Allen Gunn – Another Cloud is Possible: Rethinking Information Infrastructure for Civil Society

January 14th, 2020 - 6:00 pm to 7:20 pm

Building 200, Room 203, Lane History Corner 450 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

As civil society organizations become evermore dependent on digital technologies, insufficient attention is invested in strategically assessing, specifying and deploying information management and communications infrastructure at organizational, network, and sectoral levels.

This discussion will survey the current state of play, exploring and threat-modeling pressing challenges and unsolved problems with existing mission-critical digital infrastructure utilized by civil society stakeholders.

A final phase of the discussion will consider potential forward paths toward long-term control of our collective digital destiny.

The Comm230X +1 Speaker Series highlights evolving perspectives at the intersection of the social sector, digital technology, and contemporary society. Winter 2020 speakers are experts from social sector organizations and from the fields of law, journalism, technology, and policy, including Jen Schradie, Catherine Sandoval, and Victoria Baines. Topics covered in the series include journalism, criminal justice, technology use in the social sector, cyber security, technology policy, and digital activism & conservativism.

Dinner served. Please RSVP above.

Speaker Bio

Allen Gunn is Executive Director of Aspiration (www.aspirationtech.org) in San Francisco, USA, and works to help NGOs, activists, foundations and software developers make more effective use of technology for social change.

Gunner has worked in numerous technology environments from NGO to Silicon Valley start-up to college faculty to large corporation, serving in senior management, engineering, teaching and volunteer roles. He is an experienced facilitator with a passion for designing collaborative open learning processes, and he believes in melding hard work with serious fun.

The common thread that connects all facets of Gunner’s work is a focus on open approaches to capacity building and knowledge sharing in social change efforts. Aspiration prioritizes work that supports and contributes to open communities of practice who create technology and content that benefit nonprofit and foundation efforts. The organization has designed and facilitated almost 600 extremely open learning and knowledge sharing events, in over 50 countries across the globe, predicated on a philosophy of active participation that puts each participant “in control of their own destiny”, in contrast to approaches that place audiences in passive listening roles. Aspiration publishes all licensed work products, including software tools, books, papers and training materials, under open licenses; for published documents and media, the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, and for software the GNU General Public License whenever possible.

Gunner is an active facilitator, contributor, advisor, and/or partner in a number of projects and communities, including Electronic Frontier FoundationDigital Freedom FundOpenStreetMap USThe Tor ProjectOpenReferralGreenpeaceRainforest Action NetworkOpen Architecture CollaborativeHumanitarian OpenStreetMap TeamSimply Secure, and Mozilla.

He is a board member of The Ruckus SocietyGlobal Exchange, and Peer 2 Peer University, and also serves in formal advisory roles with SAFETAGElectronic Frontier Foundation Security Education CompanionCorpWatchLocalizEDRanking Digital RightsThe Center for Tech CultivationDATA UruguayLibraries.ioSocial Movement TechnologiesThe Engine RoomThe Everett ProgramUnited for Iran, and The Rosetta Foundation. He is a former board member of Idealware and US Treks/Internet Treks.

Gunner is also a guest lecturer and former faculty member in Computer Science at Foothill College in California, and served on the Computer Science faculty at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia early in his career. Prior to his role at Aspiration, he served as Chief Tech Organizer for The Ruckus Society, and prior to that he was co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Pensare, an eLearning dotgone. He has served as senior software engineer at firms including Novell, NetManage, and a number of startups, and has shepherded large software projects through all stages of development, from inception, design, engineering, and testing to deployment, support and marketing, in environments ranging from start-up to large corporation to nonprofit.