March 2011

Save the Rave: AB74 improves, SFPD asks for ID Scans and Surveillance Cameras

BILL NUMBER: AB 74 AMENDEDThis act shall be known and may be cited as the Raves Safety Act

Two days after the San Francisco Youth and Entertainment Commission’s hearing on electronic dance music at San Francisco City Hall, Hillary posted the amended language of AB74 in the Save the Rave Facebook group.  It’s a huge change.  Instead of criminalizing all electronic dance music events over 3 1/2 hours long the way the original bill did, it’s now focused on ensuring that promoters have a safety plan — and it only applies to events with more than 1000 people on state properties.  And a lot of the specific requirements are very sensible, for example the health and safety section should cover “whether the promoter should provide free water, whether the promoter should prohibit any person under 18 years of age from attending the event, adequacy of ventilation, attendance capacity, and exit signs.”

Hmm … where have I heard that before?

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Save the Rave at City Hall: Next Stop Sacramento?

save the rave at city hallIn my 12+ years in the scene – if I ever questioned how diverse we all really are, it was certainly very apparent tonight.

— Samantha Marie, on Facebook

It was a huge success for the electronic dance music community. With the diversity of attendance and the overwhelming support for Supervisor Scott Wiener’s resolution supporting electronic dance, it’s a harbinger of how we’ll work together in the battle over AB74.

— Save the Rave co-chair Matt Haze Kaftor

Over 400 people turned out on a rainy Tuesday night for the San Francisco Youth and Entertainment Commission’s special joint hearing. Several hundred of us were in the overflow room, watching on video until we were called to speak, and cheers erupted again and again as dozens of people spoke beautifully.  We heard from teens, students, teachers, parents, business owners, promoters, lawyers, harm reduction experts, an astrophysicist — and somebody from the San Francisco police department, who described it as the most professional hearing he had heard on the subject.   If you missed it, Trance Family SF has posted the video and mp3 audio.*  I’m so proud to be a member of this community.

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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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Notes from Underground: Transformation, Intersections, and the Road to Ultra

sf road to ultra flyer

With qw3ries and the intersection between writing, activism, entrepreneurship, psytrance, and transformation (and in so many other ways), I’m not just rejecting choices but finding ways to synthesize and combine them.

— from DJ Anomaly at the party without a name

Indeed!  It’s looking like my startup qw3ries‘ first forays into helping everybody get answers and find information may include an ebook about pitch competitions, questions and answers about Patriot Act activism, partnerships with startups specializing in transformation — and who knows, maybe even psytrance.   Meanwhile the re-enegerized #snubor was a hit at SXSW just as politicians including McCain, Kerry, and Obama are calling for an online bill of rights.  And starting next month I’ll be serializing revising my novel about the diversity-friendly social network site g0ddesses.net.  About those intersections …

It’s a banner weekend for electronic dance music in San Francisco.  Tonight John Digweed’s at Ruby Skye, Paul van Dyk’s at 1015, and the Road to Ultra at Mighty including Saturnia, Christine, Helios, David Christophere of Rabbit in the Moon, and more.  Tomorrow it’s Tall Sasha at SupperClub — or Pisces with Kode IV, Michael Liu, and an early (!) set by Witchdokta and Spook.  I heart SF.  I heart psytrance.

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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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Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights: the voting so far

Social Network Users Bill Of RightsThe SXSW panel got a decent amount of attention, including article by Helen A. S. Popkin’s Vote on your ‘Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights’ on MSNBC’s Technolog, Kim Cameron’s post on the Identity Weblog, and a brief link from Mark Sullivan of PC World. Here’s the voting so far

  1. 41 yes 0 no Honesty: Honor your privacy policy and terms of service
  2. 41 yes 0 no Clarity: Make sure that policies, terms of service, and settings are easy to find and understand
  3. 41 yes 0 no Freedom of speech: Do not delete or modify my data without a clear policy and justification
  4. 33 yes 4 no Empowerment : Support assistive technologies and universal accessibility
  5. 35 yes 2 no Self-protection: Support privacy-enhancing technologies
  6. 37 yes 3 no Data minimization: Minimize the information I am required to provide and share with others
  7. 39 yes 1 no Control: Let me control my data, and don’t facilitate sharing it unless I agree first
  8. 39 yes 1 no Predictability: Obtain my prior consent before significantly changing who can see my data.
  9. 38 yes 0 no Data portability: Make it easy for me to obtain a copy of my data
  10. 39 yes 0 no Protection: Treat my data as securely as your own confidential data unless I choose to share it, and notify me if it is compromised
  11. 36 yes 2 no Right to know: Show me how you are using my data and allow me to see who and what has access to it.
  12. 24 yes 13 no Right to self-define: Let me create more than one identity and use pseudonyms. Do not link them without my permission.
  13. 35 yes 1 no Right to appeal: Allow me to appeal punitive actions
  14. 37 yes 1 no Right to withdraw: Allow me to delete my account, and remove my data

So it’s in general overwhelmingly positive: five rights are unanimous, and another eight at 89% or higher.  The one exception: the right to self-define, currently at about 65%.  As I said in a comment on the earlier thread, this right is vital for people like whistleblowers, domestic violence victims, political dissidents, closeted LGBTQs.   I wonder whether the large minority of people who don’t think it matters are thinking about it from those perspectives.

The voting continues at http://SNUBillOfRights.com.  Please voice your opinion!

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#snubor at #sxswi: The Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights panel at South by Southwest

Great discussion! Kudos to organizer Christina Gagnier, panelists Jack Lerner and Lisa Borodkin, and moderator Alex Howard (aka @digiphile).

What next?  You can vote for or against individual rights at the Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights site, and you can also vote for or against the entire bill via Twitter.  My post here has some thoughts, and there are also some questions on Quora (1, 2).  We’ll propose at least one session on the Social Network Users Bill of Rights for this year’s ACM Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference — June 14-16 in DC and online.  Stay tuned!

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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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Q: What should I read to find more about the Q&A space? A: Here’s some links.

two question marksThe Q&A (question and answer site) market segment is red hot right now.  Here’s some links to complement my own posts Life imitates art imitates life, Prisms, Kool-aid, and Opportunity, and What do you think of this one-line pitch for qweries?

The overall landscape

Quora

Stack Overflow

Ask.com

And …

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Preparing for a coaches’ meeting, parts 1 and 2 (DRAFT)

Draft! Revised version to appear as a two-part series on NWEN’s blog.

Congratulations to the 20 companies who advanced to the second round of the First Look Forum!  Hopefully by now you’re already scheduling your meetings with the coaches.   We’ve got a great list of coaches, including some of the highest-profile investors and entrepreneurs in the Seattle area.  From a startup’s perspective, it’s a huge opportunity — and potentially a little scary.

Back in fall 2009, I was in that situation with Qworky.  We were delighted to make it into the second round, and through the luck of the draw one of our coaches was one of the angel investors on our shortlist of “people we really really want to meet”.  Huzzah!  But then everybody’s schedule got busy and we didn’t prepare as thoroughly for the meeting as we had intended to.  One of the other founders still hadn’t left their previous job, and the other had some conflicts, so I wound up doing the meeting by myself …

And I bombed.
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