December 12th – 2016 Holiday Party at the Cedar Door

It’s that time of year again! Join us for the EFF-Austin Holiday party on Monday, December 12th, from 6:00pm-8:00pm in the backroom of The Cedar Door at 201 Brazos Street. We will have a full open bar for our guests to make use of (suggested 2 drinks per person), as well as free appetizers courtesy of The Cedar Door.

EFF-Austin (Electronic Frontier Foundation of Austin) is a local advocacy, educational, and community-organizational group that promotes bringing together those interested in learning about the myriad ways in which our ever evolving digital culture affects our communities and our societies. We host monthly meetups featuring speakers on a variety of topics – recent discussions have included Austin’s Regional Intelligence Center, technology and its role in voter empowerment, an overview of the internet’s Domain Name System, digital literacy, and cyborg civil liberties. In addition to this learning, EFF-Austin hopes to provide a resource whereby those interested in creating change in our digital world can meet like-minded minds and have a community to collaborate with and support them in their endeavors.

In addition to the party serving as a chance to get to know our fellow digital citizens in a more relaxed setting, the party is a great opportunity to learn about what’s planned for EFF-Austin in the coming year. Like last year, EFF-Austin has recently welcomed several new board members from diverse backgrounds, bringing us to a fully-staffed board of nine members. We have also seen the appointment of a new president and forged many new relationships with volunteers and other community groups. Given recent events in our country, we find EFF-Austin’s mission more vital than ever, and we hope that you will be inspired to get involved and help us create a free and open digital future for everyone. To that end, we highly encourage you, our fellow digital citizens, to let us know what you would like to see from EFF-Austin in the coming months.

No RSVP required, but we only have room for about 100 attendees at a time, so if you want to make sure you get in RSVP here to get on the list:

Sponsored by

Polycot Associates

Ed Cavazos, EFF-Austin Board Member

Warren G. Hanes, EFF-Austin Advisor

EFF-Austin Social Meetup

Here at EFF-Austin, we regularly schedule monthly meetups on a variety of interesting topics that are hosted by a diverse set of knowledgeable speakers. While these events are great for educating our community, they don’t always afford the most time for our followers to get to know each other, as there often isn’t a lot of time before or after the talks for people to converse. In the past, we’ve hosted a lot of non-meetup events that gave people a chance to get to know each other in a more socially conducive environment, and, with a fully staffed board again, we feel the time is right to start having additional events again.

Join us Thursday, September 8th, at the Butterfly Bar starting at 6pm for food, drink, and good company! Feel like talking about wonky digital civil liberties issues? Go for it! Just wanna hang out with your fellow geeks/activists and share a beer? That’s why we’re doing this! Don’t feel like talking and wanna catch The Vortex Theatre’s puppet play, Atlantis? We’ll have some discounted tickets available if that sounds more your speed!

Come on out, we hope to see there.

August 8th Meetup – Digital Literacy: More Than Just Job Skills

How do technologies extend human capacity and how do they restrain it? What is the positive potential of technology’s amplifying power and what is the negative potential? What holistic development should proceed this amplification? These questions are relevant to responsible engagement with information technologies and the policies surrounding them, but are often missing from conversation in our consumer culture. This consumer culture often includes the people who teach our kids, write our laws, and develop our apps, so what must be done?

When news broke that Facebook was conducting “scientific research” through the alteration of newsfeeds, the mass media and the public broke into a frenzy. People were disturbed that Facebook would intentionally adjust the way personal information between friends and family was delivered. What many did not realize is that their complaint was over a relatively minor adjustment to the relationship-­shaping algorithm that a billion+ people feed and consume each day. Facebook and similar information services shape our intake of social and news information, yet few take the time to consider how the power­-biases affect our lives. In turn, some suggest that conversations like these should be a part of the “liberal arts of the information age.”

Beyond learning how to navigate an interface, the proposed “social study of technology” aims to help individuals develop contextual understanding of technologies and services, in the goal of supporting a largely confused and submissive public. This contextual look at technology can include an economic, technological, and social review of tools and services. The aim of this meetup is to discuss what key digital literacy concepts or facts are missing from popular conversation and education, why they are important, and how we can promote this knowledge. EFF­-Austin has gathered a set of masters in the digital education, policy, rights, and entrepreneurial fields to discuss the matter.

Dr. Robert Friedman of Mozilla Foundation

Robert Friedman works to advance the promise of the Internet for learning by supporting and connecting educators and technologists to collaboratively co-create innovative solutions to shared problems of practice and to leverage the Open Web. Robert is the founding Portfolio Strategist for Hive Austin, the newest member of Mozilla’s global family of urban learning networks; he is here to support Austin EdTech innovators with a grant opportunity from the NSF Gigabit Community Fund at Mozilla. A very recent arrival to Austin, Robert hails from Chicago where he cultivated his practice at Hive Chicago and before then, as an educational designer and manager at the Adler Planetarium. Robert also holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from his past life as a research scientist.

Sean Duffy of EdTech Austin and MakerSquare Austin

Sean Duffy is an educator and edtech leader who is passionate about helping to make meaningful change in education through technology and community-building. Sean is the founder of EdTech Austin, co-­founder of EdTech Action and the lead Organizer for Startup Weekend Education in Austin, TX. Currently, Sean is currently responsible for Employer Partnerships and Hiring with Reactor Core and MakerSquare Austin.

Dr. Sharon Strover of The University of Texas Radio­-TV­-Film

Dr. Strover is the Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication of the Radio-­TV­-Film Department at the University of Texas, where she teaches communications and telecommunications courses and directs the Technology and Information Policy Institute. Some of her current research projects examine local and statewide networks and broadband services; the relationship between economic outcomes and investments in digital media programs in higher education; social media; the digital divide; rural broadband deployment; e-government; telecommunications infrastructure deployment and economic development in rural regions; and market structure and policy issues for international audio­visual industries.

Jon Lebkowsky of EFF­-Austin and Polycot Associates

Jon Lebkowsky is a web consultant/developer, author, and activist who was the co­-founder of FringeWare, Inc., an early attempt at e-commerce and online community. FringeWare’s email list, called the FringeWare News Network, established an international following for the organization, which also opened a store in Austin, Texas. Along with Nancy White, he co-­hosts the ongoing Virtual Communities Conference, the Blog Conference, and the public Inkwell Conference at the seminal online community, the WELL.

Monday, August 8, 2016 at Capital Factory

cropped-EFFAustin-site-logo.png CapitalFactoryLogoBlack-300x262