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

Berto Jongman: Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet

By Klint Finley

WIRED, 14 August 2013

PORTLAND, OREGON — One guy is wearing his Google Glass. Another showed up in an HTML5 t-shirt. And then there’s the dude who looks like the Mad Hatter, decked out in a top hat with an enormous white flower tucked into the brim.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

At first, they look like any other gaggle of tech geeks. But then you notice that one of them is Ward Cunningham, the man who invented the wiki, the tech that underpins Wikipedia. And there’s Kevin Marks, the former vice president of web services at British Telecom. Oh, and don’t miss Brad Fitzpatrick, creator of the seminal blogging site LiveJournal and, more recently, a coder who works in the engine room of Google’s online empire.

Packed into a small conference room, this rag-tag band of software developers has an outsized digital pedigree, and they have a mission to match. They hope to jailbreak the internet.

Read full article.


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Aug 14

Internet Society: Questionnaire on Multistakeholder Participation in Internet Governance + Open Letter to the Internet Society

internet societyInternet Society Launches Questionnaire on Multistakeholder Participation in Internet Governance

02 August 2013

Part of broader dialogue on open and multistakeholder governance for a sustainable Internet

[Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland] — The Internet Society today announced the launch of a survey to gain greater insights into multistakeholder governance perceptions and processes at all levels – national, regional, and international. The questionnaire, http://goo.gl/dGW1tv, is open to all interested participants and is available until 30 September 2013.

The survey is one component of the Internet Society’s broader initiative focused on the open and sustainable Internet. While the Internet has proven its success from economic, development, technological, and societal perspectives, its continued growth as a multistakeholder platform cannot be taken for granted. The Internet Society strongly believes that to ensure a sustainable Internet, the Internet must maintain its core characteristics of open, global and interoperable technical standards for innovation; open access and freedom of expression for all users; openness for business and economic progress; based on a collaborative, inclusive, multistakeholder governance model.

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Aug 3

Robin Good: Google, Yahoo, Others Fear RSS, Locking It Down — We the People NEED an Autonomous Internet with Open Source Everything!

Robin Good

Robin Good

Marco Arment the creator of Instapaper, has an excellent and provocative piece on why Google is closing down all of its RSS appendages (they just closed also the RSS feeds in Google Alerts) and the logic behind this strategy.


He writes: “Officially, Google killed Reader because “over the years usage has declined”.1 I believe that statement, especially if API clients weren’t considered “usage”, but I don’t believe that’s the entire reason.

The most common assumption I’ve seen others cite is that “Google couldn’t figure out how to monetize Reader,” or other variants about direct profitability. I don’t believe this, either. Google Reader’s operational costs likely paled in comparison to many of their other projects that don’t bring in major revenue, and I’ve heard from multiple sources that it effectively had a staff of zero for years. It was just running, quietly serving a vital role for a lot of people.”

The bigger problem is that they’ve abandoned interoperability. RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).

Google resisted this trend admirably for a long time and was very geek- and standards-friendly, but not since Facebook got huge enough to effectively redefine the internet and refocus Google’s plans to be all-Google+, all the time.4

Read full post at Marco.org.

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Jul 5

Review (Guest): Wireless Mesh Networking: Architectures, Protocols and Standards

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Yan Zhang , Jijun Luo , Honglin Hu

5.0 out of 5 stars Untangling Mesh Networks, March 10, 2009


This review is from: Wireless Mesh Networking: Architectures, Protocols and Standards (Wireless Networks and Mobile Communications) (Hardcover)

Wireless networking has been around for more than a decade, but mesh is a relatively recent revolution. This book edits together extensive research from about 50 global experts into an easy-to-read, fluid and authoritative account of this emerging technology and market.

The release of the 802.11 IEEE standard in 1997 set off a chain of developments including 802.11 a / b / g / and n that have revolutionized the lives of computer users – to a point where laptop/notebooks/netbooks tend to be a primary and fully capable method for network access today.

