Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

A read-only view of the results-in-progress from wednesday evening, using the wiki magic of "transclusion".

(currently occasionally messed up because of Mediawiki bugs)

Table 1[]

How to get more attention on technology policy?

  1. Find the human interest story that illustrates the issue
  2. Try to tell the story the way you want the story to be told (frame the story yourself)
  3. Who do you want to tell the story to?
  4. Activate the blogosphere – get them interested
  5. Look for existing groups as allies
  6. Anticipate the PR response (news that would try to block it), also the ‘story behind the story’ – like how banks know about the ID theft issue, but don’t do anything about it
  7. The impact on kids
  8. Get an activist professor on board
  9. Demo where you can (passport/RFID)
  10. Don’t frame it as ‘technology policy’, frame it as the issue that is underneath

Topics needing more attention/getting superficial attention

  1. Patents and software
  2. Bridge between the rhetoric between id theft and the law (make the ID theft issue clearer)
  3. Who owns the pipes? Who gets access to the pipes? Who determines how they are monitored?
  4. Access and education for the next generation
  5. Transparency
  6. Data collection by the government
  7. Anonymity and privacy
  8. Wiretapping story
  9. Idea that young people don’t care about privacy (even though they really do)
  10. Cyber bullying and stalking – existing laws aren’t used
  11. Who owns your information – governments calling up info and sharing it with others (like when you’re stopped at the border)
  12. Advertising, targeted advertising

Table 2[]

Dear Potus: Table 2

How to get more attention on tech policy

  • Skywriting - potential text: (a) Privacy Matters; (b) Access Now
  • Technological Meltdown - "The Internet Valdez"
  • Color-coded warning system
  • Threat of Cyberwar: The Internet is stockpiling WMD.
  • Mainstream Media - offer free food.
  • Celebrity Endorsements
  • Holding the Media Accountable
  • FTP = WMD
  • Broadband is Sputnik

Topics Needing More Attention

  • Openness (Innovation and Open Standards)
  • Cyber-harassment
  • Education - Internet, new media
  • Data Protection
  • Digital Divide/Broadband Divide
  • Data Mining
  • Internet Filtering
  • History of Intelligence community

Areas with Superficial Coverage

  • Sexual Harassment Online
  • Danger of Social Networks
  • The Internet is a Threat to Our Kids
  • Corporations are Evil. Google is a corporation. Therefore, Google is evil.
  • Govt. Data Mining - extraordinary threats to civil liberties
  • Everything media (both old & new) is superficial
  • Structural Pre-Conditions of Innovation
  • Lack of Transparency

Technology Policy Categories

  • Privacy
  • Broadband Access
  • Privacy is Security
  • Govt. Surveillance
  • Digital Education
  • Intellectual Property
  • Digital Person
  • Private Database Regulation
  • Media Concentration
  • Global Public Sphere
  • Net Neutrality
  • Translating old ideas to new
  • Censorship
  • International Blockage
  • e-Voting
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Bioethics

Miscellaneous, pt. 1

Getting Attention ... Do Nothing, Boycott, Blackout on the Internet. Surveillance as a Security Threat. 2 types of fear: 1) For Us and 2) For Them Hope Defeats Fear Fuse the idea of threats and concentration of power Distributed info = security

Miscellaneous, pt. 2

Potential Celebrity Endorsements

Potential Digital Rights Mascot

People Who Should be Subject to Congressional Hearings in the First 100 Days

Places that Should Have Better Cell-Phone Reception

Table 3[]

Getting more attention

  • Candidates using existing their fundraising and networks to raise awareness f particular issues
  • Televised debate--ensure that the public can respond to the debate via the Internet in real time
  • relating technology issues to current hot-button issues--technology and tech policy is embedded within many existing issues, such as provision of health care and availablilty of consumer choice
  • creating a "day of 'net silence" to draw attention ot the importance of tech policy issues.
  • draft or appoint popular media figures (e.g. Oprah) to host special programs or head up special commissions on a particular issue.
  • provide candidates with a questionnaire to outline their positions on tech policies

Topics needing more attention

  • municipal wifi
  • digital divide/equal access to technology
  • need for an effective privacy authority
  • need for comprehensive privacy legislation based on fair information practices and governing private data collectors
  • promotion of user-centric ID systems
  • reforming damages--creating statutory minimums for more privacy violations
  • limiting damages for IP infringement

Topics receiving superficial coverage

  • ID theft--focus is currently on the bad actions of ID thieves, without sufficient focus upon the culpable behavior of those who breach personal info, those who offer credit without verifying identity properly, and credit reporting agencies with poor privacy and security practices.
  • Net neutrality--covered as a battle between tech companies and ISPs, instead of covering questions of content or source discrimination; actual mechanisms to enforce net neutrality are only discussed broadly as "regulation" or "no regulation;" net neutrality vaguely defined, if at all, by mainstream press
  • digital divide--lack of focus on actual implementation--how infrastructure is built out and how it can be ensured to improve quality of life, as opposed to amount spent; lack of coverage of providers gaming system
  • spam--lack of attention to potential new private rights of action

Tech categories

  • IP,
  • Infrastructure and access
  • Privacy (vis a vis government--surveillance, mandated IDs )
  • Commercial privacy
  • censorship
  • cybercrimes/fraud

Table 4[]

How to get more attention on technology policy

  • The letter should be more focused i.e. information technology policy or Internet technology policy
  1. Think of examples where technology policy has been helpful in solving problems
    1. air safety
    2. food and drug manufacturing
    3. construction
    4. environmental science
  2. Challenges to Privacy
    1. consumer rights
    2. human rights
  3. Problems created because of a lack of technology policy
    1. transportation fuel efficiency standards
  4. Highlight the reliance upon technology
    1. Health and public safety
    2. Economy
    3. Environment
    4. Standard of living
  5. Innovation Policy
    1. New Fields
  6. Cost v. Benefit of doing nothing
    1. Identify systemic risks and address them

