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PDF12: Sharing More Details on the Main Conference Program

BY Chris Wong | Thursday, May 17 2012

With less than a month before this year's Personal Democracy Forum, we're getting very close to finalizing our program. We wanted to take some time, however, to share some more details as the program comes together.

As you know, our theme this year is The Internet's New Political Power, and we have a number of great speakers whose talks will go to the heart of an emerging new world. After all, while we've known for a long time that the Internet was enabling all kinds of new political forces, what we didn't know, until recently, was whether the Internet itself could be a major political cause with its constituency. So, we're kicking off this year's conference with a conversation between Personal Democracy Media Founder Andrew Rasiej and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who together led the fight to oppose the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Their conversation will explore the Internet's new political power in Congress from the perspective of those on the Hill.

Speakers on Day 1 of this year's PDF will continue to examine our theme from a number of perspectives throughout the day. Our first set of speakers will consider whether there is in fact a new political power centering around the Internet. This sub-theme, "New Political Power? Views from Outside Congress," asks us to consider the provenance of this new power and where it can take us. Speakers will also ask some hard questions about whether this is all for the good. We'll then turn our attention towards "The Internet's Power Overseas," spotlighting a group of speakers from places like Tunisia, Germany, Romania and Israel who are at the center of net-powered efforts to reboot their countries. After lunch and two rounds of breakout sessions, we'll close out Day 1, with a look towards "Reshaping the Relationship Between Government and the People," featuring talks from a wide spectrum of individuals who are working to open up government and make it more responsive and effective. We'll end with two views, one from the right and one from the left, on the kind of net-inspired political synthesis that may be coming.

Day 2 will kickoff with a group of speakers who are "Pushing the Edge of the Possible" through the development and use of innovative and disruptive technologies that exemplify the potential of a power that we've only begun to see. From there, we'll turn once again to international issues, this time with a specific eye towards "Internet Freedom in China and Russia" and speakers who represent movements in those countries that are using the web to work for change. Then we'll turn back toward our own shores, with speakers looking at "Power Shifts and Shifting Power in 2012 and Beyond," a wide-ranging collection of talks from people who aren't just shaking things up in this election year, but whose work and insights will have significant and long lasting effects on the balance of power as we march towards realizing the potential of the Internet public. After another two rounds of breakout sessions, we'll conclude this year's PDF in grand fashion with some provocations and daring proposals; our closing plenary on "Sex, Race, Power and Revolutions" will feature speakers who are at the forefront of new and exciting issues on the Internet frontier.

This year's event will also feature a plethora of the great breakout sessions you've grown accustomed to at PDF over the last nine years. Panels and discussions with explore topics like We Government, the latest strategies for effective online organizing and campaigning, and how to to make Internet freedom a reality. And, of course, we'll dive deeper into how tech is affecting and reshaping the politics of 2012.

One major addition to PDF this year is the launch of PDF: Applied, an invitation only two-day preconference workshop/hackathon. PDF: Applied will bring together leading civic "hackers" with practitioners in government and NGOs to build tools that enhance civic life through technology driven innovation. The best solutions proposed at the hackathon will be demoing their innovations on stage at PDF throughout the conference. For more info on PDF: Applied, go here.

We'd also like to remind you that Advance registration to PDF ends Friday, May 18, which means that now is your last chance to save $100 on the price of admission to see all of the great things we have in store for you. For registration, general conference info, and a list of our speakers, visit the conference website here. We look forward to seeing you next month!