November 19, 2017

Archives for January 2013

FCC Open Internet Advisory Committee Progress

Earlier this year, I wrote about the launch of the Open Internet Advisory Committee (OIAC). The committee’s mandate is to, “track and evaluate the effect of the FCC’s Open Internet rules, and to provide any recommendations it deems appropriate to the FCC regarding policies and practices related to preserving the open Internet.” I’m chairing the group looking at the unique issues in Mobile Broadband networks. Our group just issued its first report, a case study about AT&T’s handling of Apple’s FaceTime application:

AT&T/FaceTime Case Study
Mobile Broadband Working Group, Open Internet Advisory Committee, Federal Communications Commission

I spoke about the progress of our working group, and about the open Internet issues facing mobile broadband networks more generally, here at Princeton as part of CITP’s luncheon series on December 13th: “Open Internet Challenges in Mobile Broadband Networks”. See the video below:

Announcing the Aaron Swartz Memorial Grants

Last week, our community lost Aaron Swartz. We are still reeling. Aaron was a fighter for openness and freedom, and many people have been channeling their grief into positive actions for causes that were close to Aaron’s heart. One of these people is Aaron Greenspan, creator of the open-data site Plainsite and the Think Computer Foundation. Together, we have established a generous set of grants to be awarded to the first person (or group) that develops the following upgrades to RECAP, our court record liberation system. RECAP would not exist without the work of Aaron Swartz.

Three grants are being made available related to RECAP. Each grant is worth $5,000.00:

  1. Grant 1: Develop and release a version of RECAP for the Google Chrome browser that matches the current Firefox browser extension functionality
  2. Grant 2: Develop and release a version of RECAP for Internet Explorer that matches the current Firefox browser extension functionality
  3. Grant 3: Update the Firefox browser extension to capture appellate court documents, and update the RECAP server code to parse them and respond appropriately to browser extension requests

For more details, see The Aaron Swartz Memorial Grants. If you are interested, you must register by the end of January.

We are honored to be part of one of the many projects being undertaken in Aaron Swartz’s honor.

Grieving Aaron Swartz

Aaron took his life yesterday. The world has lost a good soul. Aaron was brilliant, inventive, generous, and passionate. The intense pressure on Aaron was unfair, and it was a direct result of his well-intentioned fight to make the world a better place. I feel sad, angry, and even guilty. Experts will tell you that these emotions are natural in the case of suicide. They are also very real.

Those of you unfamiliar with Aaron Swartz should read Tim Lee’s article, “Internet pioneer and information activist takes his own life”. Memorials and responses are spreading across the web. Cory Doctorow offers his memories and admiration. Larry Lessig expresses his sadness and anger. James Grimmelmann remembers Aaron’s incredible passion, wit, and ingenuity. Hundreds of others are posting about Aaron, and the community of people that he touched is wrestling with it all. His family and partner have posted an official statement.

I was not one of Aaron’s close friends, but for what it’s worth I’ll offer some reflections: my memories of Aaron, my experience with suicide, and my thoughts on the perverse policy and politics that weighed on him. If the last seems inappropriate right now, I would argue that Aaron–of all people–would have wanted this to be discussed.
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