Jérémie Zimmermann on the Internet and civil society in France [VIDEO]

When it comes to the Internet, France has followed its own path in making policies, particularly with respect to intellectual property. Those choice were highlighted at the eG8 forum, where 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy. The forum, held before the G-8 summit of global leaders, showed that online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders.

As Nancy Scola reported at techPresident, at the eG8, civil society groups restaked their claim to the ‘Net. Looking for more answers, I spoke with Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson for citizen advocacy group LaQuadrature du Net, about the Internet in France. For American Internet users, this interview should be by turns illuminating, provocative and a reminder of the freedoms we enjoy here.

Dyson at the eG8: You don’t need to be from the Internet to believe in liberty or free speech

At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy. The inaugural eG8 forum, held in Paris before the G-8 summit of global leaders, showed that online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders. As Nancy Scola reported at techPresident, at the at the eG8, civil society groups restaked their claim to the ‘Net.

Several attendees, many who had traveled from the United States, strongly questioned whether the Internet should be regulated in the ways that Sarkozy implied. The “value of internet is not just efficiency but also transparency,” tweeted Esther Dyson, “a much better regulator than government could ever be.”

I spoke further in with Dyson in an interview embedded below. What matters about the eG “is that you have a lot of people being exposed to one another and you have a lot of government people being exposed to people they don’t normally listen to,” said Dyson. “As usual, it’s not what happens up on stage, or what happens on the video: it’s what happens on the tweets, in the personal interactions, in the dinner afterwards, and in the back hall of the meeting. And that – that was positive. The world doesn’t change overnight, mostly. ”

She spoke to the concerns of civil society about eG8 recommendations: “It is sort of justified. Some of them were precanned. I actually sat down with my guy after doing my panel and changed them. I don’t think that happened with all of them. But again, the community is aroused: it’s going to make its points around this.”

Dyson also emphasized the universality of some of these concerns and what’s at stake. “You don’t need to be ‘from the Internet’ to believe in liberty or free speech.”

How are startups helping the global transparency movement? “They’re providing tools to make the data meaningful,” said Dyson. “They’re providing tools for people to share the information. They’re providing the communication tools, again, that allow from everything from Wikileaks to people communicating with reporters. Tools like your phone, connected to the Internet, so that you can record interviews not just with me but with all of the other people you talk to, upload them, people can share them, people can comment on them. That’s all technology.”

Dyson shared other thoughts on the eG8 and Internet freedom, including how entrepreneurs are changing the world through their work. Dyson also shared an insight that transcends technology:

“Even when you have a revolution, what makes the revolution works is what changes in people’s minds, and that’s what’s going on here,” said Dyson.

“The world is changing. People in government are not special. They should be as transparent as everybody else. People deserve privacy. Officials, governments, institutions, they all should be transparent. That’s new thinking, and it was being heard.”

Episode 4 of Gov 2.0 TV: Open Government News and the eG8

At At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy. The inaugural eG8 forum, held in Paris before the G-8 summit of global leaders, showed that online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders. As Nancy Scola reported at techPresident, at the at the eG8, civil society groups restaked their claim to the ‘Net.

I talked with Walter Schwabe of FusedLogic.tv about the eG8 in this week’s episode of Gov 2.0 TV, along with the news of cuts to U.S. federal open government websites. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra will shutter FedSpace and keep Data.gov up.

President Sarkozy at the eG8 Summit [VIDEO]

Today, the eG8 is considering the future of the Internet and society in Paris, in advance of the G-8 Summit. President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the summit after an introduction by Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO, Publicis Groupe, holding up the power of the Internet but emphasizing the role of the state in providing security, privacy and protection for intellectual property. Video is embedded below:

The moment that many may remember from the question and answer period that followed was when professor Jeff Jarvis asked President Sarkozy whether he’d take a “Hippocratic oath” to “first, do no harm” when making policy choices that affect the Internet.

Related coverage at the Guardian: Sarkozy opens eG8 Summit

Architecting a city as a platform [VIDEO]

The 21st century metropolis can be a platform for citizens, government and business to build upon. The vision of New York City as a data platform has been getting some traction of late as the Big Apple’s first chief digital officer, Rachel Sterne, makes the rounds on the conference circuit. In the video below, Sterne gives a talk the recent PSFK Conference where she highlights various digital initiatives that NYC has rolled out.

PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2011: Rachel Sterne from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.

During her talk, Sterne talks about “The Daily Pothole,” how NYC is tumbling, QR code technology on building permits, a NYC 311 app and using Twitter, amongst other themes.

For more on how New York City is citizensourcing smarter government, head on over to Radar.

[Hat tip: PSFK]

Todd Park and Tim O’Reilly on collaboration and healthcare [VIDEO]

What if open health data were to be harnessed to spur better healthcare decisions and catalyze the extension or creation of new businesses? That potential future exists now, in the present.

Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Heath and Human Services, has been working to unlock innovation through open health data for over a year now. On many levels, the effort is the best story in federal open data. In the video below, he talks with my publisher, Tim O’Reilly, about collaboration and innovation in the healthcare system.

PHARM FRESH: Todd Park and Tim O’Reilly Discuss How Collaboration Leads To Healthcare Innovation from Zemoga on Vimeo.

The next big event in this space on June 9 at the NIH. If you’re interested in what’s next for open health data, track this event closely.

[Hat tip: PharmFresh]

A little sweat never hurt nobody

The White House partnered with superstar musician Beyoncé Knowles and the National Association of Broadcasters on a “flash workout” that’s actually fun. First Lady Michelle Obama is using it as part of her Lets Move! campaign against child obesity.

The official dance video with Beyoncé and wide selection of teens is, in this thirtysomething correspondent’s opinion, both fun and well edited.

It says something about 2011 that the First Lady of the United States went out and danced around a bit herself.

My favorite video, by far, however, is when Beyoncé showed up and surprised students at PS/MS 161 Don Pedro Albizu Campus in New York City.

I can’t help but wish more celebrities donated their time, passion and interest to inspiring kids to get up and move more. Well played.

Taking stock of global freedom of expression on World Press Freedom Day

In 2010, only 1 in 6 people lives in countries with a free press, according to a new report on press freedom from Freedom House. There is a long road ahead to establishing and protecting freedom of expression for humanity.

This week, defenders of free expression are celebrating the progress of press freedom and recognizing the challenges that persist globally on World Press Freedom Day 2011. This is the 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration that helped to establish UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day. The United States is hosting this year’s World Press Freedom Day in Washington, D.C. at the Newseum. You can watch the livestream below and follow the conversation on Twitter on the #wpfd hashtag, both of which are embedded below.

wpfd2011 on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free


To learn more about global freedom of expression and and the organizations that protect journalists and support the collection and dissemination of news about our world, visit:

What is open government data? What is it good for? [FILM]

Open government data broadly refers to public sector records that have been made available to citizens. For a canonical resource on what makes such releases truly “open,” consult the 8 principles of open government data. Today, the Open Knowledge Foundation has released a terrific new short film entitled “#opendata” that offers expert perspectives on what open government data is and how it can be useful to society.

#opendata from Open Knowledge Foundation on Vimeo.

For more information, visit OpenGovernmentData.org. The film has already been translated into Czech, Spanish, Hungarian and Chinese. If you’d like to volunteer to translate it into another language, the makers of the film are actively seeking help.

In the broader context, The Economist‘s support for open government data remains salient today: “Public access to government figures is certain to release economic value and encourage entrepreneurship. That has already happened with weather data and with America’s GPS satellite-navigation system that was opened for full commercial use a decade ago. And many firms make a good living out of searching for or repackaging patent filings.”

In the United States, the open data story in healthcare is particularly compelling, from new mobile apps that spur better health decisions to data spurring changes in care at the Veterans Administration.

As Clive Thompson reported at Wired this month, public sector data can help fuel jobs, “shoving more public data into the commons could kick-start billions in economic activity.” In the transportation sector, for instance, transit data is open government fuel for economic growth.

Thompson focused on the story of Brightscope, where government data drives the innovation economy. “That’s because all that information becomes incredibly valuable in the hands of clever entrepreneurs,” wrote Thompson. “Pick any area of public life and you can imagine dozens of startups fueled by public data. I bet millions of parents would shell out a few bucks for an app that cleverly parsed school ratings, teacher news, test results, and the like.”