Blog

May 19, 2011 08:36 +0000  |  Economy Politics Technology 0

I just read a really fascinating article about a new technology called "distributed cryptocurrency" and its far-reaching implications into world economies and government policy. If you haven't heard of BitCoins yet (a form of cryptocurrency that's gaining popularity), it's basically an uncontrolled, untraceable currency that's presently being used as payment for services on some websites. The assumption is that at some point this currency will break into tangible goods (if it hasn't already) and then everything changes: taxation, welfare, markets, everything:

The author of the article, Rick Falkvinge, is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party. Far from a joke, the Pirates already have a small number of seats in the European Parliament and are gradually gaining support if for no other reason than that they actually understand concepts like peer-to-peer file sharing and distributed cryptocurrency. If you're curious at all about where we're headed, Falkvinge's blog is a good place to start.

October 02, 2010 00:50 +0000  |  Activism Anarchy Copyright Technology TED 4

Q: How long will this attack go on for?

A: There is no time frame. We will keep going until we stop being angry.

Something really fascinating is happening right now. Thousands of people, pissed off at law firms and media conglomerates for persecuting individuals with multi-million dollar file sharing lawsuits are fighting back. They're using their combined efforts to attack and take down the websites of the media bullies and their proxies (their law firms) and they're succeeding at every turn.

The tactic being used is called DDoS, which in layman's terms is essentially hammering a website from multiple targets as to render it unable to communicate properly with legitimate visitors. The result is that the site will slow to a crawl, and in some cases go completely offline as the server buckles under the load. In one of the more advanced cases, the attackers grabbed 350MB of email from one unscrupulous law firm in the UK and published it on the Pirate Bay for all the world to see.

And who are the perpetrators of these attacks? Nobody knows. They are "Anonymous", the horde of pissed-off people, tired of being persecuted for participating in our Shared Culture. More importantly though, they've gone on the offencive against those who have gotten used to treating the public like an ATM.

This is just the beginning, but it's an exciting first step. The Internet has allowed groups to collectively organise, and to do things no individual or big city law firm could ever hope to accomplish on their own. Now that the tools are becoming more ubiquitous, it's inevitable that these sorts of actions will increase both in popularity and in scale.

Imagine being able to download a tiny program to anonymously contribute the computational power of your desktop, and the bandwidth of your internet connection to help destroy Royal Dutch Shell's communication network, or hack the RIAA's VPN. The possibilities are both awesome and terrifying, but I'm confident that the anarchy it produces will lead to a more egalitarian world.

It's interesting then, that on the evening I'd set aside to write about this phenomenon, I discovered this excellent TED talk about the differences between institutional organisations and collaborative ones. The talk is about five years old, but couldn't be more relevant:

December 10, 2009 23:58 +0000  |  Science and Nature Seattle Society & Culture Technology Work [at] Play 4

Way back in September, I went on a "professional development" trip down to Seattle, Americaland for a conference called Gnomedex. The official line on the shindig is that it's all about "human circuitry", the ways in which society interacts with technology and what comes out of it all. The whole thing sounded rather interesting, so I convinced my employer to send me down there on their dime. However, as part of the deal, I had to "report back" on my experiences there... a job I've neglected 'till now. So, in an effort to fill that reporting gap, while simultaneously rejuvenating my slowly staling blog I'm going to post it all here:

General Impressions

I'll get these out of the way so you know whether you want to keep reading or not. I know that the title sounds rather interesting for the sociology-types, tech-nerds, and those that dabble in either but really Gnomedex can be summed up in one sentence: 300 people in a room for 10 hours talking about Twitter. That's it kids, if you're looking for a broader meaning or more interesting conference, Gnomedex isn't it. In fact, if you're a technical type (as I am), I'd go so far as to say that you should avoid this event like the plague.

For starters, the whole thing is a single-track, meaning that at any given time, there's one presentation happening and if it's more boring than watching paint dry, your only alternative is to step out into the hall and socialise with the herds of marketing people trading business cards and dropping names. For many though, this single-track focus is a feature and not a bug. The assumption being that everyone is collectively participating via Twitter during the presentation, people are constantly posting little 140character quips about the talk, and tagging everything #Gnomedex.

A neat experiment in social engineering to be sure... or at least it would be if the technology would cooperate. Internet connectivity was flaky at best, and when you could get online, sites aggregating the #Gnomedex hash-tag were freezing up, crashing out or just not responding. Behold: the future of monolithic service architecture. Look upon it and be unimpressed.

