Author Archives: Wendy Hanamura

Branding the Decentralized Web

The new DWeb logo draws inspiration from our colorful code base!

The Decentralized Web is a concept. It’s a set of technologies. It’s a network of builders and designers and dreamers. What started with small gatherings in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Toronto and Berlin is growing into a global movement. So how do we visually convey the identity of this idea we call the “DWeb”?

Designer, Iryna Nezhynska, has created a flexible, new brand identity for the DWeb community.

That’s the assignment that Berlin-based designer, Iryna Nezhynska, volunteered to take on. Born in Ukraine, she developed her skills in brand agencies based in Warsaw, designing for some of the world’s largest brands: Lindt Chocolates, Mercedes/Daimler, John Deere. But Nezhynska’s joy came from working with startups, helping small teams express their collective vision. Today, she is the digital designer for Jolocom, the Berlin-based team building tools for self-sovereign identity. “Visual design is in my bones,” Nezhynska told me. “Branding is the air I breathe.”

“If you are a visual communication designer—you aren’t a graphic designer or an artist,” Nezhynska explained. “You are a translator of the emotions/ideas/values that a group wants to communicate. You translate it into a visual language.” So the first step is understanding the “personality” of the brand. How it should feel and speak. Nezhynska began by launching a survey for community members in Berlin, Toronto and San Francisco. Collectively, we imagined the DWeb’s to be “friendly,” “open-minded” and “playful.” But it is also a dynamic change-agent, prioritizing people over technology.

When it came to designing the logo, Nezhynska first had to consider the ubiquitous image of connected nodes that have come to represent the blockchain. “That graphic is so overused,” she ruminated. “I tried to find out who actually came up with it and why it became the blockchain symbol. The blockchain graphic is random, but it has movement. I wanted to build on the common associations of the blockchain, but push the idea further. So I thought, what if we take the graphic and delete the sharp edges, transforming the lines into the D shape? Could we make the cluster of dots ‘live’ within the D? I want people to play with the brand. You can use the D or just suggest it.”

The logo’s central shape is a simple dot. “The concept is that we have different size dots. There are many people building Web 3.0, but they have different influence. They are living and moving. Small dots can become bigger over time. Yet it’s one community,” Nezhynska explained. In her flexible design concept, the dot can be a balloon, a fingerprint, a face. A speck of light. She sought to create pattern and consistency, yet enough free space to allow people to play.

“A logo should be breathing and have a heartbeat.  Every dot changes size. Every dot beats differently.  A beautiful cacophony.” –Iryna Nezhynska, designer

Next, given the values of the Decentralized Web around open source code and free iteration, Nezhynska looked for an open source font and landed on Lab Mono, a typeface created by a Berlin-based coder and designer, Martin Wecke.

Yet designing the logo was only the beginning of the brand assignment. With the DWeb personality firmly in mind, Nezhynska next set off in search of the right visuals, colors and applications in the real world to create a mood board. Taken together, the logo and mood board create a memorable look and feel.  “The moodboard should be the brand’s ‘North Star,” Nezhynska explained. “If you apply it consistently across all visual touchpoints, even if you delete the logo, you should still be able to identity the brand. It’s that consistent. That recognizable.”

How can the world use this brand identity? We see the DWeb as a global community, adding new nodes in cities around the globe. Each city can adopt its own color: SF might be yellow, Berlin red.

At DWeb Camp, Nezhynska will lead a  workshop to design UX/UI for a central landing page that will direct you to DWeb groups and events around the world. She envisions a community akin to Creative Commons, now in 150 cities with local ambassadors creating events: meet ups, camps, an Annual Summit.  “I hope the DWeb can keep the money aspects at bay,” the designer mused. “If you run a local community you aren’t promoting your own brand, you are promoting the community.”

And five years from now? “If the community keeps the brand alive and growing, in five years the visual won’t be so important,” Nezhynska said. “But the tonal voice will be important. Friendly. Playful. Human. The brand personality should persist.”

To build the DWeb Brand with Iryna Nezhynska, register for DWeb Camp, July 18-21. Join her workshop to extend the global brand.

Spark New Ideas & Technologies at DWeb Camp 2019

You’re Invited to the DWeb Camp 2019

On July 18-21th, the Internet Archive is convening a special gathering around decentralized technologies and principles for a more open, private, secure Web. Builders and Dreamers: join us for a meaningful long weekend to explore concepts of decentralization and community at DWeb Camp 2019.

Benedict Lau of Toronto Mesh demonstrates how IPFS and Secure Scuttlebutt work on a mesh network of Raspberry Pis. Looking on: AlterMundi’s Nicolas Pace and Protocol Labs’ Juan Benet.

Hands-on hacking, workshops, deep conversation & creativity

Participants emulate the Decentralized Web itself in a creative exploration led by Taeyoon Choi of the School for Poetic Computation at the Decentralized Web Summit 2018.

Based on communal principles, most of the weekend’s programming will be community-created and  self-organized. There will be hacking, lightning talks, workshops and celebrations through music and art! So propose an activation, conversation, or project to share.

Space to experiment

Share your skills in myriad hands-on workshops.

