Our Web. Our Conversation. Our House Rules

The 'shape' of our Internet

It’s not everyday you get an email from Vnt Cerf, a.k.a. the father of the Internet.

His email yesterday read: “You spoke out and showed that, when we stand together, we can prevent bad policies from hurting the Internet. You proved we can stop something, but now it’s time for us to start something.”

He was probably referring to my joining in on the online petition in January, in support of massive, worldwide protests against SOPA and PIPA. Some 7 million people signed that petition. Apparently such widespread laws could ‘break’ the Internet.

Now, since there is talk of a renewed attempt to get those laws passed (read the recently published White House Intellectual Property Report) Vint is calling for you and me and your next-door who walks around with her face buried in her tablet, to do something about it.

The newly worded act talks, among other things (such as fear of China) that “U S innovation and creativity (needs to be) protected around the world and allow Americans to do what they do best—out-innovate, out-compete, and continue to lead in the global marketplace in this decade..” yada, yada, yada.

We’ve heard this blathering before. Funny how other nations are out-innovating, out-competing, and out-thinking us –sans such laws.

Vint makes a good point. It’s not enough for us to be always reacting  to legislation. We ought to be demonstrating to the people pushing for these laws that the value of openness outweighs  the value of putting handcuffs on every node of the Net.

The call to action is a tad too simple, if you ask me. It is a web site called Start Something. Basically you are asked to complete the sentence “The Internet is the power to…” You could have your say on Twitter, Google or Facebook.

I am not convinced that adding to the noise as to what the Internet is, will make the lawmakers do a double take. The content creators of this world, the thought-leaders, and social media evangelists ought to come up with a deeper, richer conversation.

What would you do? 

Quotes of the week ending 11/03/07

“If Fox demands control, presidential debates don’t need Fox. It is time that the presidential candidates from both parties stand with Senator McCain and defend his right to use this clip to advance his presidential campaign.”

Larry Lessig, commenting on Fox’s demanding that John McCain cease and desist using of a clip from a TV debate that carries the Fox logo.

“We would have pretty serious concerns about a government-run blacklist that affects the online advertising industry.”

Trevor Hughes, of the Network Advertising Initiative, commenting on the suggestion that the FTC to create a “do not track” list to prevent behavioral targeting.

“The choking, over heated, gaseous hot air suffocates. There definitely appears to be a growing backlash against these spineless PR’s from journalists who’ve simply had enough.”

Mark Borkowski, commenting on Chris Adderson’s move to publish the names of “lazy” PR flacks who spam him irrelevant pitches.

“He has a star quality … He can say ‘me and my colleagues actually invented the Internet and here’s how it works.’ “

Paul Twomey. Chief of ICANN, on the resignation this week of of Vint Cerf, who had joined the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers.

“There’s enough education that people should know better, and we all have media databases. It’s laziness versus strategic.”

Jeremy Pepper, adding to comments from the blogosphere on Chris Anderson’s controversial move –above– with practical tips on Social Media 101.

“No press releases, no media briefings, just quietly get the blog up. What we might, in traditional-speak, call a ’soft launch.’ “

Neville Hobson, on Dell’s launching a new investor relations blog called Dell Shares. The news was exclusively announced on FIR, the Hobson & Holtz podcast, embargoed until November 1st.