The conference also has a very cliquey feel to it, with the majority of people attending returning from previous years, most everyone knows everyone from the last time they were here. Much like Vancouver, Seattle seems to have a rather tight-knit community of social media junkies that really get off on this sort of thing. I'm sure it's nice for them, to have the opportunity to see in-person, those with whom they've been tweeting back and forth for a year, but for someone like myself, in from out of town to learn something... no fun.

The last general note I'll make here is that the event was a big hit with the big corporations. Micros~1 was out in force, pushing Bing like crazy, Starbucks was pushing their new instant coffee, and Amazon was trying to look all edgy by posting some Java code on a wall and asking people to attempt to "solve" it. The only problem? They didn't have anyone on-site that actually understood the code.

Talk: Thingiverse & Makerbot

The coolest part of the conference was generously scheduled at the start. The Makerbot is the future of product distribution. Here's how it works:

  1. You buy a makerbot machine
  2. You download a model file of what you want
  3. The makerbot "prints" it.

Often referred to as a "3D printer", the makerbot will make you anything you want (of a reasonable size) out of ABS plastic. Just keep it supplied with low-cost spools of plastic and feed in whatever 3D model you can find online and *poof* you have one. Potential uses include the practical: the little plastic knob on the A/C unit that broke off last week, to the functional: ornate boxes or jewellery, to the fun & crazy: a 1:1 scale model of Darth Vader's helmet, or Walt Disney's head. Really cool stuff, and lots of potential. The machines sell for just under $750/each, but are produced in batches so they might not be able to ship you one right away until they've filled the order for the batch.

I want one so hardcore.

fold.it

The premise sounded like a good idea, but someone really should have vetted the presenter. fold.it is a nifty video game that has you folding proteins. The idea is that protein folding (Wikipedia) is such a complex process that relying on computers to do the work just isn't practical. However, the scientific community just doesn't have the manpower to do it all manually. So instead, they made a video game that lets non-nerds use natural human understanding to do the job. Fold a protein and experience the joys of flashing lights, bouncing things and celebratory music. Rinse, repeat. It may sound silly, but this tactic is a growing field out there because it works.

Unfortunately, the presenter was 99% scientist, 1% people-person. The presentation was dry, boring, way, way, way over-technical and few people, if anyone in the room had any inkling as to what he was talking about.

Full video of the presentation can be found here.

Spam

This presentation was done by an ex-spammer, about the tactics his former industry of choice use to do that which we despise. Some of the more interesting tactics included:

  • Paying $50 to a student for her login so they could spam an entire .edu domain from her account.
  • Hacking sites to insert code that would redirect people to another spam site, or just pay the site owner to do it for them.
  • Comment spam (posting "comments" on blog posts all over the web that tell you about the awesome power of Viagra)
  • Using tools like "autopligg" to spam digg.com with spam.
  • Creating new blog sites using content from other people's sites (they access your RSS feed) and then riddle the copied site with ads.

Ignite

This guy has what he thinks is a brilliant idea: bring the concept of brevity out of Twitter and into in-person presentations. Take a topic, any topic and talk about it for no more than 5 minutes with 20 slides, at 15 seconds/slide. We sat through about 5 or 10 of these. Uninteresting and uninformative. Seriously people, this is not a good idea, it's just a way to pretend that you can be informed on something while simultaneously not knowing anything about anything.

My Cancer is Social

Drew Olanoff has Cancer, and he's dealing with it by sharing his experiences with the world. For just over 30minutes, Drew talked about what it was like for him to be hit by the news, how it affected him and his family and how reaching out to his online social community (many of the members of which were in the audience) has helped him cope. He's since created a site called Blame Drew's Cancer as a way to make light of, and deal with his situation and there's been a rather large outpouring of support.

There was a lot of hugging, and touchy-feelyness which I obviously didn't identify with, but as a social outsider looking in on the process, I found the whole thing rather fascinating.

Full video of the presentation can be found here.

Frank Eliason - A Twitter Top 10 List with Humour

A Twitter success story. Frank worked at Comcast in support and decided that it might be a good idea to run a Twitter account for the company, so he set one up. Then, he started noticing people bitching out the company for one reason or another, so he responded with something to the effect of: "ok, I'll get right on that" and went about fixing it. The result: a spike in customer satisfaction and stuff got done.

For the purposes of the presentation, he put together a top ten list of reasons why a company should get on board with Twitter and I'm not going to re-post it here. It's already on the Gnomedex blog.

Full video of the presentation can be found here.