The Camp includes a 10,000 square foot hacker space for building decentralized infrastructure and community-first dapps. The farm will be wired with a mesh network to experiment with off-line tech. Come build interesting applications for decentralization around: identity, file-sharing, local mesh networks, databases, mapping, and social media.

UX/UI breakout group including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founder the World Wide Web at DWeb Summit 2018.

Swap Ideas with thought leaders

At DWeb Camp, we’re honored to be joined by thought leaders from many communities: Internet Archive, Handshake, Coil, Mozilla, W3C, Matrix, Holo, IPFS/Protocol Labs, Beaker Browser, Web Torrent, Web 3 Foundation, Jolocom, Bloom, Scuttlebutt, People’s Open Project, Toronto Mesh, Wolk, Aether, Earth Species Project, and more. Here is a partial look at who is coming.

Camp in Comfort

Need a tent? You can rent a 5 meter canvas tent complete with mattresses, comforters and linens.

We will be camping on a private farm surrounded by 700 acres of pristine coastal land with miles of beaches, forests, and streams. And no one said camping couldn’t be comfortable. The farm comes with toilets, showers, parking for RVs, plus 3 healthy meals per day included with your ticket.

From Open Space to WellnessWorkshops

As it is at Burning Man, participants should bring their talents and gifts to share. Some the projects and workshops offered by the community include:

Members of the Farm will lead us in mushroom inoculation workshops where you can learn to grow your own edible mushrooms.
  • Anti-surveillance technologies
  • Decentralized identity
  • Decentralized virtual reality
  • Decentralized archiving
  • Data swaps
  • Building mesh networks
  • Decentralized media storage
  • Mushroom inoculation
  • Permaculture & regenerative agriculture
  • Mobile renewable energy
  • Whatever you’d like to share! (Let us know here if you want to lead a workshop or give a lightning talk on any subject

Join us for a mind-expanding and heart warming weekend!

Register Here


Coming this Summer: The First DWeb Camp

Join us for the first ever DWeb Camp at a private farm one hour south of San Francisco.

How do we build a better Web? The Web we want, the Web we deserve? A Web with no central points of control?

Since 2016, we’ve been calling this the Decentralized Web (DWeb for short) and now we are inviting everyone who wants to imagine and co-create that better Web to join us this summer at one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.

The Internet Archive is hosting a community-built event: DWeb Camp from July 18-21, 2019. Or come early and stay late if you want to help build the camp with us: July 15-22, because that’s when the fun begins. DWeb Camp is all about connecting: to your deepest values, to the community around you, and to the planet. Can we come together to imagine and  co-create the technologies, laws, markets and values for the societies we want to live in? REGISTER NOW to attend this first-of-its-kind-event.

We’ll be camping at a farm that’s just a ten-minute hike to this beach, with streams, forests, and trails all around the adjacent private property.

WHERE:  We’ve reserved a private farm one hour south of San Francisco and one hour west of San Jose. It’s surrounded by 600 acres of pristine, untouched coastal land: beach, forest, stream. Once you register, we’ll send you the exact location.

The Farm will rent you a bell tent, cots, and bedding if you don’t have gear of your own.

HOW WILL IT WORK:  bring a tent and sleeping gear, or if you need one, you can rent a tent and bedding from the Farm and they’ll have it set up for you when you arrive. These 5-meter bell tents are big enough for 3-4 people, so invite your friends and share. RVs are welcome too.

All your meals will be covered in the cost of your ticket: healthy, locally-sourced food, some grown on the Farm itself. You should plan to bring all the extras:  snacks, drinks, wine, s’mores, coffee. We won’t be serving alcohol, but it’s BYOB. Bring enough to share! We’ll set up some DIY coffee/tea bars, or you can set up a tent and host your own lounge.  

Galileo Kumavais builds his first decentralized city at the Decentralized Web Summit 2018.

WHO’S INVITED:  DWeb Camp is family-friendly, so you can bring the kids. For the kid in all of us there will be plenty to do from morning yoga, picking berries, watching the sunset on the beach, hiking up a local stream—plus we’ll have kid-friendly activities going on as well. But every child under 18 needs to be accompanied by a parent at all times—no babysitting provided.

Are you a coder, lawyer, artist, activist, armchair philosopher or all of the above, working to create new ways to connect to and through technology? Ready to get your hands dirty and build something new from the ground up? Love to camp, cook, hack, hike, and connect with the great outdoors? Then DWeb Camp may be for you.

Since we’re still working out the kinks, we will be limiting DWeb Camp to 500 people this first year. Sorry, but that means no daytrippers, latecomers, or unregistered drop-ns allowed.

The Farm has a variety of structures to adapt, share, and co-create within. From 44′ domes, a dance floor, and workshop rooms to raw spaces we can shape together.

WHAT’S THE GAME PLAN?  DWeb Camp is a community-built event, so it will be what you make it. We supply the land, some shelter, nourishing food, power and the rest is up to you.

