Who is to blame?

Recently "Google" announced the Web Environment Integrity API (WEI) and things escalated quickly. I'm not going to spend time discussing what WEI is, how it works, and what it means for the web since there's a plethora of articles out there. What I'm more interested in addressing is who is to be blamed. I'm talking in general, not in this specific case.

When something bad happens on the web the blame is quickly assigned to the big names like Google, Facebook, or Amazon. But a corporation doesn't have the power to do anything. Google doesn't do anything. The people working at Google do. I wrote "Google" at the beginning of this post because the proposal has been written by 4 developers—all Google employees—not by Google the business entity. Behind every piece of technology, there're actual human beings who are happily getting paid to develop tools that will make the overall experience worse for everyone.

Someone is coding those anti-ad-blockers. Someone is coding tracking technology. Someone is coding ways to fingerprint the hell out of your devices. We all share part of the blame as developers. For years I was blissfully adding Google Analytics to all my sites and client sites because I didn't know any better. I convinced countless people to switch to Chrome because it was the better browser. I told people to use Gmail since it was great. If we're now in this situation where Google can attempt to DRM the entire web, it's also in a super duper small way my fault too, because I did my part. And the blame is shared among countless other developers like myself.

That said, a bigger part of the blame falls on the people working at those companies that for their own self-interests, for their career advancements, for their financial gains, are happily working and coding these tools. And the blame also falls on people who are happily investing money in those companies.

It's very easy to say "big company bad". It's a bit harder to say "maybe I also fucked up".

Where do you go from here?

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