Hacker Journalism (Mark Glaser)

Far and away the most disappointing presentation of the conference, though admittedly this is due in part to the rather low expectations I had for the other talks. If anything, this one suffers from a poor choice of title. Rather than "Hacker Journalism", he could have properly adjusted my expectations with something like "Data Reporting with a Purpose" or something.

Glaser's position was simple: journalism is a way of presenting data in a way that helps people understand it, so hacker journalism is using one's mad it-skillz to take big blobs of data and turn them in to non-nerd-friendly graphs and maps. He asked the audience to make suggestions for data mash-ups with maps and/or pie charts etc and then went on to demo a few examples of similar work already out there. One that I make a note of was the Obameter, a graphing app that takes stock of the promises made, kept, and ignored during the course of President Obama's administration. Neat stuff.

Unfortunately, Glaser has a tendency to throw around the term "hacker" in all kinds of contexts 'till the meaning is really quite gone. I get the impression that he thinks that anyone who can use Yahoo pipes is a hacker, or someone who can use Google Maps to draw something nifty should also wear such a title.

In the end, the talk was more about how maps + stats = mash-ups = awesome, and not so much about front-line independent journalism. As this was the presentation to which I was most looking forward, I was rather disappointed.

NerdCraft (Beth Goza)

As cute and fun as this was, I really don't understand how this presentation made it into the event. There was nothing technical or really even social about it, rather Goza talked at length about the subculture of nerd crafters, people who knit, sew, and crochet all kinds of stuff, from sci-fi characters, to katamari costumes. Some of the stuff she had was crazy:

  • Crochet Star Wars characters
  • A knitted panel of the entire first level of Super Mario Brothers (wo baby, awesome)
  • Some crazy person knitted/crocheted a life-size Ferrari
  • A little crochet Hellboy
  • And DnD dice!

All-in-all, I'm not convinced that her presentation was appropriate for the event, but it was a nice break from the rest of it.

Full video of the presentation can be found here. You should check this one out, it's fun :-)

Audience vs. Impact (Giant Ant Media (@giantantmedia))

There to talk to us about what works in social media was the couple that started Giant Ant Media. They opened with some examples of where they started: making 2min flicks about fart jokes, and followed this with what they were doing now, a documentary about youth in Africa called Bongo. The focus of the talk though was really about how to cultivate an online community. Find what both you and your users love and do it. Don't lie, or try to misrepresent yourself because your audience can smell it. Just focus on honesty in production, be it blogging or richer media and all will be good.

Full video of the presentation can be found here.

Closing

The conference was long, and really not much fun, but I salvaged a few nuggets of wisdom from the whole ordeal, my favourite of which was this:

The difference between knowledge and expertise is trust. Knowledge can be acquired, but unrecognised, isn't much use to anyone, while expertise is given by others who offer you their own credibility in praise of your knowledge. In the knowledge economy, this is kind of a big deal.

...and I think that that's where I'll close this one out. Next year, maybe my employer will send someone more marketing-friendly. Nerds really don't belong at Gnomedex.

June 15, 2009 19:07 +0000  |  Activism Drupal Free Software Linux PHP Software Technology Work [at] Play 0

I attended my first ever OpenWeb conference yesterday and as per company policy, I have to report on and share what I learnt, so what better way to do so then to make a blog post for all to read?

General

OpenWeb is awesome. It's a conference where people from all over the world come to talk about Open design and communication and hopefully, learn to build a better web in the process. Attendees include programmers, entrepreneurs, designers, activists and politicians all with shared goals and differing skillsets. I shook hands with Evan Prodromou, the founder of identi.ca and WikiTravel, heard talks from the guys who write Firefox and Thunderbird as well as the newly-elected representative for the Pirate Party in the European Parliament, Rickard Falkvinge. All kinds of awesome I tell you.

Rickard Falkvinge: Keynote - On the Pirate Party

Founder of the Pirate Party in Sweden and now a representative in the European Parliament (thanks to proportional representation), Falkvinge was a passionate and eloquent speaker who covered the history of copyright, the present fight for greater control of so-called intellectual property and more importantly the far-reaching and very misunderstood effects of some of the legislation being passed to "protect" copyright holders while eliminating privacy rights for the public.