A similar effort, 802.11s, has been under development since at least 2003 – with the objective of establishing a mesh networking standard. This book does an excellent job raising many of the considerations behind that standard, at the same time it addresses other protocol and standards.

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Jun 22

Berto Jongman: Wireless Mesh Networking — Design for Freedom

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

DIY Tech Explored In Free The Network

The Creators Project

Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

At the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, Motherboard TV uncovered an unlikely hero in the thicket of the protest’s confusion. Meet Issac Wilder, the founder of The Free Network Foundation, a mesh networking system that allowed demonstrators access to free internet—that is until Zuccotti Park was ransacked and the Freedom Tower was confiscated and destroyed. See how DIY tech is influencing the state of modern day protesting and protecting our privacy in this video. Protests around the world, or even neighborhood networks will continue to be utilized and evolved as long as governments try to restrict people’s access to the internet in times of great need. This video takes a look at DIY mesh networks during the Occupy movement several years ago. We should see mesh networks pop up around the world during times of protest as this technology evolves.

VIDEO (30:55)

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Jun 22

Yoda: From GIGANET with Love – Protecting the Internet from Dictators Plus….

Got Crowd? BE the Force!

Got Crowd? BE the Force!

The Innovation Journal

Volume 18 Issue 1, 2013
Special Issue on the Middle East
Edited by Alexander Dawoody, Marywood University, USA

Peer-Reviewed Papers:

The Challenge of Good Governance, by Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Protecting the Internet from Dictators: Technical and Policy Solutions to Ensure Online Freedoms, by Warigia Bowman, University of Arkansans, USA and L. Jean Camp, University of Indiana, USA.

The Middle East and Learning from BRIC, by Alexander Dawoody, Marywood University, USA.

The Middle East in Suspended Animation: Defective Complex Adaptive Systems, by Samir Rihani, University of Liverpool, UK.

See remaining articles, book reviews.

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Apr 25

BitTorrent Sync creates private, peer-to-peer Dropbox, no cloud required No size limits, no cloud

BitTorrent Sync creates private, peer-to-peer Dropbox, no cloud required

No size limits, no cloud: Hands-on with BitTorrent’s new file syncing software.

BitTorrent today released folder syncing software that replicates files across multiple computers using the same peer-to-peer file sharing technology that powers BitTorrent clients.

The free BitTorrent Sync application is labeled as being in the alpha stage, so it’s not necessarily ready for prime-time, but it is publicly available for download and working as advertised on my home network.

BitTorrent, Inc. (yes, there is a legitimate company behind BitTorrent) took to its blog to announce the move from a pre-alpha, private program to the publicly available alpha. Additions since the private alpha include one-way synchronization, one-time secrets for sharing files with a friend or colleague, and the ability to exclude specific files and directories.

BitTorrent Sync provides “unlimited, secure file-syncing,” the company said. “You can use it for remote backup. Or, you can use it to transfer large folders of personal media between users and machines; editors and collaborators. It’s simple. It’s free. It’s the awesome power of P2P, applied to file-syncing.”

File transfers are encrypted, with private information never being stored on an external server or in the “cloud.”

“Since Sync is based on P2P and doesn’t require a pit-stop in the cloud, you can transfer files at the maximum speed supported by your network,” BitTorrent said. “BitTorrent Sync is specifically designed to handle large files, so you can sync original, high quality, uncompressed files.”

Read full article with multiple screen shots.

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Apr 25

Eagle: Harvard Berkman (Schneier & Zittrain) on IT, Security, Power

300 Million Talons...

300 Million Talons…

IT, Security, and Power

Bruce Schneier & Jonathan Zittrain in conversation

April 4, 6:00pm ET
Langdell Hall South, 272 Kirkland and Ellis Classroom

From Bruce Schneier:

What I’ve Been Thinking About

I have been thinking about the Internet and power: how the Internet affects power, and how power affects the Internet. Increasingly, those in power are using information technology to increase their power. This has many facets, including the following:

1. Ubiquitous surveillance for both government and corporate purposes — aided by cloud computing, social networking, and Internet-enabled everything — resulting in a world without any real privacy.

