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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”