The talk was very in depth and difficult to cover in a single post so I encourage you to ask me about it in person some time. For the impatient though, I'll try to summarise:

The copyright debate isn't about downloading music, that's just a byproduct of the evolution of technology. As the printing press gave the public greater access to information, so has the Internet managed to disperse that information further. The problem is now that the changing landscape has rendered certain business models ineffective, these business are fighting to change our laws to preserve said model rather than change with the times. Ranging from the frustratingly shortsighted attempts to ban technologies that further file sharing (legal or otherwise) to the instant wire tapping on every Internet connection (and by extension phone call) of every free citizen without a warrant, many of these changes are very, very scary.

"All of this has happened before, and it will happen again" he said. Every time a technological advancement creates serious change for citizen empowerment in society, the dominant forces in that society mobilise to crush it. The Catholic church, gatekeepers of the lion's share of human knowledge at the time actively worked to ban the printing press. They succeeded (if you can believe it) in France in 1535. This time, it's the media companies and they're willing to do anything, including associating file sharing with child pornography and terrorism to do it. Falkvinge's Pirate party is becoming the beachhead in the fight for copyright reform. Now the party with the largest youth delegation (30%!) in Sweden, they are working to get the crucial 4% of the seats in Parliament they need to hold the balance of power and they need your help. He'd like you to send the party 5€ or 10€ per month and I'm already on board.

Angie Byron: Keynote - Women in Open Source

Those of you who know me, know that I can get pretty hostile when it comes to treating women like a special class of people (be the light positive or negative) so I was somewhat skeptical about this one. Thankfully, I was happy to hear Byron cover a number of issues with the Free software community ranging from blatant sexism (CouchDB guys... seriously?) to basic barriers to entry for anyone new to a project. There were a lot of really helpful recommendations to people wanting to engage 100% of the community rather than just one half or the other.

Blake Mizerany: Sinatra

Sinatra is a Ruby framework that went in the opposite direction of things like my beloved Django or Ruby's Rails. Rather than hide the nuts and bolts of HTTP from the developer, Sinatra puts it right out there for you. Where traditional frameworks tend to muddle GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE into one input stream, this framework structures your whole program into blocks a lot like this:

  require 'rubygems'
  require 'sinatra'
  get '/hi' do
    "Hello World!"
  end

That little snipped up there handles the routing and display for a simple Hello World program. Sinatra's strength is that it's simple and elegant. It lets you get at the real power at the heart of HTTP which is really handy, but from what I could tell in the presentation, there's not a lot available outside of that. Database management is done separately, no ORM layer etc. etc. It's very good for what it does, but not at everything, which (at least in my book) makes it awesome.

Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer: Mozilla Labs

These are the guys who make the Cool New Stuff that comes out of Mozilla. You know those guys, they write a nifty web browser called "Firefox", I'm sure you've heard of them.

Mozilla Labs is where the smart nerds get together to build and experiment with toys that will (hopefully) eventually make it into a finished product. Sometimes that product is an add-on or plug-in, other times it's an entirely new project. It's all about how useful something is to the public. And as always, the code is Free. You may have even heard of Ubiquity, an extension to Firefox that promises to reshape how we use a web browser... they're working on that.

This time through, they were demoing Bespin, a code editor in your web browser. Imagine opening a web browser, going to a page and doing your development there: no need for a local environment, but without the usual disadvantages of aggravating lag or difficult, text-only interface. Now imagine that you can share that development space with someone else in real time and that you can be doing this from your mobile device on a beach somewhere. Yeah, it's that awesome.

We watched as they demoed the crazy power that is the <canvas /> tag by creating a simple text editor, in Javascript right there in front of us... with about 15 lines of code. Really, really impressive.

David Ascher: Open Messaging on the Open Internet

Ascher's talk on Open Messaging was something I was really interested in since I've been actively searching for information on federated social networking for a while now. The presentation was divided into two parts: half covering the history of email and it's slow deprecation in favour of a number of different technologies as well as how people are using it in ways never intended for the architecture. Major problems with the protocol itself were touched on, as well as an explanation about how some of the alternatives out there are also flawed.

He then went on to talk about Mozilla Thunderbird 3 and the variety of cool stuff that's happening with it. "Your mail client knows a lot about you" he says "but until now, we haven't really done a lot with it". Some of the new features for Thunderbird 3 include conversation tracking (like you see in Gmail), helping you keep track of what kinds of email you spend the most time on, who you communicate with most etc. and even statistical charts about what time of day you use mail, what kind of mail you send and to whom how often. It's very neat stuff. Add to this the fact that they've completely rewritten the plug-in support, so new extensions to Thunderbird mean that your mail client will be as useful as you want it to be.

