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Highlights from PDF '11

June 8, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

David and I spent the past couple days in New York City attending the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum. PDF is, in my opinion, the absolute best tech-politics event going. Every year it brings together folks from around the world, from inside and outside of government, and from across political spectrums to talk about how technology is affecting the way people interact with the world and what we should be doing to ensure it is advancing freedom and self governance, not censorship and authoritarianism. This year’s theme was “Agents of Change” - here’s video of few of the most memorable moments.

Copyright-policy-liberator-turned-corruption-fighter Lawrence Lessig asked us to be “rootstrikers” and go at the root of the problems in our democracy before we attempt to solve individual issues.

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Anthropologist Michael Wesch shared his perspective on “how the most remarkable knowledge-collaboration-distraction machine on the planet is changing the way humans get along …or not.”

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Dan Gillmor on media literacy challenges in a networked age.

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Sci-fi author and Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctrow discusses the creeping corporate threats to the democratizing potential of technology.

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Finally Jim Gilliam of 3dna gave one of the most moving and profound talks I have ever witnessed. If you watch only one of these videos, make it this one.

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Also, the Sunlight Foundation unveiled a impressive new tool that I highly recommend you check out. Inbox Influence is a browser extension for Gmail users that reveals the political donations of people who email you. It’s fun, but it also surprisingly illuminating, especially if you’re on a lot of political lists.

Thanks to Micah Sifry, Andrew Rasiej, and the entire PDF staff for organizing another top-notch event. You all are making a difference.

Full disclosure: Micah and Andrew are technology advisors to the Sunlight Foundation, which provides funding to PPF for OpenCongress.

Photo above of Micah from personaldemocracy is used under a CC license.

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