Tim Berners-Lee: Internet Magna Carta

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee

We Need a Magna Carta for the Internet

Huffington Post, 6 May 2014

These comments are adapted from a talk to the Net Mundial conference in Brazil on May 4.

“Twenty-five years ago, when the Internet had been running for 20 years, there was internet mail and net news and remote login, but there was no web. No web sites, web pages, links. So I invented the World Wide Web. As the project grew, I needed collaborators. To achieve that, I went to the Internet technical community.

Specifically, I founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a multistakeholder organization that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. W3C works on different aspects of Internet technology with numerous organizations, including the Internet Engineering Task Force, ECMA/TC39, IANA, and ICANN.

Hopefully you all agree that we have done a reasonable job. The Web, and its underlying Internet infrastructure, have been an enormous engine of growth and understanding for society. It has been the collaboration between these multi-stakeholder organizations which has made this possible.

Our technical community achieved this contribution with little oversight from governments. In fact, our “OpenStand” vision is that the right way to build a technical infrastructure for society is through multi-stakeholder technical groups where decisions are made in the public interest and based on technical merit. Discussion is open. Documents are available for free on the web. In W3C specifically, companies commit that as the standard emerges, they will not charge royalties to those who implement it.

The web needs to remain a system which exists without regard to national borders. Today most of the work is already done in the non-national Internet technical community. I was also pleased to hear that ICANN is beginning a dialogue to create a multi-stakeholder review process to replace that of the U.S. government. That is appropriate because ICANN services the global public interest.

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May 7

Jean Lievens: Stacco Troncoso Shares Helene Finidori on FLOK Society and the Commons

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Helene Finidori on FLOK Society and the Commons

Here’s an excellent summary, written by our good friend Helene Finidori from the Commons Abundance Network, on FLOK Society’s historical significance for the Commons and P2P movements. The article was originally published in STIR magazine and Helene has kindly given us permission to republish it here.


This column was published in STIR’s spring issue and is available to buy here

With the Free Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK) Society project, peer-to-peer commons-based economics have a good chance of being institutionalised in Ecuador, or in other words, of entering at a nation-state level through the front door. This would be a world first.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Ecuador may not be particularly advanced as far as urban P2P dynamics are concerned, but its indigenous and rural communities have a long history of sharing knowledge. And since the election of a progressive government in 2007, the country is politically ahead in its determination to continue developing an economy based on the creativity of its citizens and on the sustainable leverage of its internal resources.

The focus here is to transition away from cognitive capitalism where value is commonly extracted via technology transfers through intellectual property rights mostly held by large foreign companies, generating dependencies on the global north and increasing the internal social divide. The goal is to shift towards a ‘social knowledge economy’ where knowledge is freely accessible, produced and shared through co-operative and open processes, and where the resulting knowledge commons can be built upon to accelerate innovation and the distribution of wealth.

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May 5

Gordon Cook: Policy Paper on Connectivity

Gordon Cook

Gordon Cook

Policy Paper on Connectivity

1. Executive Summary
2. Introduction
3 Technical Background
3.1 Peering and Transit – How thousands of Networks become the Global Internet
4. Special Issues in Connectivity
4.1 Access for Scientists
4.2 Access for Rural Areas
4.3 Access for Citizens via a Civil Society Stakeholder Body
5.The Ecuadorian Political, Economic, and Infrastructural Framework
5.1 Existing Infrastructure and Policy Goals for Unbundling, Structural Separation and Sale of IRUs
5.2 Celec EP (Corporación Eléctrica del Ecuador – Celec EP)
5.3 Telconet
5.4 CNT
5,5 CEDIA – The Ecuadoran University Network necessary for global connectivity to Collaborative Science
5.6 Formulation of a Vision for “Higher Education”
6. Alternative Models
6.1 Case Study 1: Brazil, Netherlands
6.2 Case Study 2: guifi.net
7. Policies to Assist the National Broadband Plan and Strategies for Expanding Internet Use
7. 1 Policy Goals of the Broadband Plan and the Three Basic Strategies
8. Ecuadoran Policy Recommendations
8.1 A single overriding basic principle
8.2 Policy for Bringing guifinet to Ecuador
9. Bibliography
10. Why I Withdraw this Paper [Extract Only]

