One Web Day--Earth Day for the Internet

One Web Day is an Earth Day for the internet. The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key internet value (this year, online participation in democracy), focus attention on local internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills), and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the internet. September 22, 2008: Mark the Day!

 

The Internet is under enormous pressure in this country, as it is around the world.

Here are some examples: Access providers want to track what everyone is doing online and use it for their commercial advantage. They're developing prioritization technology that will be like a cellphone layer on the internet - able to bill differently for different uses. They're working closely with law enforcement and Hollywood in ways that will make internet use unpredictable and heavily-surveilled. The greatest engine of free speech and democratic outreach the world has ever seen is being co-opted by telephone companies. This isn't good for our future.

At the same time, we're suffering from enormous digital divides. Lower-income and rural communities don't have adequate connectivity. Senior citizens and minorities are often left out. Skills are inadequate, and there is a lot of fear of the Internet.

One Web Day is an environmental movement for the Internet ecosystem. It's a platform for people to educate and activate others about important issues for the Internet's future.

It's happening all over the world. Here in the US, key figures involved include Tim Westergren (Pandora) and Larry Lessig, speaking in NYC; the Future of Music campaign and Rock the Net, in Chicago; the Berkman Center at Harvard; a host of public interest groups in Washington; the City of San Francisco (using OWD to install tech centers in low-income housing using refurbished City computers); Doc Searls, Craig Newmark, David Weinberger, Mary Hodder, Craig Newmark, Jimmy Wales, Joichi Ito, Jerry Michalski, Deb Schultz, and a huge host of volunteers.

Quotes: Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, said: ?OneWebDay reminds us that the net really is a democratizing medium, that everyone gets a chance to participate. If you want, you can stick your neck out and speak truth to power.? Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, added: ??OneWebDay is about ?one web? . . . Let?s celebrate, and let?s constantly work to make more, better, cleaner, stronger, deeper interoperability across the planet.?

2008 plans: For 2008, we plan to expand the list of cities participating. There will be a large event in Washington Square in New York City at noon on that day featuring Tim Westergren and Larry Lessig. One hundred ?OneWebDay Ambassadors? will let their networks know about OneWebDay during the 100 days leading up to OneWebDay, and 100 OneWebDay stories will be selected. There will be events run by the City of Melbourne and in London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Singapore, Tunisia, and elsewhere.

Organization: OneWebDay, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. It has a Board made up of online luminaries (Doc Searls, David Weinberger, David Isenberg, Mary Hodder), business people (Kaarli Tasso, Allison Fine, David Johnson, Rick Whitt), a NYC PR person (Renee Edelman, Edelman), a key researcher (Gregg Vesonder, AT&T), and a former state AG (Jim Tierney, Maine). Its president is Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She is committed to working on this holiday for the next 10 years.

There is a web site (http://onewebday.org) which is a clearinghouse for OneWebDay online projects and news. Flickr pictures and posts tagged OneWebDay can be seen on the site, which has a blog and a wiki aimed at encouraging participation.

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Contact: Susan Crawford, OneWebDay, Inc., 202 669 0430, scrawford@scrawford.net

How can you help the Web on OneWebDay?
1. If you're a Web user, use a standards-compliant Web browser like Firefox or Opera. They're free, faster, and more protective of your privacy. And because they conform to Web development standards, they make things easier for people who make Web sites. If you're a Web developer, test your sites with the w3c?s Markup Validation Service.
2. Edit a Wikipedia article. Teach people what you know, and in so doing, help create free universal knowledge.
3. Learn about an Internet policy issue from the Center for Democracy and Technology, and teach five other people about it. There are real legal threats that could drastically change the way the Internet works. We should all be aware of them.
4. Take steps to ensure that your computer can't be treated like a zombie. Computer viruses can steal your personal information. They can also cause major network outages on the Web, slowing things down and making sites inaccessible. Vint Cerf estimates that more than 150 million PCs have already been zombified, and are now awaiting their next order. To learn more about the threat of zombie computers, read this article.
5. Join an Internet rights advocacy group:
? Become a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights, from privacy to free speech to Internet service.
? Join the Internet Society. ISOC is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world, particularly by establishing Internet infrastructure standards.
? Support Creative Commons by donating and by using their licenses to copyright your work. If you're outside the U.S., help support their counterpart, iCommons.
6. Help promote public Internet access. If you live in a city, there is likely an organization dedicated to providing free wireless access in public spaces.
7. Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikimedia Foundation supports not only Wikipedia, but several other projects to create free knowledge: textbooks, news, learning tools, and more.
8. Donate a computer. You can donate a new $100 laptop to children in impoverished countries, or donate your used computer to Goodwill or a school.
9. Write your OneWebDay story. Talk about what the Internet means to you and why One WebDay matters at http://onewebday.org/stories
10. If your city is hosting a OneWebDay event, show up on September 22 and participate.

 

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Photo of Jimmy Wales at OneWebDay 2007 courtesy of pattilowehnhaupt's photostream of Flickr. For more photos and full documentation, please click on the image. And, below, Tim Berners-Lee, the "inventor of the Internet," discusses the importance of One Web Day courtesy of YouTube.