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Internet of People: next steps

12 Sep 2017 12:09

Hey folks,

I wanted to write this earlier but then conference season hit. Let’s have a quick chat about the next steps for the Internet of People.

Renata and I spoke a little while back and we’re on the same page that the best step forward to developing the Internet of People policies is to do so independently – within a new not-for-profit dedicated to the purpose (the Indienet Institute; see below). The process will, of course, continue to have input from DiEM25 and be implemented by DiEM25 as the 7th pillar of the Progressive Agenda for Europe. Beyond that, it will also have input from (and the legitimacy of) a panel of respected experts in the field and be open to input and adoption by any progressive political movement should they choose to get involved (e.g., Greens, Pirates, etc.)

The next steps, as we see them:

    1. Ind.ie will set up the Indienet Institute as a not-for-profit in Ireland. The process for this will begin this month. The raison d’être of the Indienet Institute is to encourage the transition to an Internet of People. Drafting of the tech policies is one of the core aspects of realising this mission. (Ind.ie itself will transition to the Indienet Institute iteratively as we don’t have the resources to move everything over overnight (see Evolution). Once the transition is complete, Ind.ie will be shut down and we will continue our work as the Indienet Institute.)

    2. The Indienet Institute will be working with progressive partners across disciplines (technology, politics, etc.) with DiEM25 being the first (if this needs a separate validating council vote, please go ahead with it.)

    3. Ind.ie now mirrors the content that we currently have on the DiEM25 forum on the Ind.ie forum. We should decide whether the posts should be mirrored back and kept up to date on the DiEM25 forum or whether they should forward to the Ind.ie forum and the DiEM25 forum used solely to discuss how the policies should be implemented internally at DiEM25 and as part of the 7th pillar, etc.

    4. We will form an advisory panel of experts from the field of ethical technology to help us continue (and legitimise) the process of drafting the policies.

    5. We will extend invitations to members/representatives of other progressive movements and parties (e.g., Greens, Pirates, Podemos… other suggestions welcome) so they can have a voice/input in the process also.

    6. Renata will continue to co-lead the project with me and act as DiEM25’s ambassador for the initiative. She’ll be the main interface between the independent effort and DiEM25’s adoption/implementation of the tech policies.

I’ll also be emailing the contents of this post to members of the CC (Yanis, Srećko, Renata, Judith, etc.) so they know it exists, but everyone please reply openly on the DiEM25 forum so that we can have this conversation (and hopefully others in the future) openly and transparently.

Thoughts and comments welcome. Here’s to taking the next steps down this path together with an even stronger structure that will ensure that the policies we draft have the greatest legitimacy, benefit as wide a spectrum of our allies as possible, and have the best chance of helping democratise the world.

Lots of love from sunny and wonderful Malaga.
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

13 Sep 2017 07:05

Hi Aral,

This is great. I would recommend to do the mirroring back at least for a period of time. Otherwise it just turns into an additional fragmentation of the platforms of communication. Perhaps, the messages that are mirrored back can be modified to have a disclaimer in the beginning or at the end that says "please continue this conversation on Ind.ie forum".

Could you also make clear how the d25.community mastodon differs in use and intentions from the ind.ie forum?

Thanks for still being around :)


Edit: one more point. It would be wise to have clear pathway for transition from the current platforms to these new ones. That is without forgetting of the less tech savy members.
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

13 Sep 2017 08:03

Not forgetting the less tech savy members is a very good idea. Thank you :D
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

15 Sep 2017 11:22

How could one get involved, which specific topics do you want to address like privacy, AI, cryptocurrencies?
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

15 Sep 2017 16:57

Dear Aral,

The CC will discuss this new development in its next teleconference.

Off the cuff, there is a concern about maintaining our internal democracy in this setting. DiEM25's policy must reflect its members' wishes. Given the complexity of the topic and the many policy decisions to be taken in this regard, it is not enough to have a yes/no vote on adopting a paper proposed by an outside expert committee. We will probably use your paper as one of the inputs, along with collecting inputs from each DSC or member group that wants to make proposals, and go through the same iterative collective editing process as for all whitepapers.

Best wishes,

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Re: Internet of People: next steps

10 Oct 2017 14:01

"Off the cuff, there is a concern about maintaining our internal democracy in this setting. DiEM25's policy must reflect its members' wishes. Given the complexity of the topic and the many policy decisions to be taken in this regard"

The necessity and direction of policy decisions in this regard would only depend only on adhering to the principles of freedom and democracy - which are under further threat here. I do however understand that many are not fully aware of the threats to democracy that new technologies provide (which is a danger long foreseen by some), and that are already becoming reality.