Evan Prodromou: Open Source Microblogging with Laconica

Up until this talk (and with the exception of Falkvinge's keynote), I'd been interested, but not excited about OpenWeb. Prodromou's coverage of Laconica changed all of that.

Founder of WikiTravel and one of the developers on WikiMedia (the software behind Wikipedia), Prodromou has built a federated microblogging platform called Laconica. Think Twitter, but with the ability for an individual to retain ownership of his/her posts and even handle distribution -- with little or no need for technical knowledge required. Here, I made you a diagram to explain:

Federated Laconica vs. Monolithic Twitter
Federated Laconica vs. Monolithic Twitter

Here's how it is: whereas Twitter is a single central source of information, controlled by a single entity (in this case, a corporation), Laconica distributes the load to any number of separate servers owned by different people that all know how to communicate. Where you might be on a server in Toronto, hosted by NetFirms, I could be using a Laconica service hosted by Dreamhost in Honolulu. My posts go to my server, yours go to yours, and when my Twitter client wants to fetch your posts, it talks to NetFirms and vice versa.

The advantages are clear:

  1. Infinite scalability: Twitter's monolithic model necessitates the need for crazy amounts of funding and they still don't have a profit model to account for those costs. Laconica on the other hand means that the load is distributed across potentially millions of hosts (much like the rest of the web).
  2. You control your identity, not a private corporation.

The future is where it gets really exciting though. By retaining ownership of your identity and data, you can start to attach a variety of other data types to the protocol. For the moment, Laconica only supports twitter-like messages, but they're already expanding into file-sharing as well. You'll be able to attach images, video and music files, upload them to your server and share them with whomever is following you. After that, I expect that they'll expand further to include Flickr-like photo streams, Facebook-like friendships and LiveJournal-like blog posts. These old, expensive monolithic systems are going away. In the future we'll have one identity, in one place, that we control that manages all of the data we want to share with others.

Really, really cool stuff.

I went home that night and signed up as a developer on Laconica. I've downloaded the source and will experiment with it this week before I take on anything on the "to do " list. I intend on focusing on expanding the feature set to include stuff that will deprecate the monolithic models mentioned above... should be fun :-)

Drupal Oops

I closed out the evening with some socialising in the hallway and some ranting about how-very-awesome Laconica was to my coworker Ronn, who showed up late in the day. He wandered off in search of my other colleagues and I followed after finishing a recap with Karen Quinn Fung a fellow transit fan and Free software fan. Unfortunately though, I wasn't really paying attention to where Ronn was going, I just followed out of curiosity. It turns that out I had stumbled into a Drupal social where I was almost immediately asked: "so, how do you use Drupal and how much do you love it?" by the social organiser. James gave me a horrified "what the hell are you doing here" look and searching for words, I said something to the effect of "Um, well, I was pretty much just dropping in here looking for my co-workers... oh here they are! -- I like Drupal because it makes it easy for people to make websites, but I don't really use it because it gets in my way. I prefer simple, elegant solutions and working around something just to get it to work is too aggravating." Considering the company, my response was pretty well received. I backed out quietly at the earliest opportunity :-)

So that was OpenWeb, well half of it anyway. I only got a pass for the Thursday. I can't recommend it enough though. Really interesting talks and really interesting people all over the place. I'll have to make sure that I go again next year.

November 28, 2008 01:10 +0000  |  Capitalism Technology 0

My friend Melissa called me the other day with questions regarding how to setup a blog with profit in mind. Since I obviously don't have any experience with this (I've never had, nor do I ever intend to place ads here) I wasn't sure if I could really be any help, but I offered the following. If you have any ideas of your own, or think that I'm wrong, please comment below:

Here are some good Vancouver blogs:

And here are some excellent Toronto blogs:

There are also a number of blogs out there that specialise in a subject rather than a particular location:

These are off the top of my head but there are literally thousands, if not millions of them out there. All of the above however are profit-driven while the majority of blogs out there are not.

Some of the things I know they do:

  • Focus on readership:
    • Post every day to keep your site fresh, this keeps search engines happy.
    • Don't do anything too personal, but don't be too professional either.
  • Link to everyone else in your sphere
    • If you have an environment blog, link to other environment blogs.
    • If you have an urban blog, link to people who blog in your city.
  • Tap into the multiple other social networking tools out there:
  • Advertise using a tasteful ad broker.
  • Collect statistics on your traffic.
  • The trick to all of this is to:
    1. Be interesting. No one will read your stuff (or link to it, thereby increasing your search engine rank) if what you're writing isn't either fun or witty, or accurate.
    2. Be current. Your search engine rank is based partially on how often your content changes.
    3. Use Wordpress. It's a software package designed explicitly for blogging. I don't use it because it's not as powerful as I like (and I'm a control freak, I like to roll my own code) but most of the big bloggers out there use it. Either that or Drupal.