We hope you’ll bring your own project, share your knowledge, launch a conversation, host a tea lounge, offer massages, lead a creative class. The sky’s the limit. Enlist your friends to come and help. Members of the Farm will be creating spaces for meditation, yoga, music making, nature walks, beach hikes, regenerative farming, star gazing, and more.

Imagine what you could build in here?

The Farm has limited connectivity to the internet and little to no cell service. Volunteer teams are setting up a local mesh network throughout the Farm so we can communicate and work offline with the decentralized tools you bring. We’re looking for DWeb communities to build services on top of the mesh.

Why is this important? Because a truly Decentralized Web would work in places where there is limited to no internet connectivity or restrictions due to cost or censorship. The DWeb Camp is a perfect opportunity for us to make local messaging, mapping, websites, and file storage work with community-managed infrastructures in the wild, where we can all be builders and users of our decentralized technologies. Visit our Mesh@DWeb Camp GitHub to get involved now!

HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE?  Here are the GitHub repositories where we hope to co-organize DWeb Camp with you! Our goal is to make this a volunteer-run event in the future and leave behind a trove of knowledge for others. If you prefer to share information in places other than GitHub, we’ll be publishing a new website with more information in mid-April, and in the meantime, you can always email us at dwebcamp@archive.org with your ideas!

By mid-April, we’ll have a process in place where you can see some of the projects that others are proposing and find ways to pitch in. Better yet: propose your own! Our goal as organizers is to make sure you have a place to land to create magic—but you’ll need to bring just about everything else, just like when you camp!

WHAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT CAN I EXPECT? The environment is beautiful but raw. California’s northern coast is often shrouded in fog, with temperatures ranging from 72 to 53 degrees. Natives of this area say it never rains here in July, but don’t expect to be diving into the ocean without a wetsuit! You’ll want to bring layers of clothing, and shoes suitable for hiking.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?  The true cost for this 4-day camp is $800 per person. We know that’s a lot of money for some, and not that much for others, so we’ll be offering a sliding scale to register, from $200 for students to $1200 for highly resourced professionals who want to sponsor someone else. Kids under 12 come for free.

There will be some limited financial aid and a committee will evaluate each person on the basis of need.

The Farm is also renting 5-meter canvas bell tents with cots and bedding for $400. Put together a group and share! There’s a $100 parking fee if you want to bring your RV.

(For the ultimate non-camper, there is a lodge with suites, cabins, and glamping tents just ten minutes away. But you’ll have to make arrangements on your own.)

WHAT IF I VOLUNTEER?  Volunteers who work three 4-hour shifts (12 hours) during the Camp can qualify for a 50% rebate on their ticket price. Those who come for the Build/Strike days (July 15-22)  and contribute three 8-hour shifts (24 hours) can qualify for a 100% rebate. Volunteer slots are limited and we’ll post a way to apply in mid-April.

What will happen when you put 500 committed people in a beautiful, natural, ocean-front space? We hope to leave you inspired. Recharged. Connected. Grounded. Ready to change the world.

Sign up here for updates.

Questions?  Help us plan by filling out this simple form.

Interested in being a DWeb Camp Sponsor? Contact Wendy Hanamura at wendy@archive.org.


CRYPTO CHALLENGE: 3 Donors will match any Crypto Donation this week, 3-to-1!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…

Opening line from “A Tale of Two Cities”  by Charles Dickens


For those deeply engaged in cryptocurrencies, the words of Charles Dickens, written 160 years ago, have the ring of prophecy. 2018 was the best and worst of times for those holding bitcoin, ether, OMG or XRP. And yet, for some savvy community members who donated their currencies for good, 2018 was also a “season of light.”  This year Ripple founder, Chris Larsen, donated $29 million in XRP to fulfill the wishes of every classroom teacher on DonorsChoose.org. In March, OmiseGO and Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin donated $1 million in crypto to help refugees in Uganda. The anonymous philanthropist behind the Pineapple Fund gave away 5,104 bitcoins to 60 charities, including us. Pine writes, “I consider this project a success. If you’re ever blessed with crypto fortune, consider supporting what you aspire our world to be :).”

Now, to close out the year, three generous supporters of the Internet Archive are offering to match any cryptocurrency donation up to a total of $25,000, made before the end of 2018. For the next few days, you can quadruple your impact for good. What better way to put your cryptocurrencies to work this year than by ensuring everyone will have access to world’s knowledge, for free and with complete reader privacy on archive.org?

DONATE CRYPTO NOW & QUADRUPLE YOUR IMPACT

So why should crypto communities support the Internet Archive? Well, we’ve been experimenting alongside crypto founders, developers and dreamers since 2011. Five years ago, the Internet Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, wrote this reflection on Dreams Reflected in Bitcoin.  Back then, Kahle wrote about early bitcoiners, “Love the dreamers– they make life worth living.”  

The first bitcoin “ATM” in the Internet Archive offices.  Honor system only. 

Who else but the Internet Archive would set up its own Bitcoin-to-cash converter box in the middle of its office? We convinced the sushi joint next door, Sake Zone, to accept bitcoin. (The owners closed down the sushi restaurant a few years ago, but when we reconnected last year the owner had hodled and said he was starting a bitcoin business!) Meanwhile, we will accept your cryptocurrencies in exchange for Internet Archive beanies and t-shirts.  And back in 2013, a reporter for Bitcoin Magazine wrote an Op-Ed about us paying our employees in BTC, urging others to donate to the Archive. His name was Vitalik Buterin.