There is a company called Cambridge Analytica. It buys data from the big data farmers, and applies established science to it to tailor political messages (including alternative facts) towards individual recipients - which they know pretty well just by evaluating browsing history, likes and smartphone data . Although its influence in the Brexit and Trump campaigns have been subject to some debate, and are likely somewhat exaggerated by Cambridge Analytica for commercial purposes, scientist have little doubt on the feasibility of this technology nor its future impact on elections.

"...data analysis of CA are to a large degree based on the academic work of Michal Kosinski. In 2008 Kosinski had joined the Psychometrics Centre of Cambridge University where he then developed with his coworkers a profiling system using general online data, Facebook-likes, and smartphone data. He showed that with a limited number of "likes" people can be analyzed better than friends or relatives can do and that individual psychological targeting is a powerful tool to influence people."

Obviously, if you know people well, you can manipulate them well. This is the business model of Cambridge Analytica, and it will be of other companies that will enter the same market. The sad thing is that citizens are feeding the technology to undermine their own political power unwittingly.

Applying this technology requires wealth, so it will be inevitably be used against democracy in favour of wealth. It would be ill-advised to ignore this future if you are planning for that future, so this one has absolute priority for me - not only in terms of policy creation but also in educating Diem25 members and potential voters.


Dutch VPRO in-depth documentary on the subject (Dutch) which includes an interview with Michal Kosinski, on whose research Cambridge Analytica based their tejhnology aimed against democracy.
https://www.vpro.nl/programmas/tegenlic ... ouwen.html
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

10 Oct 2017 14:20

I agree with Judith Meyer that this is not an ideal approach. Expertise matters but just putting it to an independent institute with ‘experts only’ doesn’t seem like a good approach for a people’s internet. I would think that all members are experts as internet people users and many have sufficient professional experience in the field to give a funded opinion. I believe it would also need to be clearer what background, interests and current ‘command structure’ the institute Aral mentions has. That might be clear to some, to me it’s not. It’s great to have experts involved but process, implementation lications and involvement need to be defined and agreed upon.
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

18 Oct 2017 10:35

The classical dilemma of tech-savvy discussions on process and tools that effect everyone without the required knowledge or understanding and/or awareness by the masses required to not only identify the breadth and importance of the issue, but also make an informed decision.
While the base of free and properly designed and useable tools/apps has been growing exponentially such IT infrastructure is imho a necessity and topic that carries wider than the DiEM25 movement, so the development via the parallel Indie Institute path makes sense to me.

For the ind.ie techies it is essential to facilitate the non-tech savvy public as soon as possible with the properly designed and user-friendly tools, that should be adopted by DiEM25 as part of the (7th pillar) fundament for an alternate fair society. Mirroring forum 2-way is therefore preferred, preferably supported by the DiEM25 member vote.
Personally I do believe in Aral's 'crusade' for a fundamentally sound and open free software based platform as he has been advocating also outside of DiEM25 and building. If not already existing alignment of development with 'the commons' and similarly spirited techies and activists should be done in parallel to that with DiEM25 movement, as it can (and will) boost adoption, features, versatility and user experience on a much broader scale to form a viable alternative to the extractive commercial and privacy abusive tools and apps commonly used on the internet.
Such parallel path also allows outside funding for the Indie path, besides what DiEM25 wants to contribute of it's budget for their critical development supporting much (if not all !) of its goals.

For this perhaps a Theme-based international DSC could be formed to interface between the DiEM25 member community and educate / campaign for the necessary democratic support base and voting (including that of the VC and CC) on the development and operational budget the tech-savvy and developers do require for an optimal prioritisation for DiEM25 (& wider ?) adoption of the tools.
I recommend and invite all DiEM'rs to get this need, as a recurring topic, on their DSC agendas and will add this option to our ongoing discussion in the Utrecht NL DSC, PNC and other groups, on scalable tools and truly democratic (internal) process.

Carpe DiEM (and noctum ;-)
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Re: Internet of People: next steps

18 Oct 2017 10:41

There are 2 questions. 1.tooling and platforms 2.a digital agenda

For 1 great to get help, for 2 outsourcing to experts shouldn't be the way forward albeit involving experts is a must

Re: Internet of People: next steps

21 Oct 2017 09:53

Diem's internal procedures are not proven to be optimal. CC's people have repetitively argued that lack time so I am not sure that they can run a demanding discussion effectively.
I don't think that something was changed on this (watching also this thread history), so no one can guarantee a proper and effective follow up.

On the other hand, Internet of People is an emerging power and a great innovation and - thanks to Aral's work - can be a revolution in how democracy works.
CC must prove that they are effective enough to run the implementation at its best. That means they have to prove how they meet the challenge assigning time on such an important topic.

Diem must give absolute priority on this and prove that IoP can be a win and not a lost opportunity that other movements will carry on with, better.
So my question is, who and how will run the demanding work with responsibility in Diem?

With regards