talk, as the new administration won’t take office until 2009.)
(11) A Facebook application will cause a big privacy to-do.
(12) There will be calls for legislation to create a sort of Web 2.0 user’s bill of rights, giving users rights to access and extract information held by sites; but no action will be taken.
(13) An epidemic of news stories about teenage webcam exhibitionism will lead to calls for regulation.
(14) Somebody will get Skype or a similar VoIP client running on an Apple iPhone and it will, at least initially, operate over AT&T’s cellular phone network. AT&T and/or Apple will go out of their way to break this, either by filtering the network traffic or by locking down the iPhone.
Feel free to offer your own predictions in the comments.