Bitcoin Magazine Op-Ed by Vitalik Buterin from February 22, 2013

Back in 2013, Buterin wrote:

When asked why he is so interested in accepting and promoting Bitcoin, Kahle’s response is one that many people in the Bitcoin community can relate to. “I think that at the Internet Archive,” Kahle said in a phone interview, “we see ourselves as coming from the net. As an organization we exist because of the internet, and I think of Bitcoin as a creature of the net. It’s a fantastically interesting idea, and to the extent that we’re all trying to build a new future, a better future, let’s try and round it out.”

So as we wind down our 2018 fundraising campaign, we ask our friends in the crypto community to help the Internet Archive “round it out.”  We’re about $460,000 from reaching our year-end goal. And right now your crypto donation will be matched 3-to-1. We accept dozens of altcoins now, thanks to a partnership with Changelly. Your support will go to building a new and better future on the net. We promise you, it will be crypto well spent.


Stories that Move Us

Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnerships, Internet Archive

I have always been a storyteller. It’s how I make sense of the world and share what I value most. And it’s why I have come to love December. Because during this month, when we ask our community to support us, you also take the time to tell us what the Internet Archive means to you.

Thank you!  Thank you for the thousands of messages you send us each day of our campaign. By reading them, I learned what you cherish, how you like to pass your time. I recognize among you poets and pragmatists, idealists and those deeply worried about our future.

Your stories move us to keep improving—to do more.

Here are a few that I’d like to share:

When my boyfriend died, he left behind a ticket stub to a concert that he took me to. I had no idea that he had held on to it for over 30 years. You were able to help me find a recording of that first Grateful Dead concert I ever went to. Listening to it brought back the magic of that night. Thank you.   Robyn

I used free internet resources when I was a penniless student. Now that I have a job, I want to help other penniless students.  Stephen

One of 4 million digital books available on archive.org.

I am a recently retired professor of anthropology, and I am thrilled that I have access to resources that I once only had access to through my university library.  My university ends access to both email accounts and library access upon retirement. Apparently, they assume that retirees immediately lose interest in research when they retire.  Sad. Linda

I am house-bound, reading my only enjoyment. On a fixed income, I appreciate what you provide and wish I could do more to support it.     Barbara

Without BBC radio plays I do not see how I could get through another Canadian winter. . .  Don

I love to read.  I have Chronic Lymphocyctic Leukemia, so it’s hard to go out to shop for books. THANK YOU for this opportunity to read books.  —D.G

I’m a student and I’m doing research about techno, house, clubs and rave culture.  So your site is like a gold mine for me!    Elsa

I’ve searched so many websites for the same opportunities the Internet Archive offers, but was satisfied with none. With the Internet Archive library I feel joyous, happy and calm—cause I know it’s right there. Like my preferred name, I am just a happy reader. Happy Reader

 

Website of the Western Montana Mycological Association, captured in the Wayback Machine on November 22, 2011.

Thanks for helping keep open the only webport our tiny nonprofit has been able to offer since being attacked by WordPress hackers. The information is hard to find and invaluable to educators, poison control centers, and recreationists.   —Western Montana Mycological Association

I donated because civilization devolves into tribal skulduggery when knowledge is allowed to perish. This we must not allow.    —Jamaal

You are like an old hardware store full of vintage nuts and bolts…please stick around!           Happy Surfer

The remedy for Internet Alzheimer’s… Steve

“Wonder in Aliceland” Blog, captured in the Wayback Machine on May 13, 2010.

My daughter’s blog, Wonderinaliceland.blog.com ‘disappeared’ from the web some time ago and my friend Jonathan used your site to retrieve some of her wonderful writing. She has a brain tumor and will not be with us much longer. Her writing was her main way of dealing with her illness over the last eight years.        Peter

I did because I had the option to do, not the obligation, and I love it.  —Tiochan

 

Thank you letters from the Internet Archive to our donors, mailed with vintage stamps.

When your write to us, we like to write back.  So if you find a letter with lots of beautiful stamps in your mailbox, you’ll know who it is from. Although we offer millions of free digital books and billions of Web pages throughout time, at the Internet Archive, we still appreciate a finely crafted 15 cent stamp.

And if you find our services useful, I hope you will make a donation and send us your own stories.  Thank you.

 

Archiving as Activism: Environmental Justice in the Trump Era

By the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative

In November 2016, the U.S. elected a new president who had sworn to roll back important environmental protections, dismantle the EPA, and who had once called climate change a “hoax.” In the context of warming global temperatures, rising tides, and oil pipeline battles, a dozen colleagues at universities and nonprofits across the country got together online, and decided to do something. We were concerned about the continued existence of federal environmental agencies—particularly in their abilities to protect the most vulnerable among us—as well as the preservation and accessibility of important environmental and climate data. More broadly, we were concerned with the collective investment in public research and agencies.