Full Paper with All Notes and Active Links DOC (24 Pages): Cook on Connectivity

Full Text NOT Footnotes NOT Links Below the Fold

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May 5

Steve Denning: Three Strategies For Managing The Economy Of Access

Categories: Access
Steve Denning

Steve Denning

Three Strategies For Managing The Economy Of Access

Forbes, 2 May 2014

We live in an exceptional moment in history. Gigantic changes are under way in society. Everything we do is being re-invented—how we live, how we work, how we play, how we communicate, even how we think and how we feel.

The first thing the Internet did was to begin eliminating the middle men, the markups and the margins of the traditional vertical value chain. Suddenly you could buy stuff online—first books and music, and then almost anything—cheaper, and often quicker, than in a physical store.

This was horrible news for middlemen and physical stores. But it was just the beginning.

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May 4

Patrick Meier: An Introduction to Humanitarian UAVs – Comment by Robert Steele

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

An Introduction to Humanitarian UAVs and their Many Uses

Satellite images have been used to support humanitarian efforts for decades. Why? A bird’s eye view of a disaster-affected area simply captures far more information than most Earth-based data-collection technologies can. In short, birds have more situational awareness than we do. In contrast to satellites, UAVs offer significantly higher-resolution imagery, are unobstructed by clouds, can be captured more quickly, by more groups and more often at a fraction of the cost with far fewer licensing and data-sharing restrictions than satellite imagery.

Introduction to UAVs

There are basically three types of UAVs: 1) the balloon/kite variety; 2) fixed-wing UAVs; 3) rotary-wing UAVs. While my forthcoming book looks at humanitarian applications of each type, I’ll focus on fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs here since these are of greatest interest to humanitarian organizations. These types of UAVs differ from traditional remote control planes and helicopters because they are programmable and intelligent. UAVs can be programmed to take-off, fly and land completely autonomously, for example. They often include intelligent flight stabilization features that adapt for changing wind speeds and other weather-related conditions. They also have a number of built-in fail-safe mechanisms; some of the newer UAVs even include automated collision avoidance systems.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Fixed-wing UAVs like senseFly’s eBees (above) are launched by hand and can land a wide variety of surfaces, requiring only a few meters of landing space. They fly autonomously along pre-programmed routes and also land themselves auto-matically. My colleague Adam from senseFly recently flew eBees to support recovery efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda. Adam is also on the Advisory Board of the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators). Other fixed-wing UAVs are flown manually and require an airstrip for both manual take-off and landing. Rotary-wing UAVs, in contrast, are “helicopters” with three or more propellors. Quadcopters, for example, have four propellors, like the Huginn X1 below, which my colleague Liam Dawson, another Advisory Board member, flew following Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. One advantage of rotary-UAVs is that they take-off and land vertically. They can also hover in one fixed place and can also be programmed to fly over designated points.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Rotary-UAVs cannot glide like their fixed-wing counterparts, which means their batteries get used up fairly quickly. So they can’t stay airborne for very long (~25 minutes, 2 kilometer range, depending on the model) compared to fixed-wing UAVs like the eBee (~45 minutes, 3 kilometers). Advisory Board member Shane Coughlan is designing fixed-wing humanitarian UAVs that will have a range of several hundred kilometers. Fixed-wing UAVs, however, cannot hover in one place over time. So both types of UAVs come with their advantages and disadvantages. Most UAV experts agree that fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs can serve complementary purposes, however. You can quickly use a quadcopter to an initial aerial recon and then send a fixed-wing UAV for more detailed, high-resolution imagery capture.

Humanitarian Uses of UAVs

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May 1

Daniel Villegas: PiPhone: A DIY Rasberry Pi Cellphone — in the OpenBTS Tradition!

Danielle Villegas

Danielle Villegas

This is one of those fun things that as a geek mom, I had to share. I also think it’s a cool project to do if you have the parts. This is the sort of thing I would’ve loved to have done as a kid. (I do want to get my hands on a Raspberry Pi at some point!) Watch the video in the article. It’s not practical, but it’s still pretty cool. 

