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First POST: Commandeered

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 13 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribersThe inside story of how Edward Snowden won Laura Poitras' trust; reconciling open data with the NSA scandal; the new Pew research on where people go to get their news; and much, much more. Read More

The Internet Association Wants To Crowdsource Its Lobbying

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, July 15 2013

The Internet Association's new Web site wants to engage Internet users in the policy process

The Internet Association on Monday launched a new online hub that its staff hope will open up the Beltway policymaking process to the public -- or at least encourage Internet companies' users to weigh in more often, and ... Read More

Mike Masnick: Accidental Activist to Some, "Demagogue" to Others

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 10 2012

Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Techdirt and Floor64, Photo: Flickr/Dennis Yang

Mike Masnick runs Techdirt.com, one of the most popular hubs on the web for news and opinion about innovation policy and the Internet. His uncompromising views on copyright have made him one of the most controversial and widely-read voices in a sprawling international conversation about the future of creative industry. Read More

Editorial: How @Google And Friends Can Build Local Internet Power

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 26 2012

Poster from Google's Take Action page against SOPA/PIPA

Just over two months ago, somewhere around 10 million people emailed, called, faxed and otherwise cajoled their Members of Congress to express their opposition to the Stop Online Privacy (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) Acts. An approximated 115,000 websites either went "dark" or joined the campaign in related ways, with Google, Wikipedia, Firefox, Wordpress, and Tumblr all playing leading roles. In two days, legislation that had been moving through Congress like a dose of salts was withdrawn from consideration, with dozens of Members suddenly announcing their opposition, including many who had originally supported the bills. The Internet had won, at least this once. Micah Sifry asks, now what? He writes: "We urgently need a conversation about one other huge piece of the puzzle: What's going to happen with all those email addresses Google and the other anti-SOPA groups collected from people who responded to their call to action on January 18th?" Read More

With Newfound Influence, Will Internet Organizers Hack Politics As Usual?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 30 2012

MPAA Chief Chris Dodd should perhaps talk to the public via Reddit, rather than the "tech industry." Photo: Flickr/Wil Wheaton

The recent mass protests both online and off against anti-piracy legislation moving through Congress provided a tantalizing hint of the possibilities that can emerge when the powerful companies of Silicon Valley combine forces with grassroots organizers empowered with the tools of the web. Individuals from the usually disparate worlds of non-profits, venture capital, politics and programming and elsewhere united briefly for one day, took direction from more experienced activists and used the tools at their disposal to pull whatever levers they could to get their message across to legislators. Will the extraordinary success of the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) change the one industry that has resisted the disruptive influence of the internet, the industry of lobbyists on K-Street? Or will the moment pass — to be regarded in history as quirky exception to the general rule in which lobbyists almost always emerge triumphant? Read More