From our initial email we grew into the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (pronounced “edgy”), today a North American-wide network that includes 175 members from more than 30 different academic institutions, 10 nonprofits, and caring and committed volunteers who come from a broad spectrum of work and life backgrounds. Our work has included crowd-sourced archiving federal environmental datasets, monitoring and reporting on changes to federal environmental agency websites, and interviewing employees at EPA and OSHA. Major news outlets have reported on us, from the Washington Post to CNN to the New York Times, and we have contributed to and helped shape an ongoing, national discussion on the value of federal environmental protections, and the need for accessible and accountable data infrastructures and publicly-engaged forms of data stewardship.

DataRescue event in San Francisco in February 2017. Photo by Jamie Lyons.

So much of what we have been able to accomplish over the past two years is enabled by the Internet Archive, and in particular the Wayback Machine. For example, our first event in December 2016 sought to archive EPA websites, prior to Trump’s inauguration, by nominating key pages and datasets for inclusion in the Wayback Machine. This project grew over the subsequent 5 months, as over 49 DataRescue events were held across the country, and over 63,000 web pages from environmental agencies like EPA, NOAA, NASA, and OSHA were nominated to the archive. The DataRescue project ended in June 2017, but not before raising important questions about the politics of data accessibility and stewardship.

Through DataRescue we began partnering with the Internet Archive, which has become essential in another EDGI project: tracking ongoing changes at federal agency websites. Initially using a fee-based software program, Versionista, to crawl government web pages (currently crawling 42,000 URLs), we have been able to locate and report on the removal or alteration of web content on climate, non-renewable energy sources, and important environmental treaties. This kind of work increasingly relies on the Wayback Machine, and our reports systematically include references and screenshots from it. In our commitment to building participatory and responsive civic technologies and data infrastructure (partly inspired by the Internet Archive), we also developed our own web monitoring software, called Scanner, that is free and open-source, and which we plan to turn into a public platform. We are partnering with the Internet Archive to develop its functionality.

Example of screenshot comparisons (using Versionista) on the EPA website, where references to “climate change” have been deleted.

Let us end with a few words about why this work, and our partnership with the Internet Archive, is so important.

Our current federal records laws are outdated—they do not require online publication or webpage preservation, even as online research and access today is the norm (and the expectation).

Many of us who work with vulnerable communities on environmental justice issues have seen how access to online state environmental data is essential for social groups seeking to learn about and document environmental harms in their community. Data access is a justice issue.

Beyond mere access, we need creative, participatory, community-based, transparent, accountable, and justice-oriented data infrastructures, and new communities of data practice and care. We need these not only to enable government and industry accountability, but to help usher in a better, more just world. The Internet Archive’s commitment to participatory archiving, archiving vulnerable content, and free access, has both inspired and enabled EDGI’s work, and we are glad to partner with the Internet Archive to continue building this important data ecology and community of practice.

–Lindsey Dillon & EDGI

Lindsey Dillon is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the
University of California, Santa Cruz. She is one of the founding members of EDGI.

Let’s Celebrate: Building A Better Web!

White Tie Optional: the stylish Kyle Courtney & Hannah Scates Kettler enjoy Internet Archive’s 2017 Annual Bash.

IA’s Director of Media, Alexis Rossi, sports the most memorable hat of 2017’s Bash.

Once a year, the Internet Archive’s community pulls out its fancy hats, quaffs a cocktail or two, and celebrates the latest breakthroughs in building a better web together. Our goal: to bring you knowledge in all its many forms that is richer, deeper, more trustworthy and openly accessible on the Web. Knowledge that will fuel innovation and understanding for generations to come.  So won’t you join us?  Come to Building A Better Web: The Internet Archive’s Annual Bash, Wednesday, October 3 from 5-10 p.m. at our headquarters in San Francisco.  Tickets start at $15 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Four arms are better than one? The special turntable used in digitizing 78 rpm records.

First order of business: come at 5 PM for taco trucks, cocktails and hands-on demonstrations of how to digitize a rare book, play a virtual reality game, or explore the newest features of the Wayback Machine.  Be sure to grab a library card and get it stamped at each demo station: at the end of the evening we’ll award you with an IA-themed prize.

San Francisco muralist, Ju Young Ku will be painting a new work while the party bubbles around him.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the amazing creativity of muralist Ju Young Ku as he paints a new library-themed scene before your very eyes. Before the night is over, you can take photos in front of his latest work. Be sure to get tattooed (temporarily) with a GeoCities GIF image from the 90s and groove to a 78 rpm mix from our DJ during the dinner hour.

IA’s Mek (Michael Karpeles) shows off experiments from Archive Lab.

Next up: head inside to learn more about the Internet Archive’s latest experiments.  And be sure to find the gallery of works by the Internet Archive’s Artists-in-Residence, including the mind-tripping installation by artist Chris Sollars. He sampled psychedelic screensavers, live recordings of the Grateful Dead, and psychotropic literature from the Internet Archive’s digital vaults to create a commentary on the nexus between drug culture and early tech culture from the 80s and 90s. 

Grab a grassy spot and contemplate Chris Sollars’ installation on display.

