Prof. Michael Geist at CFP

Here’s a quick live-blog of Prof. Michael Geist‘s dinner talk tonight at the Computers Freedom & Privacy conference in Montreal.

Future of the Internet — Where was the Internet in 1997 — early webpages, early issues (i.e., spam). Some we are still discussing, some not.

DeCSS issue is transformed today with the DVD hash (code) posting on digg. See how this issue came to fore in a matter of hours. Wikipedia, Internet Archive, open source software (i.e., Joomla) — creativity by the public. Not just a grounds-up activity — this is moving into government and business (i.e., Dell’s version of digg is IdeaStorm). JetBlue apologizes by YouTube. Citizenvoices.gg.ca. The Next Tech-ade. From England, E-Petitions: anyone in UK can launch their own petitions. This is exceptionally mainstream.

Internet 2017: four pillars. Connectivity — issue 10 years ago and issue now. Broadband for all. Now many other countries are growing in broadband. Lack of Internet access is still an issue. Muni wifi. Net neutrality. But companies are blocking access to content [and this is a growing problem throughout the globe]. Traffic shaping — assumptions that your activity is Bittorent and adjusting bandwidth. Massive traffic in spam. Still much to do here; if in 2017 we want same potential as today. Wayne Crooks — a businessman launching lawsuits against big Internet companies like Yahoo. Chilling by making a claim. Access to knowledge. Privacy. Trust. Transparency. Why is content removed? Why is Bittorrent stalling?

Copyright: Canada does not have DMCA and anti-circumvention legislation [that is a good thing?] Israel wants to use US fair use standard, and criticized — you can’t use this language because we do not know what your judges will do. Canadians should talk about fair use, staying at life + 50 for copyright, orphan works. Broadcast treaty (WIPO). Too many countries, including Canada, staying silent, as this is negotiated. Publicly-funded research — taxpayers should not have to rebuy research for which it paid [this is a woefully under recognized issue]. Crown copyright — absence in Canada; US gets it right. Must apparently ask Speaker of the House in Canada to use film of proceedings. So Canada is in a permission culture when it comes to government-produced content. Public broadcasting.

Take away: Possibilities are in our hands. [I might add that it is more in our hands now than in 1997, as the digg story proves. As more entities react to users (both for good and bad reasons, and with good or bad results), the ability to influence policy and policy choices increases for anyone engaged — how much you need to be engaged to influence such decisions is still very much in flux.]

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