Why I Love Helping Back up the Public Web

Over the past couple of years the Wayback Machine has been written about, or referenced, by journalists, researchers, academics and students in more than a thousand published news articles.

This week a CNN article used the Wayback Machine to bring to light writings of a public figure, that otherwise would have been lost, in a relevant and current context. Reading the article made me the happiest about leading the Wayback Machine project since I started 3 years ago.

I think it is fair to say that this article, written by Andrew Kaczynski, @KFILE of CNN, makes the case stronger, and more clearly, than any other, of the importance of cultural memory in general, and the Wayback Machine in particular, in the role of supporting a healthy political discourse and helping to hold those in power accountable.

The article cites two columns of now Vice President Mike Pence that were posted about 17 years ago and that can be read via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine here and here. However they return a 404 (page not found) error when accessed via the “Live Web” here and here, and have been gone from the live web for more than a decade.

The fruits of the Wayback Machine are the result of thousands of people over the past 20 years, working, volunteering and otherwise contributing to the Internet Archive’s efforts to preserve our cultural heritage and helping to make the web more useful and reliable.

If it were not for the Wayback Machine, the cogent and earnest writings of a columnist who became Vice President of the United States might not be available for us to reflect on, and benefit from, today.

To all those who value journalism, memory, context and perspectives, supporting the Internet Archive’s mission of Universal Access to All Knowledge is necessary now more than ever in our digital age.

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Puzzling Pictures at the Decentralized Web

Normally, I’m Jason Scott, Free-Range Archivist at the Internet Archive… but at the quickly-approaching Decentralized Web Summit being hosted at the San Francisco Mint, I’ll be your puzzle emcee overseeing a fun event and contest that takes place all over the building.

Called “Puzzling Pictures”, we will have six paintings hung up on the walls. It’s fun enough to find where we hung them, but contained within these paintings will be multiple layers of puzzles, leading to destinations online at the Archive, and ultimately, we will have a chosen winner of the top-level puzzle. This winner will have a charitable donation of cryptocurrency donated in their name to the charity of their choice.

The puzzle was designed by LoSTBoy (aka Ryan Clarke), who has designed contests for the DEF CON hacking conference and the Mr. Robot television show; the paintings are done by international lowbrow contemporary artist, Mar Williams. Mar will be attending the conference and will be auctioning off the paintings in a silent auction throughout the event.

It’s a challenging set of puzzles, so be sure to seek me out (I’ll be in a top hat and some crazy outfits) to work on them, and have fun!

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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.

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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.

 

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Archive hosts Decentralized Web Meet-Up

On June 13, nearly a hundred developers, technologists and decentralized web enthusiasts met up at the Internet Archive to learn from each other and share their progress towards building towards a new, decentralized web. Fueled by pizza and beer, the conversation segued into a series of presentations by six keynote speakers interspersed with 1-minute lightning talks by eager participants. Filled with both vigor and technical nuance, the demos provided a sneak peek into next month’s Decentralized Web Summit.

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle set the tone by welcoming all to the Archive and defining the web as a “radical sharing experiment” that has encountered major issues of privacy, surveillance and manipulation. He challenged the audience with the toughest questions, asking What if we can evolve the Web? What if we can bake our core principles into the Web? What if we can lock the Web open? What if we can build a Decentralized Web?” Brewster’s emphasis on the DWeb’s sharing and collaborative creative process echoed throughout the rest of the night.

Part of the network map of the Decentralized Web ecosystem by the Digital Life Collective’s Christina Bowen.

The Digital Life Collective’s co-founder and knowledge ecologist Christina Bowen was the first keynote speaker up, presenting an interactive map of the decentralized web ecosystem. Sortable by maturity, platforms and other characteristics, the map is a transformational tool for understanding the progress of the DWeb and gaining lateral awareness of our peers. To add your organization to the map, please fill out this survey and check out the map’s progress here!

Feross Aboukhadijeh, Founder of WebTorrent, was up next, informing us about the progress of WebTorrents since the last DWeb Summit in 2016. To much excitement, he explored how P2P torrenting ideas can be integrated into web browsers while also presenting the success of WebTorrent’s desktop application. Feross continually focused on the community aspect of WebTorrent and presented features made by other members. Check out his slides.

Arkadiy Kukarkin of Protocol Labs, the parent organization of IPFS, Filecoin and many other projects, then proceeded to present the recent research they have been conducting, in particular demoing Peerpad, a P2P collaborative editing tool. Other topics presented touched upon IPFS gateways and linking the IPFS network. For more research see here.

