Rebooting the News #76

In Podcast on December 15, 2010 by Jay Rosen

It’s been said that Dave sounds like the actor Jeff Bridges and that Jay sounds like Wallace Shawn.

Wikileaks, continued. “This is not a drill.”

Reflections on the Personal Democracy Forum “flash” conference on Wikileaks and Internet freedom. (Video highlights.)

Dave: Wikileaks has put into bold relief things we have been talking about for a long time without getting people’s attention. Like: We need a Web Trust to publish and store our creative work.

1. It must be long-lived, like a university — probably with an endowment, and a board of trustees, and operations limited to what’s described below. It can’t operate any other kind of business.

2. It must create a least-common-denominator storage system that is accessible through HTTP. Everything must be done with open formats and protocols, meaning all components of its system are replaceable.

3. It must cost money, so the user is a customer and is treated as one. This also allows the vendor to assume its own independence from the interests of the publisher who uses the system. The same way the operator of a printing press was not responsible for the words he or she printed on the paper.

4. Simplicity of the user experience is primary so it can be accessible to as many as possible, and so that technical people don’t provide yet another filter for the free flow of ideas. Factor and re-factor for simplicity.

5. The trust must serve the bits exactly as they were published. No advertising.

Dave: “You can’t host journalism on Amazon anymore.”

Jay: I shouldn’t be, but I am a little shocked that the leaders of companies like Amazon and PayPal didn’t explain their actions. PayPal Vice President of Platform, Mobile and New Ventures Osama Bedier came out at the LeWeb conference and either lied or demonstrated total incompetence in explaining why his company cut off Wikileaks.

Dave: the tech industry has done this over and over. They don’t understand how much scrutiny they they are under.

The French newspaper Liberation decided to host a mirror site for Wikileaks. That was inspiring too.

The EasyDNS story is kind of inspiring, though.

The five key points Jay made at the PDF symposium (in 140 characters or less.)

1. It takes "the world's first stateless news organization" to show our news organizations how statist they really are.

2. The sources are voting with their leaks. That they chose to go to Wikileaks rather than the newspapers says something about the newspapers.

3. The watchdog press died. What's possible today is a distributed "eye on power" system that includes the old press as one component part.

4. It's said the state has a monopoly on the legal use of force. But the state cannot have a monopoly on the legitimate use of digital "force.&quot.

5. Everything a journalist learns that he cannot tell the public alienates him from the public. Wikileaks is built to prevent this alienation.

You can watch the archived livestream of the symposium here.

There was a lot of dispute at the PDF symposium over whether the denial of service attacks on, say, Amazon, were a legitimate form of civil disobedience.

Jay’s post: From Judith Miller to Julian Assange. “Our press somehow got itself on the wrong side of secrecy after September 11th.”

Here’s the show…

2 Responses to “Rebooting the News #76”

  1. We also need a global identity, beyond the whims of governments, political interference, corporations and discrimination.
    4.1 billion people have mobile phones, that’s a hell of a lot more than have democracy or any say in what’s done in their name.

    I am.
    No matter who you are. You are.
    Your identity is yours and no-one should be able to deny you, usurp it or take it away.

    Global identity could enable all the things you say and more.

  2. […] on Thursday: After WikiLeaks, a flood of new questions and New WikiLeaks documentary and Rebooting the News #76 and WikiLeaks: Where’s the […]

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