May 22, 2012

Catalyzing action for Internet freedom

Reps from 40 countries descend on D.C. for Google conference

JD LasicaIjust arrived in Washington, D.C., for a conference with the goal of protecting freedom of expression on the Internet. Organized by Google, Internet at Liberty (they could have done better on the name) will “explore the most pressing dilemmas and exciting opportunities around free expression in the digital age.”

As the conference site says, “Today, more than any time in history, technological and political forces are colliding to draw lines about how the Internet functions. … The conference will explore creative ways to expand the free flow of information online” with global activists and representatives of academic centers, corporations, governments, the media and NGOs.

Certainly, Google has a business stake in a free and open Internet — an Internet that does not become balkanized as a result of attempts to bend the content citizens can see to reflect governments’ narrow, parochial interests. But here is an example where Google’s interests and the public’s interests sync up perfectly.

A gathering of Internet freedom organizations

I’ll be running the conference’s social media track (disclosure: Google recruited and paid me to organize it). Look for two days of workshops that will cover strategies and tools to advance cause organizations’ advocacy campaigns. Our charter is not to discuss only Internet freedom issues but any strategies, tactics and tools that can help change-makers using social media succeed. The plenary sessions Wednesday and Thursday will be live-streamed while the workshops will be video recorded and put online at a future date, I’m told. Follow the hashtag #InternetLiberty. Continue reading