Thursday, March 10, 2005

Global Voices wiki

The document is now here:
Global Voices wiki

- where you are invited to join the discussion.

The Infrastructure of Democracy

The following is a draft the we developed as part of the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security sponsored by the Club of Madrid. Most of the discussion that led to this document is (or will be) online. I am actually sitting in our presentation to the Summit now. Though this is still a draft, I think it is a very important document. This document is still being revised and will be officially posted so that anyone can comment on it. I will post the location that this e-discussion will occur as soon as I know it.


The Infrastructure of Democracy
Strengthening the Open Internet for a Safer World
March 11, 2005

I. The Internet is a foundation of democratic society in the 21st century, because the core values of the Internet and democracy are so closely aligned.
1. The Internet is fundamentally about openness, participation, and freedom of expression for all -- increasing the diversity and reach of information and ideas.
2. The Internet allows people to communicate and collaborate across borders and belief systems.
3. The Internet unites families and cultures in diaspora; it connects people, helping them to form civil societies.
4. The Internet can foster economic development by connecting people to information and markets.
5. The Internet introduces new ideas and views to those who may be isolated and prone to political violence.
6. The Internet is neither above nor below the law. The same legal principles that apply in the physical world also apply to human activities conducted over the Internet.

II. Decentralized systems -- the power of many -- can combat decentralized foes.
1. Terrorist networks are highly decentralized and distributed. A centralized effort by itself cannot effectively fight terrorism.
2. Terrorism is everyone's issue. The internet connects everyone. A connected citizenry is the best defense against terrorist propaganda.
3. As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.
4. As we are seeing in the distributed world of weblogs and other kinds of citizen media, truth emerges best in open conversation among people with divergent views.

III. The best response to abuses of openness is more openness.
1. Open, transparent environments are more secure and more stable than closed, opaque ones.
2. While Internet services can be interrupted, the Internet as a global system is ultimately resilient to attacks, even sophisticated and widely distributed ones.
3. The connectedness of the Internet – people talking with people – counters the divisiveness terrorists are trying to create.
4. The openness of the Internet may be exploited by terrorists, but as with democratic governments, openness minimizes the likelihood of terrorist acts and enables effective responses to terrorism. fertile ground...

IV. Well-meaning regulation of the Internet in established democracies could threaten the development of emerging democracies.
1. Terrorism cannot destroy the internet, but over-zealous legislation in response to terrorism could. Governments should consider mandating changes to core Internet functionality only with extraordinary caution.
2. Some government initiatives that look reasonable in fact violate the basic principles that have made the Internet a success.
3. For example, several interests have called for an end to anonymity. This would be highly unlikely to stop determined terrorists, but it would have a chilling effect on political activity and thereby reduce freedom and transparency. Limiting anonymity would have a cascading series of unintended results that would hurt freedom of expression, especially in countries seeking transition to democratic rule.

V. In conclusion we urge those gathered here in Madrid to:
1. Embrace the open Internet as a foundation of 21st Century democracy, and a critical tool in the fight against terrorism.
2. Recognizing the Internet's value as a critical communications infrastructure, invest to strengthen it against attacks and recover quickly from damage.
3. Work to spread access more evenly, aggressively addressing the Digital Divide, and to provide Internet access for all.
4. To protect free speech and association, endorse the availability of anonymous communications for all.
5. Resist attempts at international governance of the Internet: It can introduce processes that have unintended effects and violate the bottom-up democratic nature of the Net.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Democracy, Terrorism and the Open Internet

Joi Ito has invited me to participate in a summit at the
International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism, and Security in Madrid, Spain next week. I will be involved in a workshop on Democracy, Terrorism and the Open Internet.

The description of the workshop is:
Despite their anti-modern ideology, some of the most violent terrorist groups have also been the most skilled in exploiting the advantages of the Internet. How can we stop this abuse of modern communications technology, while preserving the advantages and freedoms that it offers?

This is interesting for Croquet because it goes directly to the heart of what Croquet is about. We want to build a system that allows for high bandwidth communication between individuals, ultimately fostering a much better understanding of the other's point of view. And we want it to be done securely. Why is this important? There are a number of very good reasons - protecting children from predators, protecting businesses from other businesses, protecting an individuals and a groups privacy from prying governments. Why is this a problem? Because bad guys can use it too.

Perhaps I will learn a way to resolve this problem in Madrid. I doubt it. I think that the only real answer is to open the channels of communication even wider, rather than trying to figure out how to control them even more. Friends tend not to kill each other.

reverse order

Read the previous set of picture blogs from the earliest to the most recent for best effect.

New Croquet Interface

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here we have zoomed into the image such that the Wicket editor takes over the entire screen. This is interesting because we have completely replaced the old Croquet interface with a new CAD interface. This idea of "soft" interfaces is the basis of the next generation of Croquet updates. These interfaces will be quite easy to develop and can be easily added or removed. Should make the system far more flexible and powerful.

Wire frame view

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here I have selected the wireframe button which filters the view through the portal.

Make more stuff

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here we have used the new surfaces of the block to create even more objects. The original block is the parent frame, hence when we select it, all of the objects that we attached to it are also selected. If we select one of the children, only it and its children are selected. Notice that here I have also made a cylinder and a cone. This is done by selecting the circle base and either the 90 degree extrusion to generate the cylinder, or the point extrusion which was used to generate the cone. The other buttons are not working yet.

Rotate the block

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Same as before.

Select the new block

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here we have selected the arrow button again and selected the block. By the way, notice that the grid on the floor is only visible through the portal as is the selection box around the block.

Make a box

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here we have selected the rectangle base button with an associated 90 degree extrusion. When we click and drag on a surface, in this case the floor, we see a rectangle. Once we release the mouse, a new object is extruded. Unfortunately, I couldn't do a screen shot while the mouse was down so I don't have a shot of the rectangle on the floor.

Move the object

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
The selected object can be moved using the corner handles. The object moves parallel to the side the handle is on.

Rotate an object

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
The selected object can be rotated via the edge handles.

Wicket Selection

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here the arrow button is selected, which means that when I click through the portal, the target object will get a new selection box.

Wicket and things to come

Originally uploaded by Croqueteer.
Here are a number of screen shots of Wicket. This is a very preliminary application, but made us decide to completely rethink the nature of the Croquet interface. It will be a dramatic and powerful change.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Everyone is sick - Standalone TeaTime

Just got back from Boulder, CO. So almost everyone I work with is sick now. I feel bad that I might have been the vector for some of them. I am feeling MUCH better now, though.

So David Reed sent me a factored version of TeaTime. This is a stand-alone working version of TeaTime that is outside of Croquet. The main reason he did this was because I will be making some very large changes to the user interface architecture. This gives me the flexibility I need to do it properly and further, have the new interface be designed around TeaTime instead of the other way around.

This has been a good week, except for everyone getting sick...