The Internet Archive’s Lead for Decentralized technologiesMitra Ardron, presented his progress making the Archive more decentralized, elaborating on how the Archive’s decentralized platforms allows users make copies and use IPFS and WebTorrent links when putting out metadata. Check out for yourself here !

Joachim Lohkamp, founder of Jolocom followed by asking the audience a question: “how many account log-ins do we have online?” With the answer in the hundreds, Joachim presented the case for self-sovereign digital identity to control our online presence and security in a world where we have hundreds of accounts, passwords, and companies holding bits and pieces of our personal identities. Check out Joachim’s open source project.

Mozilla’s Irakli Gozalishvili, Dietrich Ayala and Tantek Çelik presented their work on browser support for decentralized web projects! These new APIs for decentralized development received thunderous applause, especially from the other protocol teams. The overall sense of collaboration and mutual support between groups was best demonstrated in IndieWeb member, Tantek’s call for longevity, for building a sustainable web together.

The lightning talks included an array of projects, from Johannes Ernst’s elucidation on the need for self-hosting and home servers to Devon James’s Open Index Protocol to Christopher Allen’s W3C credentials community. These talks demonstrated the vigor and liveliness of the space, both from the early pioneers and eager new faces.

This was an exciting prologue to what is panning out to be a groundbreaking conference on August 1st and 2nd. To sign up for the Decentralized Web Summit, please visit the conference website !

Video of the event and links towards all the speakers is available here https://archive.org/details/DWebMeetUp

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Library Coalition Letter on Music Copyright Bills

On Monday, the Internet Archive joined a coalition of the library and archives community, including the Society of American Archivists, The Archive of Contemporary Music, the Music Library Association, and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections among others, in sending a letter to Senate leadership addressing two pieces of legislation, each seeking to improve the confusing world of music copyright law. We’ve blogged about each of these bills here before, one is known as the CLASSICS Act and the other as the ACCESS to Recordings Act.

Although both bills seek to remedy the situation for older sound recordings from before 1972, which are not protected by federal copyright law but rather only by a patchwork of state laws, the CLASSICS Act goes about doing so in a one-sided manner that would give away valuable rights to big record labels and leave libraries and the public out. Although attempts are apparently being made in closed-door negotiations to even out the balance, the Internet Archive and the rest of the coalition believe that the CLASSICS Act is beyond fixing, as articulated in detail on our letter, and should be rejected by Congress.

The ACCESS to Recordings Act, on the other hand, would harmonize older sound recordings with every other type of work protected under copyright law, granting rights to performers and the full set of exceptions and limitations, including a robust public domain, allowing researchers, historians and music fans alike to access our cultural heritage. The coalition therefore supports the ACCESS Act as the correct and more sensible path forward on bringing pre-1972 sound recordings under federal copyright protection.

If you care about this issue, the best thing you can do now is pick up the phone and call your own Senators to let them know you oppose the CLASSICS Act and support the ACCESS to Recordings Act. You can also go to EFF’s website to take action opposing CLASSICS and you can go the Public Knowledge’s website to support ACCESS.

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With ShapeShift, Now You Can Donate Your Favorite Altcoin

For all of our donors who prefer Clams to Monero, Ripple over Dash, Dogecoin over Litecoin or vice versa, do we have good news for each and every one of you. The Internet Archive now accepts donations in them all!

We’ve completely redesigned our cryptocurrency donations page to include a ShapeShift ‘Shifty button’ allowing you to choose from over 30 tokens and altcoins and easily make a contribution.

With ShapeShift, you can make a donation in your favorite coin and it magically converts it to the equivalent value in Bitcoin, sending it to the Internet Archive’s public Bitcoin address.

Once you select your coin of choice, ShapeShift will provide a QR code / target address to send your donation. You can set a return coin address to get a refund in the unlikely event that the transaction gets interrupted, and enter your email address to receive a summary of your shifted donation. ShapeShift updates its token choices often, so if your favorite coin isn’t listed, it very well could be soon.

We still happily accept donations in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Zcash – the addresses and QR codes are listed on the newly redesigned site.

As a long-time supporter of the cryptocurrency movement — our community has been donating Bitcoin since 2011 — we have long believed that philanthropy can and should have a place in this evolving peer-to-peer monetary system. We have done what we can to support the evolution of decentralized technologies, and we are thrilled this community is supporting us in the same way. Many thanks to the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash communities. We hope this Shifty button will help bring to light and further support the various tokens in the ecosystem.