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Apr 20

Michel Bauwens: Internet Defense League

Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens

Movement of the Day: Internet Defense League

Franco Iacomella, 26th June 2012

“Alexis Ohanian, the 29-year old founder of social news site Reddit, has partnered with the online advocacy group Fight for the Future to create what they’re calling the “Internet Defense League.” Ohanian describes the project, which they plan to officially launch next month, as a “Bat-Signal for the Internet.” Any website owner can sign up on the group’s website to add a bit of code to his or her site–or receive that code by email at the time of a certain campaign–that can be triggered in the case of a political crisis like SOPA, adding an activist call-to-action to all the sites involved, such as a widget or banner asking users to sign petitions, call lawmakers, or boycott companies.

“People who wish to be tapped can see, oh look, the Bat-Signal is up. Time to do something,” says Ohanian. “Whatever website you own, this is a way for you to be notified if something comes up and take some basic actions…If we aggregate everyone that’s doing it, the numbers start exploding.”

The embedded code on participating sites might do more than just display a mere banner ad, says Tiffiniy Cheng, co-director of Internet-focused political advocacy group Fight for the Future, and could even go as far as the blackout technique that Web activists used to successfully turn the tide against SOPA. “We’ll invent something at the time, and it will be some really unified and shocking action,” she says, hinting at techniques that would temporarily take over the entire appearance of willing sites. ”We’re creating the tools and the forms of protest that allow for viral organizing. That’s how the SOPA protests were able to get started and grow to the level they did.”

So far, Cheng says Reddit, imaging hosting site Imgur, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, viral content company Cheezburger Network, Mozilla and the non-profit Public Knowledge have all signed up. The group hopes that eventually thousands of sites–including those as small as a single user’s Tumblr page–will join the project.

Fight for the Future and Ohanian have both been focused most recently on defeating CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act. The bill, originally designed to allow sharing of information between the private sector and government agencies like the National Security Agency for cybersecurity purposes, was amended just before being passed in the House last month to allow companies to hand over any user data they wish to the government without regard for existing privacy laws, for reasons as vague as preventing computer “crime,” or “the protection of individuals from the danger of death or serious bodily harm.” One of two Senate versions of the bill is expected to come up for a vote in early June.

Fight for the Future last week launched an anti-CISPA site, Privacy is Awesome, asking users to call their senators and demand meetings to discuss the bill. And Ohanian has spoken out against the legislation as well, asking investors not to buy shares of Facebook’s newly-public stock to protest the company’s support for CISPA.

But CISPA protests have yet to match the fever pitch of anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA protests in January that led to boycotts of SOPA-supporting Web host GoDaddy, attacks by Anonymous against the Recording Industry of Association of America and the Motion Picture Assocation of America, and the blackout protests that included sites as popular as Reddit and Wikipedia. Most of Silicon Valley continues to support CISPA, including Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Symantec, with Google refusing to take a stand on either side of the issue.

Ohanian argues the challenge in maintaining political vigilance against laws that would harm the Internet is long-term endurance, rather than the ability to defeat any one piece of legislation.”You can only cry ‘Oh my gosh, they’re going to shut down the Internet’ so often,” he says. “We’ve scared [Congress] from doing anything as egregious as SOPA and PIPA again. But the new challenge is this endless series of smaller bills that try to unravel internet rights.”

The answer, Ohanian believes, is to foster a new level of engagement between Internet users and Congress that emphasizes digital rights and either educates ignorant lawmakers on Internet issues or helps to push them out of office. He cites an idea that he attributes to Cheezburger Network chief executive Ben Huh, that every Internet user should have their legislators’ phone numbers saved on their cell phone and ready to use on a regular basis.”

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Mar 18