Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iran plans to make its own Internet

"Iran may soon take Internet censorship to a level so ridiculous one can’t help but laugh. Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Middle Eastern country will disconnect its citizens from the Internet we all know and love, and replace it with its own nationally-run Internet, which would, of course, be tightly restricted."

I'm predicting this won't last long. When you're not connected to the rest of the world, the rest of the world pays less attention to you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nice video on the Internet and Arab Awakening

Nice explanation of Diaspora

"Diaspora is a new social networking system that I find compelling even right now in its new, barely realized state. For an Alpha release, it is amazingly stable, brilliant in the simplicity of its design, and astonishing in the power it offers.

I could go on about the cool server features that mean your data is really yours and other features like that, but this intro is for people curious about how to actually use Diaspora. Because Diaspora's core concepts are very simple and tremendously powerful, but leave some people wondering how to use them."

And here's an update from Diaspora.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clay Shirky on social software

"So the core group needs ways to defend itself -- both in getting
started and because of the effects I talked about earlier -- the core
group needs to defend itself so that it can stay on its sophisticated
goals and away from its basic instincts."

You can't go wrong reading anything Clay Shirky writes. In this article he explains what to expect when creating social software. The above quote is about the fact that a core group naturally develops, while the curious, flighty, and trolls pop in with no investment in the forum. It will not work to give equality to all of these. The core group must have some precedence, even though this hurts potential democratic ideals.

I agree with this. Project Chanology had the core group of people who established and maintained the internet forum used by the group. This core group had the skills and willingness to devote their time and effort into setting up the forum.  They earned the right, therefore, to moderate the forum.  If enough of the group thought they were too heavy-handed or preferential, then people could vote by leaving the forum, or even forming a competing one.

In every town that I protested in or read about, there was a core group of protesters that did most of the work.  This is human nature.  But I don't know of any of these people in Project Chanology who considered themselves leaders.  They were the most active.  They deserved credit for this.  But no one was therefore required to submit to them, or give deference to them, or in any way treat them any differently than any other protester.  And in fact, I'd say that most protesters didn't even know who these people in the core group were. They were just the people functioning as organizers, maybe just for that protest.

You'll see if you regularly read my blog that I use Project Chanology as my base point for comparing what else is going on.  I do this because I think Project Chanology is a new, important movement that points to defects in our understanding of many social constructs, like community and leadership.  In this case I believe Shirky's point fit well with Project Chanology in most respects.

Friday, May 13, 2011

more open source trouble ahead for facebook?

"A team of computer scientists, graduate students, technology experts and industry representatives from AVG, Google, Nokia and Sony Ericsson gathered recently to officially kick off the Stanford Mobile and Social Computing Laboratory. Or, for those tweeting at home: MobiSocial.
They have formed MobiSocial to ask the most fundamental questions about this rapidly burgeoning field, questions that seem obvious now that mobile and social media are firmly entrenched, but which weren't so obvious as the technologies were entrenching themselves: Can social be done better? Can it be even more social and more fun? Can it be more open? Can it be more secure? And, if so, how?
In short, MobiSocial is about imagining and creating an open-source mobile-social media future."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

tyrants take ICA seriously

"Syria has been accused of torturing activists to force them to reveal their passwords to Facebook websites that have sustained the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad."

Tyrants see the dangers of ICA.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Egyptian protesters discover secret police used spying software

"These kinds of programs developed by Gamma International and similar companies are simply enabling governments and security agencies in the ruling regimes to violate anyone’s privacy, monitor anyone’s activity and impose censorship. Consequently, helping the governments to fabricate cases against political activists and human rights defenders on charges like 'destabilize order', 'defaming state leaders', 'spreading rumors to overthrow the regime' and many other charges that regimes set to minimize the work of civil societies and activists towards better human rights situations."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trust needed for ICA to work?

"The common denominator for successful deployments that get the crowd involved, where communities are engaged and using the platform for both sending and receiving information, is that they’re run or endorsed by people or organizations that people trust. These entities form what I call the trust bridge. They’re the necessary glue that brings credibility and trust to a deployment so that people are willing to take part."

This article about Ushahidi, the program used to map conflicts/needs/whatever, says that the public who decide to work collectively first need to have trust in the people running the project. I always harken back to my experience with Anonymous, where people didn't even know each other before starting to protest Scientology together.   So I'm not sure trust is a necessary ingredient at the beginning.  It probably is for people to continue with a project though.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

structural competition for facebook

"Imagine a web where our browsers connected directly to each other to do voice, video, media sharing and run applications, using P2P and real-time APIs, rather than going through centralized servers that controlled traffic and permissions. That's a potent idea and if implemented properly could future-proof a part of the web from authoritarian crack-downs, disruptions by disasters and more. It could also establish a permanent lawless zone of connected devices with no central place to stop anyone from doing anything in particular."

Another hopeful step to freedom online.  I really think commercial and authoritarian control of the Internet will become a thing of the past.  Otherwise, free speech will gradually be squeezed out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

diplomats and nerds discuss internet freedom

When Secretary Clinton Monday spoke here at the Human Rights Council she identified a range of factors like a rule of law environment, strong institutions that protect rights, transparency, accountability, empowerment of women. But she focused in particular on three of those building blocks for a sustainable democracy. The first being the encouragement of strong civil society. The ability of people outside of government to organize themselves, to speak freely, to associate, to operate in a way that, not so much that is always contesting government. Sometimes in partnership, but also with the ability to challenge government and hold government accountable.
The second thing she talked about was the link between human rights, democracy, and development. The notion that a range of issues relating to human security can’t be addressed without understanding the essential link between those three pieces.
The third key thing that the Secretary focused on that we’re here to discuss today is the notion of Internet freedom as an element of this larger discussion of free speech, free association, free assembly."

   I'm still reading this long transcript, but it looks pretty interesting so far.