Principles for an Open Transition
Published 12:56, 02 December 08
President-elect Obama has made a clear commitment to changing the way government relates to the People. His campaign was a demonstration of the value in such change, and a glimpse of its potential. His transition team has now taken a crucial step in making the work of the transition legally shareable, demonstrating that the values Obama spoke of are values that will guide his administration.
To further support this commitment to change, and to help make it tangible, we offer three “open transition principles” to guide the transition in its use of the Internet to produce the very best in open government.
That openness meme is certainly getting popular.
Posted by Glyn Moody at 3:19 PM
Why Copyright, O Canada?
Over on the Open Enterprise blog, I have been extolling the virtues of James Boyle's new book, The Public Domain. I still urge you to read it (freely available here), but recognise that not everyone has the time (or energy) to snuggle down with 300 pages of deep meditation on intellectual monopolies.
For those of you who want something a little more, er, oyster-like in terms of slipping down the cognitive gullet, can I also recommend this video from the irrepressible Michael Geist?
Although it's entitled "Why Copyright? Canadian Voices on Copyright Law", and it's largely about the battle to stop Canada making the same mistakes as the US (and Europe) by bringing in its own DMCA, the issues it raises apply around the world. And it's refreshing to hear all the old arguments I and others have been peddling for a while from a fresh bunch of talking heards.
Posted by Glyn Moody at 10:57 AM
Openness We Can Believe In
Of course, no danger of any of this dangerous "21st century" openness cropping up here in the UK:
President-elect Obama has championed the creation of a more open, transparent, and participatory government. To that end, Change.gov adopted a new copyright policy this weekend. In an effort to create a vibrant and open public conversation about the Obama-Biden Transition Project, all website content now falls under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
(With thanks to Alan Lord for reminding me this deserves to be highlighted.)
Posted by Glyn Moody at 10:23 AM
No Longer Wireless-less
Now that open source has largely overcome its earlier problems with limited application availability – there's practically no area today that is not served reasonably well by free software – the remaining challenge is hardware support. That's obviously harder to resolve than the earlier software dearth, since it depends not on the willingness of coders to roll up their sleeves and write stuff, but on hardware manufacturers to release either open source drivers, or at least full specs for their kit. But even here, open source continues to demolish the barriers....
On Open Enterprise blog .
Posted by Glyn Moody at 10:20 AM
Publish and Be Damned?
If you were wondering why I have been rabbiting on about police raids on alleged leakers, here's the reason:
The new Counter Terrorism Bill, currently in The Lords, contains an amendment to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This amendment will make it an offence, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, to publish or elicit information about any police constable "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".
Furthermore, Schedule 7 of the Bill applies this amendment to internet service providers and web hosting services. This means they will have a legal duty to remove all sites perceived to fall under this offence, and has provisions for use at home and abroad.
It is unclear what information will be classed as “useful” to terrorists, but due to this ambiguous wording, the Bill has implications for bloggers, journalists, photographers, activists and anyone who values freedom of speech.
It is hard to see what exactly this Bill is trying to do that isn't already coverd by the reams of similar legislation that has been passed recently. What kind of information about the police is so sacred? Why not pass a law about firemen, doctors or sewage workers - all people working on critical parts of society's infrastructure? Actually, I'm sure that's the next stage in this creeping lockdown of democracy.
This is yet another case of bad law predicated on a bad premise: that you can "fight" terrorism by passing increasingly Draconian measures. In fact, this is actually counterproductive: it takes away the liberties of people without giving them any security. It simply does the terrorists' work for them.
Moreover, the scope for abuse is huge: what exactly does "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" mean? Presumably, it would be useful for a "terrorist" to have pictures of police officers, so presumably any photography will be illegal. Which means - conveniently - that it will be impossible to photograph officers abusing their power.
Indeed, it could be argued - and probably will - that publishing any information desdribing police bullying or general stupidity is "useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" in some vague, general sense, because it is bound to give away some details of police activities, which are therefore potentially useful.
Clearly, this law will have a chilling effect not just on people wanting to leak information that is embarrassing to the government - since it becomes even harder to resist exaggerated responses of the kind we have seen recently - but on any kind of journalism or blogging about civil liberties. The sickening slide towards the police state continues apace.
Posted by Glyn Moody at 9:53 AM
Originally posted at Open... This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence. Please link back to the original post.
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