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Tonight: Save the Rave — live at City Hall!

“We’re dealing with the most difficult-to-motivate generation ever. People today feel so powerless, like they can’t have an impact on anything that matters. But you can! So one of the things I’m trying to share with the community is that when you come together, we can make a difference. ”

– Save the Rave organizer Liam Shy

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What’s the best technology base for an activism Q&A website?

two question marksAn activism group I know is thinking about setting up a Q&A (question-and-answer) site.  What technology base should they use?

Here’s the functionality wishlist:

  1. users can ask and answer questions, vote on others’ answers, and leave comments
  2. multilingual and accessible
  3. a pleasant and attractive user experience
  4. good moderation tools
  5. easy to attach tags (or categories) to questions and to browse all the questions in a category
  6. people can sign in with their existing Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. IDs
  7. questions, answers, and comments are easy to tweet and look good when posted on Facebook etc.
  8. there’s a way to include Twitter, Facebook, etc. responses as answers or comments
  9. users can have profiles if they want but don’t have to spend any time setting them up
  10. the overall look-and-feel can be customized (to match the activism campaign’s overall branding)
  11. there are a few options for themes for questions, answers, profiles, and categories
  12. it’s possible to integrate discussion forum and chat software [to help people as they’re learning to use the system, and to talk about ‘lessons learned’ as we’re using it]
  13. secure
  14. privacy-friendly (meaning a robust privacy policy if it’s hosted elsewhere)

In general, open-source software with a fairly  unrestrictive license (BSD-style) is preferable; if the GPL’ed or commercial tools for the job are better, that’s fine too.

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What next for the Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights?

Social Network Users Bill Of Rights

A broadly-recognized social network users’ bill of rights will be a huge step forward for online freedom and privacy. For me, and hundreds of millions of others, sites like Facebook, Twitter, tribe.net, and free-association are how I stay in touch with friends and family. As Voces Contra Las FARC, Barack Obama, #iranelection, and hundreds of other campaigns have shown, social network sites are also vital for political activism. And yet, today we the users of the sites have only minimal rights.

— me, in It’s time for a Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights, June 2010

Today’s SXSW panel Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights: You Decide is a great chance to rekindle the energy on the #billofrights (as we like to say on Twitter).   Panelists Christina Gagnier, Lisa Borodkin, and Jack Lerner all spoke at last year’s ACM Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference last year when we crafted the document.*  Alex Howard of O’Reilly joins them.  Cool!  Check out the #snubor hashtag!

I like what CFP has done because I think they’ve covered all the bases, and they’ve done it with language that 95 percent of Web users can understand.

— Terry Sweeney, A Manifesto in the Name of Privacy, Internet Evolution

Since last June, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have helped highlight the importance of social networks for political purposes, the Commerce Department has called for an online Privacy Bill of Rights — and ongoing news stories like A Chinese Activist and Mark Zuckerberg’s Dog continue to spotlight many social network sites’ challenges with free speech, and pseudonymity.  With this year’s CFP scheduled for Washington DC in mid-June, now’s a perfect time to get serious about organizing.

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It’s Valentine’s Day (aka 25 Bahman), and people all over the world are fighting for their civil liberties

Two and a half years after I wrote It’s the Fourth of July and we’re fighting for our civil liberties, it’s another activism-filled holiday. Today’s House vote extending the Patriot Act until December went as expected, passing 275-144.   Now the action shifts to the Senate; EFF has more.   Nothing to see here, move along, move along …

Or maybe not.  27 Republicans bucked their leadership and stood up for the Constitution.  Walter Jones of North Carolina joined Tom McClintock of California in apologizing for their past support of the Patriot Act.  Jason Chaffetz of Utah and others who voted for HR 514 spoke of the importance of having hearings and looking to amend the process.  At the very least, it’ll be hard for the Obama Administration and their Congressional allies to get the multi-year extension they want.  With Ron Paul once again rocking CPAC and contemplating another presidential run, we might well see some fireworks later this year.  Stay tuned.

