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First POST: Clues

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 9 2015


  • Doc Searls and David Weinberger, two of the web's best thinkers, have updated The Cluetrain Manifesto, a seminal book they co-authored in 2000 along with Chris Locke and Rick Levine. Their 121 "New Clues" are well worth studying. A few of my favorites:

    2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.
    9. The Internet is no-thing at all. At its base the Internet is a set of agreements, which the geeky among us (long may their names be hallowed) call "protocols," but which we might, in the temper of the day, call "commandments."
    12. There has not been a tool with such a general purpose since language.

    For those of us with longish memories, one thing that is so notable about Doc and David's new clues is how much they are framed around a renewed defense and delight in the Internet itself. In the original version "markets are conversations" was the touchstone of their first 95 Theses. That trenchant phrase doesn't arise until clue 52 in this version.

  • Doc and David address many of our common worries about the devolution of the Internet's promise, touching on net neutrality, walled gardens and apps, the "weaponization" of social media, homophily, native advertising (aka "fake fucking news"), and privacy. And they end with some wonderful, poetic calls to action. The one topic I think they underplay is the Internet's impact on our attention and ability to come together in positive coordination. We need to get past being good at "Stop."

  • Another long-read for the weekend: How to combat online harassment without damaging free speech or victimizing people who have less power or hold unpopular views? Nadia Kayyali and Danny O'Brien offer a nuanced set of answers explaining the Electronic Frontier Foundation's approach to this thicket. Among their insights: eliminating online anonymity doesn't reduce harassment, and those facing abuse need strong protections for their own anonymous speech. More: to make a real difference, give users more tools for defending themselves from harassment. Bookmark this one.

  • Related: EFF's new mobile app is Android-only because Apple's developer agreement contains terms the group says are "outrageous" and "bad for developers and users alike," Techcrunch's Sarah Perez reports.

  • Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, is reintroducing the CISPA bill today, hoping to capitalize on renewed cybersecurity fears, Cory Bennett of The Hill reports.

  • Related: The head of Britain's MI5, Andrew Parker, is calling for more surveillance powers in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Ewen MacAskill reports for The Guardian.

  • CityCamps are happening this weekend in San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland and Chattanooga, organized by Code for America brigades, and Jason Shueh previews their efforts to nurture local civic tech for