Imagine living in a society in which most of the land and buildings available for meeting and working were owned by a few for-profit corporations. Churches, governments, groups of friends, schools, nonprofits, and grassroots social movements would each have to reserve space on — or have a key to — a privately-owned facility, often on a large corporate campus, in order to meet and work together. It would be a society with no domed capitol buildings, city halls, temples, open campuses, public parks, community centers, or nonprofit spaces.
Fortunately, this is not the society we live in, but it does describe the online spaces where our digital information is stored and where much of contemporary life – including civil society action – now takes place. This scenario is inherently threatening to democracies, in which free expression and public participation presuppose people have both the ability and space to assemble outside of corporate or government monitoring.
Please join us in Reclaiming Digital Infrastructure for the Public Interest. This is a 3-part series to build awareness, intention, and engagement in an ecosystem of ideas and practices that could bring into being digital infrastructure that aligns with community aspirations, protects personal and group safety, and prioritizes people, communities, and a public good.
The first session features Ethan Zuckerman making a case for digital public infrastructure. He will join in conversation with activists and policy advocates who approach these ideas through the lens of equity, indigeneity, and public responsibility. All of the sessions will include time for participation by attendees.