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

November 29, 2011

Congress coming close to destroying the Internet

Protect IP Act & Stop Online Piracy Act seek to cripple Internet freedom & social media

Guest post by Markos Moulitsas
Daily Kos

Big Pharma and the recording and movie industries are on the verge of passing a bill that could very well destroy the social web, including Daily Kos.

This is no hyperbole. Watch the video above. It is literally an existentialist threat for Daily Kos and any other site with user-generated content, from Facebook, to Reddit, to tumblr, Sound Cloud or YouTube.

This is the holy grail of the entertainment industry — to destroy the internet, and thus, destroy the biggest danger to their business.

While the entertainment industry already has outsized tools to fight piracy, they don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to send takedown notices to individual infringing sites. It’s hard work, going after YouTubes of dancing babies and stuff! And, of course, they don’t have jurisdiction over many foreign-based sites. So, if they can’t stomp out all piracy, plan B is to destroy the internet.

Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is inexplicably leading the charge in the Senate with the Protect IP Act. Republican Texas Rep. Lamar Smith is leading the companion bill in the House with the Stop Online Piracy Act. This bill would’ve been rushed through with no debate through both chambers had it not been for the singular efforts of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a true hero of grassroots media and the social web.

Wyden has put a hold on the bill in the Senate, and has promised a full filibuster. Currently, there appear to be 60 votes to overcome that filibuster, but the delaying tactics would tie up the Senate for a full week. And if it doesn’t pass this year, supporters have to start from scratch all over again next year — this time under the full glare of a spotlight. ( mentioned this issue in our coverage of the Web 2.0 Summit.) Continue reading

February 19, 2007

Net neutrality in Ninja speak

>From Amber MacArthur at Amber Mac: Net neutrality in Ninja speak. Excerpt:

If you’ve been following recent news about Canadian government docs suggesting that the Tories are not nervous about ISPs interfering with the net, you’re probably all over promoting net neutrality to save the Internet.

If you don’t know what net neutrality is all about, you’re not alone.  Here are some links to send around to bring you ‘n yours up to speed about how major telcos want to be gatekeepers of web content and why it’s a terrible idea (please feel free to post more links in comments):

A basic video overview in Ninja-speak (also above)
An intermediate video overview from Save the Internet
PBS special on net neutrality
What the Internet’s founding father has to say
Michael Geist on Canada’s Net Neutrality Debate