After skimming through sites of various political issues, I landed on this one: http://www.eff.org/ — the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which seemed particularly relevant to our studies. The homepage states “EFF Joins With Internet Companies and Advocacy Groups to Reform Privacy Law,” and diving deeper into the site they outline the key issues:
- Free Speech (anonymity, bloggers’ rights)
- Innovation (accessibility for the reading disabled, Coders’ Rights Project)
- Intellectual property (file sharing, No Downtime for Free Speech Campaign)
- International (The Global Network Initiative)
- Privacy (cell tracking, social networks)
- Transparency (Terms of (Ab)Use, Test Your ISP)
It offers information about each of the issues, including detailed pages about bloggers’ and coders’ right, with court cases supporting these rights. The site pulls in noteworthy news articles and blogs from various sources, has its own EFF Press Room section, and offers the ability to join EFF.
One of the most intriguing features of the EFF website is the “Takedown Hall of Shame: Bogus copyright and trademark complaints have threatened all kinds of creative expression on the Internet. EFF’s Hall of Shame collects the worst of the worst.” This consists of: energy company rages against activist’s comedic spoof, music publisher tries to muzzle podcast criticizing Akon, NPR forces takedown of political ad weeks before critical vote, and many more.
Before settling on this particular site, I actually found the majority of the other sites I came across did NOT have a space for open political discussion. It was interesting that this one in particular doesn’t either. It emphasizes how the EFF is present in many networks: Twitter, Identi.ca, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook, (which may allow for some discussion outside of the site) and allows users to join. But the closest to discussion that users can get is submitting to the hall of shame. Instead, the EFF is just encouraging viewers to donate, learn about the issues and “surveillance self defense”, and to take action.
What the EFF seems to be getting at is that they are presenting you with all of the information, so rather than discussing in this online space with other activists—take action! And discuss it with those that may have more influence. The most recent activity on the take action page is: Don’t Let Google Close the Book on Reader Privacy… “Email Google CEO Eric Schmidt today and demand that the new Google Book Search service protect your privacy rights. Tell him that you won’t pay for digital books with your privacy and that Google Book Search must include these basic safeguards to protect readers!”
- Complete the form below with your information.
- Personalize the subject and text of the message on the right with your own words, if you wish.
- Click the Send Your Message button to send your letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
While there seems to be no balance between presentation and discussion of political information, perhaps it is meant for bloggers and coders that likely are activity involved in discussion elsewhere. Here is the place to actually take action.