A friend was annoyed that the civil rights struggle was invoked in an article that talks about the ongoing Apple patent war. I get annoyed when folks talk about the civil rights struggle as if it was an isolated incident, happened on a Tuesday in 1965 and had was done by dinner.
Civil rights is not just about racial equality, it is about human equality. This is why it is completely appropriate to refer to civil rights when talking about marriage equality for same-sex couples, or undocumented immigrants or patent law.
I think folks get really sacred about civil rights instead of understanding that it is just one part of the human rights framework. As the threats to our freedoms become more sophisticated we have to broaden our scope in order to maintain our autonomy and liberty. It all intersects.
Anti-trust laws have been gutted and companies have long been given the rights of people. Now patent wars are giving companies unprecedented power. Monsanto patents seeds, Apple patents technology and the message is that others are not allowed to compete and consumers are not allowed a choice.
The impact is that low income folks who generally use mobile devices to access the internet will have less access to low cost/ high quality options. As a side note - the loss of net neutrality means they will probably pay more for mobile access to the internet. So while this fight is about Apple trying to get credit for technology that they marketed well first but did not develop first, it's effects will end up costing those who historically have always paid the most. That sounds like Jim Crow to me.