PiPhone: A DIY Raspberry Pi Cellphone

Matt Richardson

Makezine.com, 29 April 2014

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

When the Raspberry Pi Compute Module was announced ealier this month, a group of us at MAKE discussed what kind of impact it could have. For one, we thought perhaps it could help foster the rise of DIY electronics such as cameras, cellphones, and laptops.

Even without the Compute Module, software engineer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast Dave Hunt made a lot of headway with his own Raspberry Pi-based cellphone. By sandwiching together a Raspberry Pi Model B, TFT touch screen, a lithium polymer battery, and GSM module, Dave has cobbled together a portable GSM phone that can place calls with a headset.

“It’s more of a proof of concept to see what could be done with a relatively small form factor with off-the-shelf (cheap) components,” Dave says. “I don’t expect everyone to be rushing out to build this one, but I had great fun in doing it, as it builds quite nicely on my previous projects.” The total cost of the PiPhone project? Just $158, no contract required! See it in action below:



See Also:

OpenBTS @ Phi Beta Iota

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Apr 30

Worth A Look: Free and Secure Internet for All

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

The range of speakers and topics is worth a look. There is no focus to open source at the same time that the main emphasis appears to be the role of the state rather than service to the public.

Free and Secure Internet for All

Freedom Online, Tallinn, Estonia

April 28-29, 2014

See detailed program.

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Apr 29

Jean Lievens: WIRED – Insurance Breaks Start-Ups in a Sharing Economy

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

What Makes or Breaks Startups in the Sharing Economy? Insurance Rates

 

EXTRACT

Insurance represents both the lifeblood and the biggest threat to the sharing economy. As I explore in this month’s WIRED cover story, companies like RelayRides — or Airbnb, Lyft, or any other sharing company — depend upon its customers’ willingness to trust one another. These businesses have devised numerous mechanisms to engineer that trust, but perhaps no one feature has been as important as insurance.

Read full article.

 

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Apr 29

Jean Lievens: Open Source Urbanism & “Right to Infrastructure”

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

The right to infrastructure: a prototype for open source urbanism

Alberto Corsín Jiménez

Abstract. This paper develops an analytical framework to place the rise of open source urbanism in context, and develops the concept of the ‘right to infrastructure’ as expressive of new ecologies of urban relations that have come into being. It describes, first, a genealogy for open source technology, focusing in particular on how open source urban hardware projects may challenge urban theory. It moves then to describe in detail various dimensions and implications of an open source infrastructural project in Madrid. In all, the paper analyses three challenges that the development of open source urban infrastructures is posing to the institutions of urban governance and property: the evolving shape and composition of urban ecologies; the technical and design challenges brought about by open source urban projects; and the social organisation of the ‘right to infrastructure’ as a political, active voice in urban governance. In the last instance, the right to infrastructure, I shall argue, signals the rise of the ‘prototype’ as an emerging figure for contemporary sociotechnical designs in and for social theory.
Keywords: open source urbanism, infrastructures, urban ecologies, urban commons, right to the city, prototypes

Corsín Jiménez A, 2014, “The right to infrastructure: a prototype for open source urbanism” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32(2) 342 – 362

PDF (21 Pages): 2014 Open Source Urbanism Right to Infrastructure

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Apr 28

Stephen E. Arnold: Open Review Breaks the Back of Citation Cabals and Incestuous Science

Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

Open Review Brings Peer Review to the Scientific Masses

This seems like a step in the right direction for the world of academic publishing. ResearchGate News announces, “Peer Review Isn’t Working—Introducing Open Review.” We know that increasingly, papers based on shoddy research have been making it into journals supposedly policed by rigorous peer-review policies. Now, ResearchGate has launched a countermeasure—Open Review brings the review process to the public. The write up happily tells us:

“We’re excited to announce the launch of Open Review today. It’s designed to help you openly voice feedback and evaluate research that you have read and worked with, bringing more transparency to science and speeding up progress.

“With Open Review you can:

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Apr 7