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X-Lab Prepares for Tech Policy Battles in the Far Future, Three Years Off

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, May 13 2014

Sascha Meinrath, thinking about the future, presumably. Source: Peretz Pertansky, Wikimedia Commons

For the past seven years Sascha Meinrath and his team at the New America Foundation have made the Open Technology Institute a force for promoting a more open, accessible internet. He has informed internet policy, and built innovative tools, like the Commotion mesh network. He has also found that much of the work of being a tech policy guru comes in reacting to crises–from Snowden’s leaks to the potential death of net neutrality. “Bad things happen and then we leap into action and do the best we can,” he says. “Then all of the sudden everyone is like ‘Oh my god. This is so horrendously bad.’ And then we’re trying to fix what’s clearly broken.” To set the tech policy agenda rather than react to it, Meinrath is starting up a new program under the New America foundation called X-Lab. Read More

First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

BYO Mesh Network: Commotion 1.0 Toolkit Released For New Year

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, January 2 2014

Commotion software is both smaller and so much bigger than a suitcase. (Flickr/Lasse Christensen)

Just before the new year, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute launched Commotion 1.0, a mesh networking toolkit more than 12 years in the making, also (and misleadingly) known as “Internet in a suitcase.” The toolkit makes it possible for communities to build their own mesh communication networks, which can be used as an Intranet or as a way of distributing access to the Internet without using traditional infrastructure.

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MileMesh Looks to Make Hoboken a Beacon for U.S. Mesh Networks

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Hoboken, jewel of the Hudson. Credit: Flickr http://bit.ly/IFB50v

When Hurricane Sandy slammed the northeast in October of 2012, it was particularly unkind to the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. The storm knocked out power throughout most of the city for a week. Many of the town’s 50,000 residents crowded two blocks spared from the outage by a separate grid to juice up their phones and computers from power strips slung out of residents' front doors onto their stoops. Even after power returned, Internet and mobile service remained unreliable. Now a group of volunteers are trying to build out a mesh network that would be more resilient. “We’re not starting a company, we’re not starting a project,” says Anthony Townsend, who has experience providing public wifi hotspots through his work with NYCwireless, “we’re trying to start a movement.” Read More

#PDF12: The Radical Power of the Internet Public

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, June 13 2012

Chris Soghoian at Personal Democracy Forum 2012. Photo: Esty Stein / PDM

Tuesday morning at PDF12, there were five quick keynote talks in a row that could serve as a 50-minute primer on the radical power of the Internet public to change the world, why it's so important to nurture that public, where some of the threats to the Internet are coming from, and how people are routing around them to build a future "intranet" that might well stand free from governmental and corporate control. They were, in order, from Chris Soghoian, Dave Parry, Peter Fein, Sascha Meinrath and Deanna Zandt. You can watch them in order below. Read More