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This past Monday & Tuesday in NYC was Personal Democracy Forum Conference, the best in the game - great assemblage of tech-policy thinkers. My eighth year in a row, eight of nine overall, wouldn't miss it. Please find below videos of a couple of my favorite presentations (click through). 

Help PPF with a charitable donation, and we'll build more free Web tools for activism like Yochai describes - libre, open-source, non-partisan, and not-for-profit. We can faciliate more distributed, stop-SOPA style activism around a broader range of bills & legislative issues. 

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One of the things that became clear in Congress’ push to pass Hollywood’s web censorship bills is that powerful corporations and the federal government do not want the rule of law to apply on the internet. The attitude that our basic freedoms and legal protections are somehow not valid on the internet is partly just the kind of reaction you would expect from entrenched powers whenever new technologies emerge, but it’s also a response to the particular peer-to-peer features of the internet that threaten to make their key sources of power -- control of information flow -- less relevant.

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Last month’s flurry of Stop-PIPA & Stop-SOPA online protests were an apex of activity for OpenCongress. Not only was January 18th, 2012 the single-highest day of traffic on OC since our launch in February 2007, but also the stop-PIPA action was in many ways the height of user engagement with active legislation in the U.S. Congress. The huge “Internet blackout” event on January 18th was OC’s single largest day of traffic, with over 250,000 visits and more than half a million pageviews (and likely would have been much higher if we could afford more servers and cloud-scaling ability to handle the traffic rush).

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Join the Public Mark-up of SOPA

November 19, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

As you have probably heard, Congress is working with Big Content companies and unions to quickly pass legislation that would give corporations and the government new powers to take down websites and censor the web. Public-interest groups have been trying to get a seat at the table to explain why the bill is maybe not such a great idea, but so far they've been shut out.

The bill is the Stop Online Piracy Act, and in response to the closed nature of how it's being pushed through Congress, we've been encouraging folks to join in an ongoing public mark-up of the legislation here on OpenCongress. Using our in-line bill text commenting functionality, OpenCongress users have submitted over 100 public comments to specific lines and paragraphs of the bill. People are flagging important sections of the text, helping each other digest the legalese, and collaboratively analyzing the implications of what is being proposed.

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Scientists Want More Scientific Integrity in Congress

February 25, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Frustrated by the all-powerful influence of corporations and special interests in congressional decision making? Do you wish more federal policy was guided by science and objective research? Well, some concerned scientists have an idea for a solution.

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More on Cybersecurity

May 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There's been more talk than usual in Congress recently about the issue of cyber security. I think we're all convinced that it's a serious issue and that there needs to be some kind of unified effort to address it. But it's been difficult for any of us outside the realms of information security and technology to know what to do -- or even to begin talking and thinking about what to do. Most people seem to agree that the bill introduced into Congress, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, does not t...

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The Cybersecurity Act

April 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

“America’s vulnerability to massive cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks has emerged as one of the most urgent national security problems facing our country today,” says Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]. "If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

To deal with the issue, she has teamed up with Sen. John Rockefeller [D, WV] and introduced into Congress the Cybersecurity Act of 2009. Since it's introduction on April 1st, it has moved up the OpenCongress most-viewed bills list into the top five, and here's why: it would give the President unilateral authority to shut down the internet.

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Recovery.gov Goes Live

February 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The stimulus bill hasn't (update: has been) been signed into law yet, but one of its mandates - the establishment of a public website to track how the stimulus funds are being spent - has already been implemented.

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