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« BitTorrent 4.0 | Main | Remembrance »

March 10, 2005



Excellent work, Dan, I thank you and applaud you for being part of the creation of a strong and reasonable foundation for policy pertaining to the net.

One top-level item that will draw questions is the mention of how preserving anonymity is related to promoting transparency. I can imagine some people taking the position that eliminating anonymity would increase transparency, so I'd recommend some elaboration on the relationship of these elements.

Thanks again.

Cory Doctorow

I'm with you all the way on this, except this, "Governments should consider mandating changes to core Internet functionality only with extraordinary caution." Governments shouldn't mandate changes to core Internet functionality, period, in my view.

Jim Griffin

I'm not sure I understand why "The same legal principles that apply in the physical world also apply to human activities conducted over the Internet."

In the main, I suppose I understand what this means, but it conjures all manner of exception, especially as related to the movement of intellectual property.

And I definitely lose track of what this means when I consider the truly global nature of the net and the geographic territoriality of physical world law. Are we really agreeing that any country ought be able to assert legal authority over Internet activities that cross its borders (real world standard)?

We've seen this before, and it seems it simply doesn't work beyond creating a lowest common denominator of legal standard, permitting only that which is legal everywhere and making prohibitive that which is illegal anywhere.

Pablo Martínez-Almeida

As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.

I would rather say:
As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.

Here in Spain there is great controversy about the spontaneity of demonstrations.

Judy Breck

These principles encapsulate better than anything I have yet seen how global individual liberty will emerge. Great stuff! The mechanism, for example, of more openness countering abuse of openness is withering to tyranny. Quickening the internet access for all movement is a key way to speed these good things and I hope the committee will give that strong emphasis.


The Madrid Group needs to bring about an RFC for ALL Governments with regard to the internet, infrastructire managment and Joint Intelligence Shareing. Governements should net-net themselves first and the citizen will dictact that. I agree, wit Dr.Cory- TCP/IP stacks should never be violated in the name of Terrorism. Echelon, carnivore and the TigerBox systems did exactly that sometime ago. Technologies were being abused by Technocrats and Bueracrats !


Actually, there were not spontaneous. You have a paper about it at:
written by one of the people that organized the movilization in the streets against the government. In Spanish.
The organization came through the antiglobalization groups as Indymedia and Nodo50. Of course it had a response from the people because there was a great feeling of manipulation. More, maybe, from the media that backed the Popular Party Government than from the Government itself.

Octavio Isaac Rojas Orduña

I agree with the word "spontaneous" because people decided to attend to the demonstration, resend SMS, blog about it...

From my point of view, it is not credible that some groups forced hundreds or even thousands to do what they did. They did what they did because they wanted it to do it.

Juan Varela

The restrictions to the journalist to access to the Summit are a terrible mistake. There is not much attention in the international press about the contents and the results of the work groups. In the Spanish press, the problem is the same.
It is a good idea to invit bloggers, but if you promote an open society, open politics and a citizen response to terrorism, you need to disseminate more information for the people.
And, by now, only mass media can spread the contents of the summit to the general public.
Journalist in Spain are very angry about this. The result is a lot of traditional messages from politicians and poor information about experts, citizen´s debate and new ideas about terrorism.
You can see a critic of this politic in my blog.

About spontaneity in the March 13rd 2004 demonstrations, it was the first and big political smart mobs of the modern spanish history. Several media, specially radio Cadena Ser, informed about demonstrations, but it was news, they are obligated for their journalistic mission.
Others, with more politic vision, masked the movement.
But SMS (specially) and webs were the promoters. More here, a year later.


Great post, thanks


Doesn't anonymity promote the presence of "trolls" like the one you kept kicking off your SJ Mercury News blog?


Hi everybody.

Octatio Rojas said:

From my point of view, it is not credible that some groups forced hundreds or even thousands to do what they did. They did what they did because they wanted it to do it.
What do you thing about this?

11M, 12M, 13M en el extinto FORO LIBERTAD DE EXPRESION

¿Quién ha sido?
¿Qué pasará ahora? España tras el terror


Saturday, I will write a large article about these days, especially about 13-M (and the protest article front LSSI-ce

Pablo Martínez-Almeida

From my point of view, because of the uncertainty and controversy, you are making a political point when stating the spontaneity of demonstrations.