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REGISTER NOW: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

There’s a special feeling at the start of something new. Excitement.  Hope. That glimmer of what might be.

We felt it in 2016 at the Internet Archive’s first Decentralized Web Summit.  Two years later, we’re gathering to celebrate the working code that hints at the true potential of the Decentralized Web. Register here to secure your spot at the Decentralized Web Summit: Global Visions/Working Code, July 31-August 2.  You’ll be joining the founders and builders of decentralized protocols from around the world, along with lawyers, human rights activists, artists, and journalists. We’re all united by one thing—the desire for a Web that is more private, secure, censorship-resistant, and open—this time for good.

Get Your Tickets Here

WHAT TO EXPECT:  We’ll kick off on Tuesday night, July 31st at 6 PM with an Opening Party at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. It’s your chance to learn first-hand about the latest Dweb technologies at our Science Fair in one-on-one conversations with the top builders in the field.

Tim Berners-Lee (left) and Cory Doctorow debate at the 2016 Decentralized Web Summit.

Then, Wednesday-Thursday, August 1-2nd, 8 AM-6 PM, we move to the historic San Francisco Mint for a multi-track Summit with hands-on workshops, talks, art/tech installations, and events exploring how law, policy and markets are impacting the technology. Joseph Poon, founder of the Lightning Network, will unveil a game-changing new crypto-economic experiment that he calls “The Abundance Game.” Meanwhile, science fiction writer, Cory Doctorow, explains how “Big Tech’s Problem is Big, Not Tech,” and experts in governance, including Primavera De Filippi of Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center, explore ways to ensure that decentralized platforms remain decentralized.  At the same time, artist Taeyoon Choi will be leading workshops on the “Distributed Web of Care,” (DWC).  Choi writes: “Through collaborations with artists, engineers, social scientists and community organizers, DWC imagines distributed networks as a form of interdependence and stewardship, in critical opposition to the networks that dominate the world today.”

Kung Fu master, Young Wong, will teach Chi Gong during the DWeb Summit 2018.

At the Decentralized Web Summit we aim to exercise your head, hands and heart. Stay grounded each lunchtime with Chi Gong (Qigong) lessons in the courtyard with Kung Fu master, Young Wong. Or let the folks from Toronto Mesh teach you to run decentralized protocols Secure Scuttlebutt and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) on a mesh network of Raspberry Pis—a great example of how to share information in low- or no-bandwidth areas.

Not exhausted yet? On Friday, August 3 at 10 AM-5 PM, we’ll open the doors of the Internet Archive, inviting the first 100 ticketed guests for lunch and a tour. We’ll have tables set up for informal collaborating and hacking. Or take your lunch outside and enjoy just hanging out with pioneers of the internet and Worldwide Web.

August weather? You never know what it will be like at the Internet Archive in San Francisco’s Richmond District in the summer.

Organized by the Internet Archive, the goal of this unique conference 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. All while remembering this: the Web has always been fun!

We recommend you get your tickets now, while they last.

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The Internet Archive’s 2018 Artist in Residency Exhibition

The Internet Archive and Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present The Internet Archive’s 2018 Artist in Residence Exhibition, an exhibition organized in collaboration with the Ever Gold [Projects] as the culmination of the second year of the Internet Archive’s visual arts residency program. This year’s exhibition features work by artists Mieke Marple, Chris Sollars, and Taravat Talepasand.

Exhibition Dates and Information:

July 14 – August 11
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 14, 5-8 pm
1275 Minnesota Street First Floor Suite 105, San Francisco, California

The Internet Archive is a San Francisco based nonprofit digital library providing researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public access to more than 40 petabytes of collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books, as well as the Wayback Machine archive (an archive of almost 300 billion websites preserved over time). The Internet Archive visual arts residency is organized by Amir Saber Esfahani and Andrew McClintock, and is designed to connect emerging and mid-career artists with the archive’s collections and to show what is possible when open access to information meets the arts. The residency is one year in length during which time each artist will develop a body of work that utilizes the resources of the archive’s collections in their own practice.

Image Credit: Mieke Marple

Inspired by a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” Mieke Marple created a series of drawings loosely based on the masterwork painted by Hieronymus Bosch. By digitally checking out numerous books from the Archive’s library and using imagery contained within them to inspire her work, Marple juxtaposes beautifully painted flora with old world erotic illustrations to create her own Garden of Earthly Delights.

