Hats off to the people who have made the connection between what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri, and the larger drive to intimidate dissent both online and offline.
Fight for the Future has done amazing work on Resetting the Net to a fair, free, and open space where we won’t have to fear internet surveillance and the overarching power of the state.
Now that the eyes of the nation are focused on Ferguson, it’s about time somebody stepped into the breach and turned outrage into real action. The famous Internet call-to-action rallies that defeated SOPA/PIPA can both inform and direct citizens as to where their efforts should go, given their own thoughts.
Knowledge is power. And the open web is an easy, frictionless way to turn knowledge into action.
This piece makes a very eloquent point about how net neutrality and ensuring a measure of balance when it comes to the information being displayed in front of us can make a difference on events on the ground.
A lot of the coverage that has come about Ferguson has been as a result of livestream cameras. At different points of the proceedings, journalists were being arrested, or attacked, or forbidden to film. It was the brave coverage of average citizens on the ground that helped open the eyes of America to what was happening.
If it wasn’t for the conversation and discussion developing on Twitter, perhaps the issue would not have sparked so much reaction as it has. If the news were disseminated more like Facebook, which selects what is shown in your newsfeed, then the details might have been lost.
The algorithmic filtering that Facebook does can be a proxy for what would happen if large, moneyed interests took over what could be displayed on the Internet. It’s an idea of what would happen if the web were closed, only to be used to disseminate the messages the moneyed would want heard—instead of it sparking discussion through the principle of “one voice one vote”.
In that sense, the open web is intimately linked to addressing social issues. In a large sense, the open discussion of difficult, sometimes alternative topics is something that can and will power action on the ground: see what is happening in Ferguson right now.
FFTF is making that link explicit and asking you to sign a petition to help drive action on Ferguson, pressuring lawmakers to stop the militarization of local police. It’s a great initiative that underscores the potential the open web has towards driving meaningful social impact.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgifford/5112676835/