Pablo Martínez-Almeida

Maty, first couple of links in your first comment don't work (at least for me).

diego sobol

It's quite naive to assume that ANY technology (and Internet IS technology) carries with it a set of values. Values are interiors, they belong to your awareness not to the T-3 connection you just had installed. Internet "connects families and cultures"??? Yeah, but it also connects white supremacy group, emerging like mushrooms now, mostly thanks to the new tech-infrastructure, namely - internet. Internet CAN do a lot good, when intentions are positive and constructive for a wide circle of people, but intentions depend on one's moral stage of development and that is not a matter of technological improvement as such. Nazis had great technology too. Atom bomb is superb technology too. Finally, the best response to abuses of openness is not always more openness. You don't give full rights to your little child, but you help him or her grow into responsibilities so he or she can take care of self and significant others, so that the circle of significant others can grow and expand. Then, but only then, is unrestricted openness beneficial. Until, keep your priorities clear: a balance of rights and duties, a balance of freedom and safety. Egalitarian pluralism simply doesn't work as a pragmatic strategy, unless EVERYONE involved is a universally caring person. And that you don't get from an ISP.


The internet can be viewed in different ways. Technically, it is just the large network of servers, switches, routers and bacbones across the globe. However, it is also a place where people communicate and trade information. The government should never be able to take away the openesss that exists here as they have in so many other places. Gratis (the people behind free ipods) now offer free LCD monitors and flat screen TVs: Just signup and try a trial! If you need proof:,2125,64614,00.html
GMAIL invites to EVERYONE that signups and trys a trial!


Waters' First Law: A good idea can come from anywhere.

Corollary: A bad idea can come from anywhere.

The former is why the permanent process of peaceful change, such as in democracy, is valuable. The latter is why community is essential.

Dan Gillmor

Excellent comments, all --

One quick response before I catch a plane to London:

Diego, I will suggest that we rephrase the top point to say that the architecture of the Internet and values of democracy are closely aligned.

Kirk House

Great post. I'm glad you mentioned the digital divide. There is an article at the Economist which shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the Internet. "And the answer to that question turns out to be remarkably clear: by promoting the spread not of PCs and the internet, but of mobile phones." I guess this guy doesn't realize that VOIP uses the Internet and that cheap SIP phones are probably the best fit for the digital divide. Wireless Internet and mobile phones, two birds, one stone.

A quote from the Wikipedia SIP entry:
"As envisioned by its originators, SIP's peer-to-peer nature does not enable network provided services. For example, the network can not easily support legal interception of calls (referred to in the United States by the law governing wiretaps, CALEA)."
I've heard a lot of government officials are starting to read blogs, I hope they see your post.

Octavio Isaac Rojas Orduña

I haven't had the chance to take a look at nauscopio... but I believe it is an ideology thing.

PSOE didn't have that power then, so PP won't have it in the future.

This is a free society, and free people do whatever they want.

I will write about it in my blog


I've been reluctant to comment because I have only negatives to contribute...not that the words and concepts are bad, just that they betray a charming and rather naive confidence in the power of internet technology to overcome the power of intertia, fear, government structures, militarism, wealth and the myriad other factors that work in favor of continuing totalitarianism.

Communication between many people across the continents is great for getting ideas and facts disseminated, but significant change requires some concentration of people in economic, geographic or political proximity who themselves are aligned, have legitimacy and power, and can array their collective powers to enable change.

Multitudes of concerned and indignant people, including elected leaders, business leaders, humanitarians and educators, have learned through communications technology about many world evils throughout the last century, but such shared knowledge has been largely unsuccessful in leading to improvements in the human condition unless a traditional power structure supported intervention...and generally that has come about because of national self-interest or political, racial, religious,or ethnic concerns or alliances, not any sort of abstruse moral concerns.

It's a sad counterpoint to the equally unjustified faith of the MacNamaras and Rumsfelds that technology can take the place of human power in winning hearts and minds, occupying territory and making lasting change happen.

Jay Rosen

To quote Cory, "I'm with you all the way on this." I think it is clear and totally right on each foundational stone it touches.

I worry about the freedom to link. Is it inherent enough in what we value to warrant its own item in part V?

Dan: you and colleagues did a great job putting that together.


Octavio said "they betray a charming and rather naive confidence in the power of internet technology to overcome the power of intertia, fear, government structures, militarism, wealth and the myriad other factors that work in favor of continuing totalitarianism."

Inertia - is one reason some big businesses fail in the age of the Internet when faced with nimble competition. Not to mention inertia and mergers.

Fear - is the product of a government run media and networks of informants so the Internet enabled free flow of knowledge and secure communication will help.

Militarism - works on crowds of people not on chat-rooms full of people. That's what (I think) Dan's alluding to with his point about fighting terrorism with a distributed force. Militarism doesn't work against an Internet enabled populace for the same reasons atom bombs don't work if applied to the insurgent problem in Iraq.

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