What do libraries have to do with building a better internet? How would securing certain digital rights for these traditional public interest institutions help make the internet work better for everyone?
Join Public Knowledge President CHRIS LEWIS as he facilitates a conversation on these issues and the emerging Movement for a Better Internet with library and internet policy experts LILA BAILEY (Internet Archive), KATHERINE KLOSEK (Association of Research Libraries) and BRIGITTE VÉZINA (Creative Commons).
Policies for a Better Internet: Securing Digital Rights for Libraries Thursday, December 8 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET Register now for the virtual event
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
CHRIS LEWIS is President and CEO at Public Knowledge. Prior to being elevated to President and CEO, Chris served for as PK’s Vice President from 2012 to 2019 where he led the organization’s day-to-day advocacy and political strategy on Capitol Hill and at government agencies. During that time he also served as a local elected official, serving two terms on the Alexandria City Public School Board. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Local Self Reliance and represents Public Knowledge on the Board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).
LILA BAILEY is Senior Policy Counsel for the Internet Archive. She leads the team responsible for the legal and policy strategies supporting the non-profit library’s mission to enable Universal Access to All Knowledge. Lila has spent her career as a passionate advocate of democratizing access to information, culture, and educational resources. In 2020, Public Knowledge recognized Lila’s contributions to public interest technology policy as the 17th annual winner of the IP3 award in the category of Intellectual Property. Fortune Magazine named her a “copyright champion” for her work leading the Archive’s fair use defense against four major commercial publishers in the Hachette v. Internet Archive case about digital book lending. Lila holds a JD from Berkeley Law and a BA in Philosophy from Brown University.
KATHERINE KLOSEK is the Director of Information Policy at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).As a member of the ARL Scholarship and Policy team, Katherine formulates Association positions on key information policy debates, and develops and implements advocacy strategies to advance the Association’s legal and public policy agenda in legislative, administrative, and judicial forums. Building strong partnerships with stakeholders in libraries, higher education, scholarship, and civil society, she represents the Association in outreach to policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. Serving as the staff lead to ARL’s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, Katherine helps mobilize ARL’s membership to influence government policy–making in key moments, and in responding and adapting to major legal and policy developments.
BRIGITTE VÉZINA is the Director of Policy, Open Culture, and GLAM at Creative Commons. Brigitte is passionate about all things spanning culture, arts, handicraft, traditions, fashion and, of course, copyright law and policy. She gets a kick out of tackling the fuzzy legal and policy issues that stand in the way of access, use, re-use and remix of culture, information and knowledge.
Even amidst the COVID lock down, builders of the Decentralized Web have hit new milestones with their projects this year. At our last DWeb Meetup of 2020, we heard from a dozen projects about their breakthroughs, challenges, and roadmaps for the coming year.
As with all of our DWeb Meetups, these lightning talks provided an opportunity for us to learn from others and explore potential partnerships and collaboration. We had rounds of 5 minute talks with 2 minutes of Q&A in Zoom.
Here were the speakers (and the times when they appear in the video):
Maria Bustillos, Co-Founder, Brick House Co-operative (1:00:40)
Mauve Signweaver, Agregore (1:10:12)
Tom Trowbridge, Co-founder, Fluence Labs (1:17:42)
Travis Vachon, ItMe.company (1:27:01)
Brandon Wallace, Plan Systems.org (1:35:03)
Michael Toomim, Braid (1:44:35)
Descriptions of Speakers and Their Lightning Talks
1. Dietrich Ayala, Ecosystem Lead, IPFS
Big is Small is Big: IPFS Usage, Users and Use-cases in 2020
As adoption and availability of IPFS grew in 2020, we saw it used across a broad spectrum of applications, varying widely in industry category, use-case, architecture and more. IPFS ecosystem lead Dietrich Ayala will speedrun through a sampling of these, sharing what was learned and how our users are guiding the IPFS project into 2021
It’s hard to get started building a decentralized application. Even if you’ve been building them for years, it’s hard to get them adopted. Decentralized applications operate differently than centralized ones — and we need new tools that developers and designers can use to understand how to build applications. Simply Secure is now producing a library of resources, assets, and patterns to support the design and development of better user-facing applications that are backed by decentralized architecture.
Founded in 2014, GUN is an open source cybersecurity protocol for synchronizing graph data in decentralized mesh networks. It is as easy as Firebase yet supports end-to-end encryption and uses “CRDT” algorithms instead of a Blockchain.
In 2020, GUN hit 200M+ downloads with 30M monthly active users. The project is powered by 2 full time staff, 10 part-time volunteers, and 100+ contributors.
“At the DWeb Camp in 2019 I led a brainstorming session on how we can build a cloud providing the same openness and freedoms to users and developers as open source. One year and a pandemic later, I’m excited to finally release the first step in pursuit of that vision: “ensembles”, git repositories that package open cloud services.
They are designed to be the building blocks of an open and decentralized cloud infrastructure: reproducible, relocatable and shareable. Decentralization is obtained via a notion of a persistent identity that is defined not by a network location but rather a reproducible state.”
