Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

The New Face of Silicon Valley’s Political Activism

Sarah Lai Stirland at Tech President discusses the massive online and offline presence seen on January 18th in response to SOPA and PIPA, and what it could portend for further engagement of Washington DC by members of the tech community. In particular, Stirland spoke with Engine Advocacy‘s Mike McGeary, who sees the potential for a variety of tools enabling entrepreneurs and others to better convey to policymakers their positions on the issues and legislation. McGeary is also setting up a steering committee for this effort; among its members, Tech Dirt’s Mike Masnick, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and Marvin Ammori.

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Morning Stories (1-6-2012)

  • Larry Downes has an excellent piece discussing Silicon Valley’s response to SOPA, the risk of unintended consequences when regulators intervene in areas they don’t fully comprehend, and the potential for the tech community to establish a bulwark against ill-conceived legislation that threatens innovation and prosperity.
  • Google, Facebook, and Twitter have endorsed the OPEN Act, proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA.
  • Vint Cerf had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday making the point that technology is “an enabler of rights, not a right in itself,” and that engineers and technology creators have an obligation to empower and protect users of that technology. He closes on a thoughtful note:

Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection — without pretending that access itself is such a right.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian government is instituting draconian obligations on Internet cafes, requiring them to install surveillance equipment and obtain personal information from customers. There is speculation that this is a precursor to what will be an Iranian intranet, designed to “insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet.”
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