At 7 PM head upstairs to the Great Room for an hour-long presentation of the coolest new tools and mind-boggling new collections of 2018.  From the great works of Tibetan Buddhism to 12,000 free audiobooks on your mobile phone, we’ll unveil the latest and greatest breakthroughs of the year.

And don’t go home yet!  At 8 PM we’ll head outside for dessert, gift giveaways, and dancing to the vinyl playlist of DJ Phast Phreddie.  It’s a party with a purpose: to celebrate the open, creative, sharing community of the Web–a Web we’re working hard to make better each and every day.

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

 

Dancing anyone?  We’ll end the evening with ice cream and great music.

 

 

Are you Ready? Decentralized Web Summit 2018 is almost here

They are coming from Helsinki and Tokyo, Berlin and Niteroi, Brazil.  We’ve invited archivists and activists, policy wonks and protocol builders to join us at the Internet Archive and SF Mint for the Decentralized Web Summit, July 31-August 2, 2018.  This three-day event is for anyone interested in building the Web we want—and the Web we deserve.

The full schedule is now available here.  And with 140+ sessions spanning six tracks, there promises to be a rich mix of conversations happening in every corner of the historic SF Mint.

“There’ll be coders. There’s going to be lawyers and policymakers. There are humanitarians. There’s diverse voices from all over the world, coming together to try to be part of the discussion,” explained Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, the organization organizing the Summit. “So it’s not just about locking a bunch of coders in a room, and saying ‘Gosh, what do they have for us now?’ It’s ‘let’s do this in the open. Let’s go and make it so that people can participate and be part of this.’”

If the Decentralized Web Summit of 2016 was a call to action, this year’s event is a demonstration of how far we’ve come in the last two years.  There is now working code to test, new global regulations to consider, and the realization that it is time to grapple with real world applications and challenges.

“I am so excited for the Decentralized Web Summit. I want to have real, and maybe sometimes hard, conversations about the implications of the technology that we’re all experimenting with now,” said Danielle Robinson, Co-Executive Director of Code for Science and Society, stewards of the DAT Project. “I want to bring people to the table who weren’t at the table two years ago at the last event, and make sure that new voices in the community have the space to speak, and the support to talk about what’s important to them. So I’m looking forward to a big, diverse and exciting event.”

Highlights include:

  • Jennifer Granick of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, will deliver a keynote, “The End of the Internet as we knew it, and What Happens Next.”
  • Learn how to build your own P-2-P website on Beaker Browser with no server!
  • Enter our decentralized virtual world, where VR meets the browser and your virtual media stays in your hands.
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee will unveil his latest innovations with SOLID, the project that allows users to store and maintain control of their own data.
  • Experience demos of the latest breakthroughs in Decentralized Identity.
  • Hear the Stories from the Field from those working with partners to create decentralized tools in remote regions of the world.
  • Meet the leaders of 70+ Decentralized projects in the Opening Night Science Fair, where you can have one-on-one conversations with the innovators.
  • Explore how decentralizing social networks may be challenged by current and proposed regulations, and how we can influence those policies before they become law.
  • Hear from tech leaders grappling with everyday issues of governance: how do we all prevent the DWeb from becoming centralized all over again?
  • Experience the Secrets Exhibit in the vaults of the Mint, and conversations with Whitfield Diffie, the creator of modern public-private key cryptography.
  • And we haven’t forgotten–the Web should be fun!  So we’ve commissioned famed Defcon cryptographer and puzzle master, Ryan Clarke, and artist Mar Williams to create six paintings, each holding the pieces of a deviously difficult puzzle for you to solve.  The winners will receive OMG, ETH and ZEC coins to donate to charity.

So get ready for hands-on learning, probing conversations, new allies to meet, and yes, tons of fun!

Six deviously difficult cryptographic puzzles will be hidden in these paintings, ready for you to unlock.

Decentralized Web FAQ

Baffled by blockchain? Decentralization left you dazed and confused?  We’ve answered some frequently asked questions to help you make sense of this new area of technology.

Q:  Why create a Decentralized Web?

A:  The way we code the Web shapes how we live our lives online.  Ideally, that code should protect user privacy, freedom of expression and universal access to all knowledge.  Instead, centralized points of control make it easier for governments that are so inclined to censor and conduct surveillance, and for private companies to collect, share and monetize more personal information than many users would like.

A goal in creating a Decentralized Web is to reduce or eliminate such centralized points of control. That way, too, if any player drops out, the system still works. Such a system could better help protect user privacy, ensure reliable access, and even make it possible for users to buy and sell directly, without having to go through websites that now serve as middlemen, and collect user data in the process.

Q:  So how do you build an alternative? What are the components of a Decentralized Web?

A:  A new Decentralized Web requires a decentralized way to store and retrieve the files that make up websites, decentralized log-ins so users can interact, and a peer-to-peer payment system.  A distributed authentication system (proving you are who you say you are) could end the need for centralized usernames and passwords. Public key encryption could protect privacy, so users could have more confidence they weren’t being spied on.  Decentralized databases could allow information to ‘live’ in many different places, so information can’t easily be blocked or erased. The Decentralized Web should also have a time axis, making past versions of the Web accessible, similar to what the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine does now.