So, did I miss anything?

October 08, 2008 20:11 +0000  |  Charity Technology 0

For those of you interested in the success/failure surrounding the One Laptop Per Child programme, I thought that I'd pass on the following links from a linux feed I follow:

September 28, 2008 05:48 +0000  |  Activism Technology Vancouver 2

I spent most of my day today at Barcamp Vancouver 2008, the third incarnation of its kind in this city. For some of you, the name might ring a bell since I blogged about going to the Toronto Barcamp back in 2006. The ideas behind the Vancouver version were similar, though the experience was quite different. For the sake of brevity though, I'm going to do the rest of this post in point form... in part because the sentence structure of this paragraph is painful to me:

The Good Stuff

  • Lots of people using Twitter, Flickr, blogs and wikis to their full potential. It's so nice to see technology being implemented the way their creators (and pushers) hoped.
  • Really smart people who like talking about stuff. I sat through a lot of really interesting presentations regarding the mobile web (and how it doesn't exist), django-bloom (REALLY fucking cool), and cloud computing (it may not be as cool as you heard, but it's still really cool).
  • Had some really great conversation outside of the presentations. I met Karen Quinn Fung, an activist and organiser for the upcoming Skytrain Security UnConference. She's a striking young woman with a solid understanding of social media and community activism and with a few others in a small group we all tackled the touchy subject of activist infighting and community outreach.
  • Granville Island doughnuts. Best I've found in this city. Seriously. Go there. Now. ...and bring me back a few ;-)

The DoublePlusUnGood Stuff

  • Really short presentation times. Seriously, who holds an unconference in three separate buildings, offers no time to move to different venues between talks and then makes each session only a ½ hour? There was no time to actually flesh out any ideas in any session.
  • Presentations, not conversations. The Barcamp I went to in Toronto was all about multi-way communication. You didn't attend a presentation, you joined a conversation. All parties contributed to the greater whole that was Barcamp. This was much more in the form of a unidirectional dialogue and therefore far less interesting.
  • No mixing space. They got three buildings, and four rooms to hold presentations, and barely a hallway for space for people to talk about stuff. Barcamp is supposed to be about people talking to each other, not just listening to speakers... If I just wanted to hear one person's opinion, I'd read a blog.

So yeah, good things and bad about Barcamp this year. I hope that they're not all like this and that some of these things will be remedied in future incarnations. Until then, I'll probably be hitting other unconferences around town as I hear about them. It seems that they're becoming pretty popular lately.

September 10, 2008 23:42 +0000  |  Conservatives Politics Technology 0

The Twitter user FakeSteveHarper started following me today, so I checked him out. He's hilarious. If you use twitter, check him out.

August 27, 2008 18:06 +0000  |  Free Software Geek Stuff Software Technology 0

I just watched this amazing video on the future of how we'll use the Internet. For the nerdy among you: remember how people are always saying stuff like "this will make it a web service that other people can access for whatever they like"? Well this is the end result:

The problem with the way the web stands now, is that I have to go to services to use them.

Such a brilliantly simple observation. These guys are doing a great job.

May 30, 2008 20:25 +0000  |  Democracy NDP Net Neutrality Technology 1

The NDP has tabled a bill to legislate net neutrality:

The four-page bill seeks to amend the Telecommunications Act and "prohibit network operators from engaging in network management practises that favour, degrade or prioritise any content, application or service transmitted over a broadband network based on its source, ownership or destination, subject to certain exceptions."

It also looks to prohibit "network operators from preventing a user from attaching any device to their network and requires network operators to make information about the user's access to the internet available to the user."

The proposed bill makes exception for ISPs to manage traffic in reasonable cases, Angus said, such as providing stable speeds for applications such as gaming or video conferencing.

"There are areas where telecoms have to be able to exercise rights, but that doesn't give them the ability to arbitrarily interfere or discriminate," Angus said.

I know that I've not been a fan of the NDP of late, but they've really done some great work here. This is an important issue that affects the future of democracy and debate in this country and around the world, and the NDP are the only party that has cared enough to do something about it.

Please, read up on net neutrality and then contact your MP to get their support for it. With the combined support of the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc, the Conservatives will have no choice to let this happen.

And it should happnen.