Topics needing more attention

  1. Emergence of Global innovation networks
    1. risks and opportunities for US technology policy lessons learned
      1. failure to sustain commitment to remain a world leader in a field of science
      2. example: Superconductor Supercollider project in Texas failure to sustain construction. EU Cern now is the world's largest known project of this type.
  2. Governance Gaps
    1. Nationally
      1. consumers
      2. business
      3. public sector (local, state, and federal)
    2. Internationally
  3. Global Challenges
    1. Competition is not just nation to nation, but multinational collaborations v. US where the cost and rewards are shared
  4. Public Policy Should Focus on Access to Basic Science and Technology Inputs and Outputs (Cleaning drinking water, greater crop yields per-acre and clean energy development
    1. Universal Cooperation
    2. Sharing knowledge
    3. Improving standards of living and quality of life

Table 5[]

Information Technology as a community and as a concept is a dynamic system -- an organism who feeds back into itself and its environment, and whose environment does the same to IT. Even so, it is an unusual organism as it knowingly contains, supports, feeds, and draws upon nearly all literate human cultures, including the developing world. As such, the system consists mainly of people who wish to keep it around, and so IT is likely to avoid destruction at any cost, even to the point of jettisoning malformed parts (autoimmunity).

The most major threats to a system such as that may not be from inside, or even from outside. The main threats come in a mere few forms, as all else is likely to be rendered immune by such a large, dynamic, intelligent, adaptive, and distributed system. These Acchiles heels are:

  • Naive yet well-intentioned regulation passed on a universal level without due process or experimentation, and without the opportunity for full discussion within the loop
  • The subtle, insidious spread of distrust, starving the organism without attacking it directly. (This can be the unintended result of uninformed or obsolete teachings propagated to the young or inexperienced.)
  • The well-intentioned minor regulations passed widely but not consistently in a short enough time period that a lashback cannot be properly maintained.
  • Subtle regulations that over time lower the flexibility and capriciousness of the system in favour of interoperability, stunting its growth and the progression of its maturity and adaptation. (The World Wide Web can be seen as a slightly more benign form of this problem)

As a vital system, the internet community will bounce back on its own unless one of these problems is formed. No matter what specific regulations are passed or removed, all of them are temporary and ultimately unimportant unless one of the above conditions is caused. Even DRM, IP law, and so on will likely meet their own doom as the people affected largely know the predicament and have time to respond (the creation of free formats and copyleft is a good example). The restriction of information will always be overthrown to the extent that it is possible and desirable as long as this community organism exists. As long as we have our weaknesses in mind, we as a collective organism cannot be overthrown or defeated.

Table 11[]

Media:Example.oggWe weren't sure that our table had a number. We were a small group from New Hampshire and Maine at a table near the back.

How to get more attention on technology policy?

1. More television and/or radio series presentations explaining details in depth.

2. Help people learn the necessary vocabulary for talking about technology. More news stories linked to background pieces explaining details.

3. Less spin, more real reporting!

4. More access to source data where feasible.

5. Debates on specific technology policies.

6. Regular video (not print) press releases (since video gets covered better).

7. Allow direct access to policy-makers through web--use the Internet's two-way features.

Topics needing more attention

1. Environmental impact. Could we use email instead of physical mail to reduce wasteful consumption and use of bad chemicals? Can incentives for companies to permit telecommuting reduce need for driving?

2. Better tech/science education. (Don't let "no child left behind" mean "no child gets ahead". That just pulls everyone toward the middle.)

3. Create incentives for companies to employ workers in the US rather than lay them off.

4. Address the Digital Divide, making sure that non-computer people can participate in government.

5. Role of privacy in a ubiquitous surveillance world.

6. Overemphasis of classifying information as secret.

Areas with superficial coverage

1. Computer security.

2. Economic impact of technology on taxpayers.

3. Impact of technology on daily life.

Technology policy categories

At the meta level:

1. Need statements of what principles underlie the technology policies so that it's easier to tell why something is being done, whether it's being done in the best way, whether something is omitted, etc.

2. Need to expose thought process behind decision making: How does government become informed on issues? How are issues decided? Transparency.

At the detail level:

1. Individual rights vs. needs of society. Is the balance different now as a result of new technology?

2. Secrecy in government and how technology can either support or minimize it.

3. Universal Access (Personal and Business)

Table 12[]

Dear Potus: Table 12

Table 13[]

How to get more attention on technology policy?

  1. Promote CFP journalists in the national media
  2. More political organizers at CFP
  3. Bringing scientists, journalists, and activists together

Topics needing more attention

  1. Science/Tech Ed.
  2. Fix the Digital Divide
  3. Privacy from Government
  4. Open APIs for Government Data
  5. Require "Access to Knowledge" in Multinational Treaties
  6. Fix the copyright system
  7. Privacy from corporations
  8. Information security risks

Areas with superficial coverage

  1. Net neutrality
  2. Cyberterrorism
  3. Sexual predators
  4. Identity theft
  5. Obscenity
  6. Demonization of computer/Internet developments
  7. Cyberbullying
  8. Piracy
  9. Hacking

Technology policy categories

  1. Finish unaddressed issues
  2. Find Cheney's cave
  3. Address the FOIA loopholes created by the Vice President's office and working groups

Table 14[]

Dear Potus: Table 14