Q:  Why does it matter?

A:  Online activities are now an important part of life for much of the world’s population. The original vision of the World Wide Web was to empower users, but many users now complain that too much power and user data is concentrated in the hands of too few corporate and government players, making it easier to conduct warrantless surveillance, feed the public disinformation and impose censorship.  It also makes it possible for state-sponsored or criminal hackers to scoop up personal data and passwords of millions of users at a time, and to use that information to create false identities, steal money and more. And over time, huge amounts of creative content—essays, musings, personal messages, photos, videos and other data— have disappeared when commercial entities shut down, or even when they just change their protocols. The average life of a webpage now is about 100 days before it’s changed or deleted. The Decentralized Web aims at least to mitigate, ideally to reverse or correct many of these trends, by putting control and ownership of data back in the hands of those who create it.

Q:  What is the significance of the Decentralized Web Summit? What’s the outcome you are hoping for?

 

A:  The Decentralized Web Summit, Aug. 1-2, 2018, will bring together hundreds of people interested in building a better Web. The Summit will include the creators and builders of the original Internet and World Wide Web, plus other developers of cutting-edge decentralized protocols and representatives of civil society, human rights and government from around the world. It’s our belief that technology alone cannot change society; it takes laws, policies, market forces, and the right set of values to make meaningful change. So we are convening people from many sectors to consider how to build the Web we want, and the Web we deserve.

This is the second installment; the first Decentralized Web Summit was produced by and held at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, June 7-9, 2016.

“The first Decentralized Web Summit was basically a ‘Hey! Did you know this is possible?’  It was a call to action,” says Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. “The idea now is to try to get some coordinated effort to move this forward. There have been great advances in this direction over the past couple of years.  People are starting to show real working code and real projects. They’re building whole technology stacks that are more decentralized, in large part fuelled by the excitement of the cryptocurrency systems. The altcoins and Bitcoins are proving that interesting and complicated systems are starting to work out there.”

Q:  Why is the Internet Archive involved?

Builders, archivists, and civil society leaders discuss building a decentralized Web at the 2016 Decentralized Web Summit at the Internet Archive.

A:  The Internet Archive has been archiving the World Wide Web for 20 years, saving different versions of webpages over time, and making them openly available to anyone using the Wayback Machine (available at https://archive.org/web/).  The Decentralized Web would build the Wayback Machine into the DWeb, and the DWeb into Wayback Machine, says Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. “The Internet Archive is dedicated to the open world,” says Kahle. “We’re only going to survive if the open world is more interesting than closed app worlds on cell phones, or a dystopian world of closed, segmented, siloed, corporately-owned little pieces of property.  We would rather see an open, next-generation Web succeed.”

Q:  What’s meant by ‘decentralized storage’?  Is the blockchain the same as the Decentralized Web?

A:  Decentralized storage means that rather than the current system under the World Wide Web, where a file exists in one physical location on a server, a file can instead be stored in multiple computers around the world, possibly with just bits of the file in each one, that all come together and get sent to a user who requests that file. BitTorrent was one early example of this.

A particular form of decentralized storage is a verification system of transactions that uses blockchain technology. One company that uses the blockchain is Ethereum, which allows multiple users to agree to store and verify data on their computers, and in exchange for doing this, they get value in a cryptocurrency called Ether. This is different from Bitcoin, says Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin because, as he said at TechCrunch SF 2017, “with Bitcoin, the protocol is in service of the currency, but with Ether and Ethereum, the currency is in service of the protocol.” That is, the currency provides an incentive for its holders to store small bits of data that can help create a Decentralized Web.

A challenge, Buterin says, is that blockchain is vastly less efficient and more costly, in terms of using energy and computing time, than centralized Web offerings, and that approaches that could make blockchain more efficient might do so at a cost to privacy or security, while efforts to increase privacy and security could further reduce efficiency. These are challenges for developers and builders of blockchain-based protocols to work out.

There are many decentralized protocols that are not based on a blockchain. But in the overheated publicity over blockchain technology, the public has started to conflate blockchains and the Decentralized Web.  The two are related, but not synonymous.

Q:  If creating a Decentralized Web is a decentralized effort, how does it all come together? Who’s in charge?

A:  Creating common coding standards would allow independent developers to go off and create their own component parts, that can fit together in various ways, like the way Lego pieces can be assembled and reassembled. This approach worked for the original World Wide Web. Common standards allowed developers to contribute, without having to go through a central authority for approval. As long as new websites or apps used the standards, they could go online and become part of the Web.

Q:  How will all a Decentralized Web change a user’s online experience? Do we all have to relearn everything? That sounds like a lot of work.

A:  The hope is that new Decentralized Web components will gradually be integrated into existing and new servers over time, so that the experience for individual users is as a smooth, if not seamless, transition to a better, safer online experience in which a user retains ownership and control of his or her own data.

Q:  How does net neutrality relate to the Decentralized Web?

