Panel on Internet Freedom

Next week, ThoughtWorks and The Churchill Club is organizing a live panel about Internet freedom and the implications of the recent WikiLeaks events. This is going to be a world class event with very engaging speakers, and it will also be streamed live if you can’t attend in person. Daniel Ellsberg, Peter Thiel, Clay Shirky, Jonathan Zittrain and Roy Singham will discuss various important subjects touching on the WikiLeaks controversy:

WikiLeaks: Why it Matters. Why it Doesn’t?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
5:30-8:30 PM Pacific Standard Time

The purpose of this discussion is to take an objective look at the WikiLeaks controversy and its potential threats to the future of the free Internet. Notwithstanding the varied personal opinions of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, this issue reaches beyond the actions of one person or one website. Precedents that will determine the very future of the Internet are being set as the world grapples with new social and information models. This is a serious issue worthy of serious discussion and debate.

Paul Jay, CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network will moderate the panel, which includes:

  • Daniel Ellsberg, Former State and Defense Dept. Officialy prosecuted for releasing the Pentagon Papers
  • Clay Shirky, Independent Internet Professional; Adjunct Professor, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University
  • Neville Roy Singham, Founder and Chairman, ThoughtWorks
  • Peter Thiel, President, Clarium Capital; Managing Partner, Founder’s Fund
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University; Co-founder, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Please join us along with other executives from diverse industries and positions, all of whom will gather to listen and engage with these panelists who represent a rich cross section of the communities impacted by the WikiLeaks issue.

Attend in person!

Santa Clara Marriott: 2700 Mission College Boulevard · Santa Clara, California 95054 USA

A buffet dinner will be served.

To register to attend this event please visit the Churchill Club’s Website at : There is a small charge for this event, however guests of ThoughtWorks may use a special discount, gtworks25, to receive the Churchill Club’s member rate.

View live-streamed event

The Real News Network:

Blog about the future of the Internet

I have decided I have several things related to Wikileaks, the future of the Internet and other related things that I want to write about. However, that content seems like it will be a bit far from what I usually write about in this blog (however seldom that actually is). So I’ve decided to create a new, parallel blog for these postings. I will not make any notice of new blog posts on that blog here and the posts to that blog will not be syndicated through the ThoughtWorks blog syndication. If you are interested in what I have to say on these issues, the new blog is can be found here. That’s all.

The End of the Free Internet – Panel tomorrow

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010) at 8:15pm EST, Rebecca ParsonsTim Bray and Marc Rotenberg will participate in a panel discussion hosted by The Real News and moderated by Paul Jay. The discussion will focus on these questions:

  • What does the cut off of service to WikiLeaks mean for the future of the Internet?
  • Will digital journalism be less protected?
  • Was WikiLeaks afforded procedural protections before its website and DNS entries were shut down? What process should be required?
  • The Internet is vulnerable to internal threats. What technical innovations are needed?
  • Can leaks ever be stopped? Is it worth the price?
If you have an interest in the impact of the recent events on the future of a free and open Internet, I urge you to come watch!
For more information and a link to the actual broadcast, go here.

Boycotting Amazon and PayPal

After the events the last week I see no other alternative but to boycott Amazon and PayPal. I wanted to just very quickly make a note here that I have closed my accounts with both, and explain why.

Amazons decision to stop hosting WikiLeaks is said to have been based on terms-of-use violations, however – these violations didn’t stop Amazon from hosting WL the last two times – and there are many other web sites on Amazon that have likewise questionable content. If anyone where to write a book based on the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, would Amazon not sell it then? I can’t help but believe that the real reason Amazon stopped hosting WikiLeaks had to do with pressure applied from Joe Lieberman and the US Government. As far as outside observers can determine, there seems to have been no legal process – but rather just a phone call from Liebermans department. It sets a very dangerous precedent when a large company and a de-facto common carrier folds like this from Government pressure.

Very quickly after Amazon folded, Tableau Software decided to do the same without any contact from Liebermans department.

On Saturday, it was announced that PayPal had decided to follow suit and cancel WikiLeaks donation account.

For many reasons, these three incidents have convinced me that I have to make a moral stand and boycott Amazon and PayPal – I have cancelled my accounts. I urge you to do the same if you feel that the last few days events have been a dangerous precedent.