Walled garden (Feudalisation of Internet)

Are you devoted to Facebook, Google and Youtube? Or maybe will you switch your allegiance to Android and Apple smart phone? Indeed, all of them are interlinked and the information will be shared through Internet in certain circumstances.  Why they are only limit in “certain circumstance?” Isn’t the information accessible to every public in Internet? Followed by the instance of “walled garden”, it could explain for the separate entities from Internet.   

So, what is walled garden?

“On the Internet, a walled garden is an environment that controls the user’s access to Web content and services. In effect, the walled garden directs the user’s navigation within particular areas, to allow access to a selection of material, or prevent access to other material.” (Rouse 2005)

I think the definition has directed a clear clarification on walled garden, it simply means users are only can find certain information in particular areas which it is not just openly accessible for everyone. For example, Iphone users who have iTunes store will required their ID and password to log in to buy the digital products. The content of iTunes store will not exposed through Internet but it will just share to all the Iphone users who have ID and password. Same goes to the example given by Zittrain (2008), “a particular Web site might demand that a user create an ID and password in order to gain access to its contents.”



Source at: http://wilgengebroed.nl/files/2011/06/Painting-Title_013-969×726.png

However, as Google shared a lot of openly accessible content to the users, it has also “jumped in with a subscription plan that offers a more favorable deal and others will follow.” (McLennan 2011) Hence, it could have become an obstacle to the Apple’s app market because Google could have mimicked the business model that Apple has done. For example, the publishers can charge the apps and contents. Simply, iTunes app store is giving the priority to the Iphone users only. I believe the publishers are still controlling the content of the apps in order not to expose to outside. The ultimate goal of them is to maintain the priority and originality which is reasonable enough for the Apple users to purchase the apps.

Besides, another great example for walled garden will be Facebook. I think this is pretty obvious to clarify it. It is because before anyone are signing up an account for Facebook, there are terms and conditions on Facebook has the authority on privacy control and owning the users’ content. Simply, Facebook owned all the information which shared by the Facebook users and they even will keep backups copies such as the photos and videos which have been deleted for few months. In a direct manner, I think Facebook is too excessive on controlling the users’ content and isn’t it will become more insecure for the user to retain their account?


Source at: file:///C:/Users/sookmun/Desktop/Online-Privacy5.jpg

From the perspective of these two examples, “walled garden” provides pros and cons towards the website itself. Particular websites who want retain the originality of the something by having the “walled garden”; it could become a strong defense for them. Conversely, implanting the walled garden in social network like Facebook and Twitter could have be cons to the users. No doubt, I understand that it is important to login access through ID and password but somehow in the end all the private information will be owned by Facebook and Twitter. For me, I think this is really a bad privacy control because it could have increase the opportunity for the hackers to hack someone’s account.

Edwards et al. (n.d.) have also stated that “a user may impose certain access constraints on digital artifacts that they own, e.g. certain information about the artifact may only be accessible to users who contributed towards the creation of that artifact. Such policies are defined declaratively in terms of obligations, prohibitions, and permissions.” Once again, this quote has directed on the point of “walled garden”, of course the information in Internet are meant to be move freely but sometimes it could have control the information in different perspective such as the copyright, privacy control and other aspects. To conclude, I think walled garden have given a lot of unpredictable risk instead of benefits. It is because once the controlled content in certain website are leaked within itself. I believe there will be a chaos situation among all the Internet users.


Edwards, P, Pignotti, E & Corsar, D n.d., “Provenance on the web, leaving the walled garden behind…”, viewed 1 May 2013 http://www.websci11.org/fileadmin/websci/Posters/127_paper.pdf

McLennan, D 2011, “The walled garden problem”, viewed 1 May 2013, http://www.artsjournal.com/rwx/2011/03/the-walled-garden-problem/

Rouse, M 2005, “Walled Garden”,viewed 1 May 2013, http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/walled-garden

Zittrain, JL 2008, “In the future of the internet and how to stop it”, viewed 1 May 2013, http://futureoftheinternet.org/static/ZittrainTheFutureoftheInternet.pdf