Image Credit: Chris Sollars

Through a series of sculptures, sounds, and video, Chris Sollars will investigate the Internet through a combination of physical and digital representations to address the absurdity of the Sisyphean task of keeping the content of one’s work and society perpetually alive. As a nod to the 1960’s Bay Area’s psychedelic and electronic explorations, Sollars will be sourcing the Internet Archive’s psychedelic screen savers, live recordings of the Grateful Dead, and psychotropic literature while utilizing “slow movement” methods of pickling and preserving for handling data.

Image Credit: Taravat Talepasand

During her residency at the Archive, Taravat Talepasand created the “Vali Mortezaie” archive in collaboration with his son Hushidar Mortezaie. The eBook collection contains vintage publications from pre-revolutionary Iran and contains magazines, propaganda posters, and advertisements that capture the lifestyle at a politically pivotal time in Iranian history. Using the newly formed archive Talepasand created a series of drawn and painted collaged miniatures.

Mieke Marple was born and raised in Palo Alto, CA, among a family of engineers in the heart of the Silicon Valley. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. She was co-owner of Night Gallery, Los Angeles, from 2011 until 2016, and has been written about by The New York Times and W Magazine, among other publications. In 2012, Marple produced the web series Feast of Burden, directed by filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko and distributed by MOCAtv. In 2014, she co-founded the benefit art auction and gala Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood LA, and remains on the organization’s advisory board. Recent exhibitions include Relocation Tarot at Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco (2018). She lives and works in San Francisco.

Chris Sollars is an artist based in San Francisco. His work subverts public space through interventions and performance. The results are documented using sculpture, photography, and video that are integrated into mixed-media installations. Sollars is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture, Mills College, Oakland, CA with awards that include a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2013 San Francisco Arts Commission: Individual Artist Commission Grant, 2007 Eureka Fellowship Award, 2007 San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Grant, 2009 Headlands Center for the Arts residency, and 2015 residency at Recology. Recent projects include White on Red at 1275 Minnesota Street (2017); Goatscapes for Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, 2017-2018); and the sculpture band skullture that plays site-specific sets on location.

Taravat Talepasand was born in 1979 in the United States to Iranian parents during the Iranian Revolution. She retained close family and artistic ties to Iran, Esfahan, where she was trained in the challenging discipline of Persian miniature painting. Paying close attention to the cultural taboos identified by distinctly different social groups, particularly those of gender, race and socioeconomic position, her work reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our “modern” society. Talepasand has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in the exhibition In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2018), Westoxicated at Zevitas Marcus Gallery (Los Angeles, 2017), and Made in Iran, Born in America at Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, 2017). She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Huffington Post.

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Proposed EU Copyright Measure Threatens the Internet

The European Union is set to vote on a copyright proposal that will require platforms hosting user-generated content to automatically scan and filter anything that their users upload (see the EU Commission’s proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive) on June 20th or 21st.

We urge the European Parliament to reject this proposal. We encourage Internet users to go to https://saveyourinternet.eu to take action.

The main purpose of Article 13 is to limit music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a “value gap” between the profits that platforms make on uploaded works, verses those the copyright holders of those works receive. However, the proposal extends far beyond music, requiring platforms to monitor every type of copyrighted work–text, images, audio, video, and even code. Article 13 would have an impact on just about everything that happens online, threatening freedom of expression, privacy, and the free flow of knowledge on the Internet.

We have discussed our concerns with the idea of automated content filters when the idea came up in US copyright conversations in the past. This law is troubling in the same ways. Requiring platforms to monitor content contradicts existing rules that create a shared responsibility between platforms and rightsholders for removal of illegal content. In doing so, the law creates incentives to remove legitimate content; it creates a a troubling “take down first, ask questions later/never” attitude to online content.

Filters are not good at understanding context, and therefore legitimate speech such as commentary, parody, or satire may be removed without any human judgment involved. Legitimate expression may be chilled in the form of overly cautious self-policing as a result. Article 13 also has no penalties for false or misleading claims, leaving the system wide open for abuse.

Further, although Article 13 is intended to prevent uploads that infringe copyright, the same technology could be required for filtering of content for compliance with other EU laws, which would compound the dangers that this measure poses for freedom of expression and privacy online. And, policymakers in other countries, including the United States, may come to view mandating content filters as an acceptable way to regulate the Internet if the EU does it first.

We urge you to take action.

[More from EFF, Public Knowledge, and Wikipedia].

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