feb14Meanwhile in the Middle East, the 25 Bahman protests in Iran followed revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.  There are estimates of tens to hundreds of thousands of people in Tehran, and big protests in Shiraz and Esfehan.  A re-energized Sea of Green? With the “Days of Rage” in Bahrain, and protestors battling demonstrations in Yemen, there’s a sense that something’s in the air …

I spent the with my Facebook and Twitter avatars showing support for the protesters in Iran, glued to Twazzup, splitting time between the #25Bahman and #iranelection and  the Patriot Act debate.  There were familiar names everywhere, my Get FISA Right friends like Sally, Patrick, Korkie, Mark, Jim and Julian … our allies from BORDC and EFF like Shahid, Rainey, Chip, and Kevin … and from the #iranelection hashtag: @IranRiggedElection, @iran88, Josh Shahryar, @oxfordgirl, @lissnup, and perhaps even the unexpected return of @persiankiwi. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but social networks really can change the world.

The fight will resume tomorrow, all over the world.  Tonight, though, I’ll be hanging out with the woman I love celebrating Valentine’s Day.  How cool is that?

jon

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ACTION ALERT: House PATRIOT Act vote on Monday!

Monday at 6:30 Eastern, the House is once again voting on HR514, which extends the PATRIOT Act until December of this year without introducing any new safeguards.   So please try to find time this weekend to get involved and get the word out!

To start with:

Then help get the word out!

  • email this info to people
  • share it on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter
  • leave a comment on any blog posts, articles, Facebook groups, and message board threads discussing the PATRIOT Act and make sure to include the link to the POPVOX page: http://bit.ly/oppose514
  • and if you’re on Twitter, tweet early and often using #patriotact hashtag — some suggested tweets in the first comment

Get FISA Right will be having a chat during the vote on Monday — watch our blog at http://getfisaright.wordpress.com/ for updates.

Have a great weekend … and make some noise!

jon

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Demand JUSTICE, not the PATRIOT Act!

It’s time to go on the offensive! Here’s the action alert Bill of Rights Defense Committee just sent out. Please help by using POPVOX to support the reintroduction of the JUSTICE Act, and getting the word out widely in email, via Facebook, and on Twitter. The House is expected to vote again early next week so now is a critical time to make some noise!

– jon


Ten years after passing the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress is again debating this enormous expansion of government power. With three provisions set to expire at the end of this month, and Tuesday’s revolt in the House against fast-track reauthorization, there has never been a better time to insist that Congress restore constitutional rights.

Take action now. Demand that your congressional representatives support meaningful reforms through the JUSTICE Act.

A law so extensive that many members of Congress admitted to having never read it, the USA PATRIOT Act has been in place for too long—and there has been too little debate on its dramatic expansion of executive power—to allow a reauthorization without debate.
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Patriot house alert breaks heads: found art from Twitter

Images from Twazzup’s Patriot Act page as the House prepares to vote again on the Patriot Act extension.  The refrigerator magnets on the top are the most common words and hashtags.

patriot house alert breaks headspatriot act live

You can weigh in on the head-breaking yourself via POPVOX, Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, Downsize DC or the phone. Julian Sanchez’ Now what? and the ACLU’s letter describe why you should ask your Representative to oppose HR514, the sneak attempt to extend the Patriot Act without a debate.

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Notes from Underground: I’m noticing a pattern here …

synchronizeHey, guess what?  Civil liberties activism and psytrance!

Back in 2008, It’s the Fourth of July and we’re fighting for our civil liberties was written the day after Senator Obama responded to Get FISA Right’s open letter.  It was a great moment in grassroots civil liberties activism, and the bonds we formed then have remained.  It’s Goa Gil’s birthdy, and we’re *still* fighting for our civil liberties is from October 2009, in the midst of the battle over Patriot Act renewal.  Hail Eris!  All Hail Discordia! is from December 2010, featuring wikileaks and anti-TSA activism.  Hey wait a second.  I’m noticing a pattern here …

Tonight we’re in the middle of another Patriot Act battle; trying to building on an unexpected victory with grassroots activism.  As always the odds are stacked against us … hey, if changing the world were easy, everybody would do it!  With Tunisia and Egypt leading the way, 2011 is shaping up to be the year where social network activism breaks through internationally.  Will it happen here?