6. Paul Frazee, Founder, Breaker Browser
Beaker Browser 1.0: Share P2P Websites
“Unless there was a disaster between my talk-submission and Thursday, then Beaker Browser 1.0 is now available! Join us for a quick overview of building and sharing peer-to-peer Websites with this newest release.”
7. Maria Bustillos, Co-Founder, Brick House Co-operative
Decorporatizing the Public Sphere
Megaplatforms from Amazon to Facebook to Penguin Random House have flattened and centralized the human imagination. Netizens know that something is draining out of our world, that there’s less variety, less brilliance, and fewer surprises, in our movies, music, and writing. But it’s not clear to most that this cultural deterioration is the result of a breakneck form of capitalism enabled by technology.
The Brick House Cooperative, launching December 8th, is addressing this problem as writers and artists, ‘from the other side’. They’re looking to join forces with technologists and others interested in decorporatizing media. Maria will also share how her previous experience with Civil, a blockchain-based media platform that aimed to fund journalism, will inform her work with The Brick House.
Agregore is a local-first web browser which aims to simplify application development across different peer-to-peer protocols while staying as minimal and customizable as possible. Through Agregore, Mauve is trying to address the issue of web browsers not having access to full peer-to-peer protocols. They want to make creating local-first apps easier by simplifying the programming interface and app distribution method.
Fluence Labs was established in 2017 by 3 founders, Dmitry Kurinskiy, Tom Trowbridge and Evgeny Ponomarev. They started in 2017 and spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with decentralized computing. Just recently, in November 2020 they launched Phase 1 of Fluence: the decentralized computing protocol that allows applications to build on each other, share data and users. They call it an open application platform.
The goal of Fluence is to enable the next wave of internet innovation by turning the competition into collaboration. Fluence creates an open alternative to proprietary platforms, enabling developers to build with confidence and be fairly compensated for usage.
Self Determination for our Digital Bodies with Solid
Centralized tech monopolies and other large corporations capture the vast majority of the value of the world’s data in 2020. In order to create the conditions necessary to return this value to the world’s users, we need new politico-technical-social institutions that give users the ability to provide and retract informed consent over the ways their data is used. itme is building the world’s first cooperatively owned and operated data union built on Tim Berners-Lee’s new Solid web standard to let users reassemble their digital bodies and capture the value of the data they create.
PLAN Systems is a technology 501(c)(3) founded in 2018 by two U.S. veterans in Austin TX., including Drew O’Meara, inventor of G-Force realtime audio reactive music visualizations. Their development effort centers on building a framework of open protocols and universally accessible interfaces designed for privacy, real time collaboration, data visualization, and secure data storage & portability. November was a critical milestone, demonstrating PLAN (pre-alpha) running on 4 major platforms across desktop and mobile devices.
Email them at info [at] plan-systems.org to learn more and get involved.
“At 2019’s Dwebcamp, a group of us found a back room and spontaneously designed a shared protocol for distributed synchronization. Tim Berners-Lee walked by, and thought it would be a great addition to the web.
We will report on what’s happened since!
We presented the protocol to the IETF’s HTTP Working Group in Montreal, and received a surprisingly enthusiastic reception. We are now building software on the protocol, to show how HTTP can be extended into a distributed shared fabric for local-first applications, users, and systems, with great debugging and tooling.”
Many of us know that the Internet is broken, so how do we build something better? On September 22, DWeb San Francisco invited a panel of experts to share their views on the most viable paths forward. The panelists included author & EFF advisor Cory Doctorow, Matrix.org co-founder Amandine Le Pape, decentralized social media researcher Jay Graber, and TechDirt’s Mike Masnick. They covered a range of approaches — including technical, regulatory, and organizational — that could bring us towards a future where our networks are more resilient, participatory, and decentralized.
Developer, and founder of Happening, Jay Graber, shared her insights on what she found hopeful about the decentralized web ecosystem, and some of the challenges that some of these protocols still need to grapple with moving forward.
Chief Operating Officer of Element and Co-founder of the Matrix.org Foundation, Amandine Le Pape, shared what she learned as Matrix built a new open standard for real-time communication from the ground up, as well as her ideas on how to counter the information silos of the big centralized platforms.
Journalist and co-founder of Techdirt, Mike Masnick, shared about the way people were realizing the need for change, and also some of his skepticism about how some proposed regulations to enforce interoperability may harm start-ups and other less-resourced projects. Masnick’s 2019 white paper, “Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech” has been an influential call to arms for the decentralized tech community.
As Mike Masnick writes:
At a time when so many proposals for how to deal with the big internet companies seem focused on spite and anger at those companies, rather than thoughtful discussions of how we get to what’s coming next, at the very least I’m hopeful that others can be inspired…to come up with their own ideas for a better, more proactive approach to a future internet.
Ultimately, that vision—building a better Internet and Web—is the North Star that the DWeb community aims for.