EFF-Austin August Meeting: the past and future of the Internet

Jon Lebkowsky, Internet Dude
Jon Lebkowsky, Internet Dude
When: 7PM Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Where: Flying Saucer, 815 W 47th St at the Triangle.
(Come early for the SFC Farmer’s Market, nearby at the Triangle)

Jon Lebkowsky [ @jonl ], President of the EFF-Austin Board of Directors, will discuss the past and future of the Internet

Jon’s unique perspective across the history of the Internet gives him a unique vantage point on the future of our meta-medium.  He has been a willing participant in our future past; Jon was lasso-ing desperadoes on the Electronic Frontier at a time before many were even accessing the Network.  Back before everybody got here, Jon was already hanging out with interesting, smart people who saw the wide-open potential of the Network.

Having walked the stacks of FringeWare myself (even once having partaken of their Friday afternoon keg) I can say for certain that Jon has helped create Internet culture.

So, it’s pretty natural that folks should be curious what he has to say about the future.  I can say this presentation is an enjoyable ride: Jon navigates us through those futures past, ancestral media footprints on the genetic scaffolding of the Network.  If the previous EFF Austin meetings are any indication, the event will have a conversational tone; we can collectively fill in that history more completely with stories shared amongst participants at the meeting.  All while having an ice cold beer and maybe eating a burger or wrap.

Bring your comments and questions! See you Wednesday.

Jon Lebkowsky is an author, activist, journalist, and blogger who writes about the future of the Internet, digital culture, media, and society. He’s been associated with various projects and organizations, including FringeWare, Whole Earth, WorldChanging, Mondo 2000, bOING bOING, Factsheet Five, the WELL, the Austin Chronicle, EFF-Austin, Society of Participatory Medicine, Extreme Democracy, Digital Convergence Initiative, Plutopia Productions, Polycot Consulting, Social Web Strategies, Solar Austin, Well Aware, and Project VRM. He’s also a web strategist and developer via Polycot Associates. He writes about technology, media, and culture. More info at Wikipedia.

EFF-Austin July Meeting: the AT&T/TMobile Merger, Market Consolidation, and Net Neutrality

When: 7PM Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Where: Flying Saucer, 815 W 47th St at the Triangle.
(Come early for the SFC Farmer’s Market, nearby at the Triangle)
RSVP at http://effanetneutrality-eorg.eventbrite.com/

Scott McCullough, telecommunications attorney and member of the EFF-Austin Board of Directors will discuss the net neutrality issue viewed through the lens of the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

How is this merger related to net neutrality? In a letter to the FCC, EFF’s Cindy Cohn said this: “One of the major contributing factors to the risk of non-neutral behavior by carriers is the lack of sufficient competition.” EFF argues in favor of competition and against consolidation of market power. Cohn goes on to argue that “if the Administration, both the FCC and the Department of Justice, seeks to support a more neutral, more innovationfriendly digital communications infrastructure, it should use its efforts to assist in the creation of more competitors, rather than fewer. The merger thus represents a step in the wrong direction.”

Scott will discuss the merger, EFF’s position, and broader issues of net neutrality.

Bring your comments and questions!

W. Scott McCollough is an attorney whose practice focuses on communications, computer and Internet law and regulation, with an emphasis on representation of consumers and small competitive and new technology application and service providers. He also provides instruction and training in those areas to individuals, groups, and companies. He is Board Certified in Administrative Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Past activities included 10 years as an Assistant Texas Attorney General and Contract Consumer Advocate (representing residential and small business consumers) with City of Austin Electric Utility (1994-1999). Past Regulatory Counsel for Texas ISDN Users Group and Texas Internet Service Providers Association. He has unparalleled knowledge and experience relating to those places where technology and regulation intersect – and often collide – all the way up the protocol stack.

Tom Brown: Identity as if People Mattered

Tom presented at the first of the revived EFF-Austin monthly meetings, June 1st at the Flying Saucer. He presented an overview of Internet identity and authentication issues, including some history, going back to Microsoft’s Passport and the .net initiative called Hailstorm, which were about authentication and storing an individual’s information – and which were ultimately not broadly adopted. Tom compared Facebook Connect to Passport/Hailstorm – they’re proprietary services, and they’re efficient, but not resilient. He talked about the evolution of a commons-based approach (Identity Commons) via the Internet Identity Workshop, and Kaliya Hamlin’s concept of user-centric identity – which is about the “Freedom to be who you want to be online – the right to anonymity and pseudonymity,” methods for identify validation and sharing the information you specifically want to share (vs having the data taken from you), and having an ability to control and curate the information about you that appears online. He also brought up the important question of ownership of a personal identifier – who can you trust? How do we avoid being locked into a (commercial) provider of identity/authentication services (like Facebook). A couple of important concepts here: Federation, which is the OpenID model, and delegation, which is the model used in OAuth (used by Twitter) and Facebook Connect. Tom talked about the question whether User-Centric identity is dead. One next step, the OpenID Connect project, isn’t user-centric, but the National Institute for Standards and Technology, there’s a new National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace that is intended to be designed based on a user-centric federation model. (Tom’s slides are at http://effaustin-identity.heroku.com/#1.