synchronizeBut the Patriot Act isn’t the only civil liberties battle that matters.  The TSA is still clinging to its scanning/groping policy, insisting that the only way to keep us safe is to touch the breasts and genitals of 2% of travellers (including all Sikhs, women wearing saris, and other “anomalies”).  And here in California, Save the Rave is taking the lead in standing for our right to peacefully assemble and fighting back against the war on fun.   When worlds collide …

So after spending the last week hunched over a computer dealing with the bizarreness of legislative process (“S.249 is also S.289 is likely to make it to the floor, while S.193 aka S.290 may get marked up by the SJC, but how to reconcile with HR 514?”), it was great to go out tonight to Synchronize, San Francisco’s Wednesday night psytrance weekly.  As usual, there were few dozen people there, and the DJs tonight were great.  I got there at 11:30 and danced until 1:55, when it closed.

Tomorrow’s back to work, and I’ll be hurting in the morning. But it’s worth it.

I heart psytrance.

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Patriot Act renewal: building on an unexpected victory (DRAFT!)

Draft! Work in progress! Feedback welcome!

Talk about a shocker!  24 Republicans (including 8 new members) joined with 124 Democrats to stand up for civil liberties and defeat an attempt to sneak Patriot Act Reauthorization through the House.  Here’s what EFF, Wired, and the Washington Post have to say about this unexpected victory.

Thanks to everybody who joined in the flash activism campaign and made some noise!  It was a great multi-partisan campaign that broke through the media blackout and got some attention.  So let’s take a moment to celebrate!

Okay, now back to work.
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Following the Patriot Act battle on Twitter with Twazzup

ACTION ALERT: Ask Obama to veto the PATRIOT Act, April 5.

ACTION ALERT: Meet with members of Congress about the PATRIOT Act, April 18-May 1

Most popular linksTwazzup did a custom Twitter backchannel for Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference back in June 2009, and soon after that became the best way to follow the #iranelection protests. Later that year they were kind enough to set up getfisaright.twazzup.com and at least for me it remains the best way to follow the Patriot Act action on Twitter.

patriot congress urgent demand action
#patriotact #tcot #p2 #congress #fbThe buttons aren’t just refrigerator art, they let you see what words and hashtags are the most common … #p2 and #tcot are arch rivals (the biggest progressive and conservative hashtags) and unusually enough they’re in agreement right now: we are sick of Washington trying to sneak the Patriot Act extension past us rather than having a proper debate.

The “Most Popular Links” and “Popular Tweets” sections make it easy to see at a glance what’s going on — and you can click to translate foreign tweets into English. There’s also a useful (and pretty!) “community” section.

I wonder how many tea party freshmen are going to be voting to renew the USA Patriot Act tomorrow.

You don’t have to have a Twitter account to use Twazzup. If you want to join in the conversation, though, our If you’re new to Twitter page has some suggestions.

Please join us!
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Patriot Act renewal: Time to make some noise. Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

Update, February 11: The House will be voting on HR 514 again soon.  Keep making noise!  Shahid Buttar’s Demand JUSTICE for the PATRIOT Act has the latest.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act will sunset unless Congress renews them by the end of February. The Obama Administration is working with its allies in Congress to extend Bush Administration policies including National Security Letters , “sneak-and-peak”, and warrantless wiretapping.  On February 8, the House unexpectedly stood up and defeated HR 514, which would reauthorize the odious clauses until December.  It’s back for another vote, though.  With there are three bills in the Senate, and Congress is on recess the last week of the month, it’s not a pretty picture.

Time to make some noise.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

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Blog for Choice Day: Yes, I’m concerned — and also encouraged

Today’s Blog for Choice Day. This year’s question is

Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

To which my answer is a resounding “yes”.  The combination of well-financed political assaults on women’s right to choose, assassinations years of packing courts with conservatives, and lack of support from key Democrats have all severely restricted women’s right to choose.  In fact, “concerned” isn’t strong enough: alarmed, scared, and angry.

But as NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said in their post, I’m not defeated.  In fact, I’m with Shark-Fu, who has a great post on Angry Black Bitch: Be Encouraged

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