A:  Net neutrality is the principle that no data online is advantaged or disadvantaged, in terms of access or flow. The closer you can get to net neutrality, the better for a Decentralized Web. It would be difficult if not impossible to have full Decentralized Web access under an authoritarian government that controls and censors the internet, and can cut off access if it sees a user trying to use Decentralized Web tools. China, in particular, has already proven adept at slowing or stopping internet connections, and blocking access to VPNs and other tools meant to circumvent surveillance and censorship. Even non-authoritarian governments may demand a backdoor to do online surveillance. The end of net neutrality in the United States could also make it possible for an internet provider to slow access to DWeb tools and websites. That’s the bad news. The good news is that increased efforts to control the Web may motivate developers and builders of the Decentralized Web to work faster and more creatively to find work-arounds.

Q:  Will the Decentralized Web replace the current Web, be a parallel, separate entity, or exist as an integrated part of the existing Web?

A:  It’s impossible to know what will happen in the long run—quite possibly some combination of all three. In the short-term, component parts of the Decentralized Web are already starting to become available online, via the existing Web, and may eventually be integrated into browsers.

Q:  How does the Decentralized Web scale up, so enough people are using it to make it more than just a niche interest of a small segment of Web users?

A:  Some revolutionary technologies are adopted quickly, others more gradually.  World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee said in his 2014 TED talk that adoption of the World Wide Web went from five percent of the world’s population in 2000, to 40 percent in 2014. The hope is that the promise of the Decentralized Web, to provide users with more control of their online experience and of their own data, and to better preserve data online, will rapidly draw people to adopt and use Decentralized Web tools.

Q:  So that’s how the Decentralized Web can make life better. How might it make life worse?

A:  Any technology is a tool, and many tools can be used constructively or destructively. The same technology that protects users from central surveillance, might also protect criminals  and hide their activity. That’s one thing. Another is, if information is stored in decentralized ways—say, with bits of each file stored on multiple computers around the world, and/or embedded in a blockchain—how do you ever truly get rid of information you no longer want to have online?  For Europeans, who have advocated for a ‘right to be forgotten,’ that could be a concern.

Q:  Aren’t big online companies going to push back against this, since it will affect their business model of monetizing their users’ data? How will social media and other companies related to online activity make a profit?

A:  Big online companies may well push back, because their current core business model of monetizing user data will not work well in a Decentralized Web environment. But it needn’t be a zero-sum game. It’s likely that other business models will emerge to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Decentralized Web, much as companies have, over time, found ways to profit from open source endeavors.  Whether existing social media and internet-related companies choose to try to obstruct the development of the Decentralized Web, or to recognize this is the kind of Web users actually want and find ways to profit within the new model, is a decision each will have to make.

Q:  Ok, sign me up. How and when can I get onto the Decentralized Web?  

A:  Some apps and programs, built on the decentralized model, are already available, and you can sign up and use them at will. But the Decentralized Web, as an envisioned ecosystem, might not be fully functional and integrated for another five or ten years. Remember how it felt to use the early World Wide Web? Apps and features came and went. Some of it was buggy, and some of it was revelatory, and users helped developers figure out what needed to happen, and how it could better come together. Expect another era like that, building on what we’ve already learned, to create a better Web for everybody.

Still have questions?  Visit this page to see more quotes from key Decentralized Web players.

Now you may be ready to sign up for the Decentralized Web Summit 2018:  Global Visions/Working Code.

More questions still? Contact Dwebsummit@archive.org.

 

SAVE THE DATE: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

In 2016, an early group of builders, policymakers, journalists and archivists gathered at the Internet Archive for the first Decentralized Web Summit to “Lock the Web Open” for good. A lot has happened since then! Today more than ever before, we understand that the current Web is not private, secure, reliable or free from censorship. By distributing data, processing and hosting across millions of computers worldwide with no centralized control, a new “decentralized” web can remain open, empowering users to better manage and protect their own personal data.

Today decentralized web technologies are expanding every day. Join us for the Decentralized Web Summit 2018: Global Visions/Working Code on July 31-August 2 in San Francisco. Our goal is to bring the builders, policymakers and the global community members who will use the Decentralized Web together to explore the visions, values and working code needed. What could it look like at scale? How can people around the world use and benefit from these technologies? What code is working and what is still missing? What do we need to collaborate on in the future?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee explains his new project, SOLID, at the Internet Archive in 2016.

At the Decentralized Web Summit 2018, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, will share his latest work on the decentralized project, SOLID.  Internet creator and Google Internet Evangelist, Vint Cerf, Mozilla Board Chair, Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive Digital Librarian, Brewster KahleIPFS Founder, Juan Benet, and the leaders of the non-profit DAT Project will be among the community of builders sharing their work in this quickly evolving ecosystem.

Organized by the Internet Archive and Aspiration, our goal is to align the values of the Open Web with principles of decentralization. To bring together global communities to co-create infrastructure and tools we can trust. To write code that supports privacy, security, self-sovereign data and digital memory. Intrigued? Sign up for more information.  Be the first to hear when registration officially opens.

MIT’s Nicola Greco and Mozilla Board Chair, Mitchell Baker, at the 2016 Decentralized Web Summit at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.