It is time to design and build digital infrastructures that specifically serve and protect public interests. Such systems include software, hardware, protocols, and governance mechanisms that align with the principles and practices they are being used to uphold. There must be equitable access for all; technological and legal structures that ensure safe participation; systems, applications, and regulations that protect human dignity; and oversight and governance mechanisms that embody the principles of democratic societies.
Models and ideas of such infrastructures exist at various stages of development and come from many parts of the world. The Digital Civil Society Lab sees the entirety of these efforts as fundamental to the existence and future of civil society and democracies. We are hosting this series as a means of expanding awareness and encouraging participation in creating alternatives to the corporatized and surveilled digital world that we know and developing the digital infrastructures that we need. In addition, each session will include time for California residents and policy makers to consider if and how the State might support or advance the presented ideas or develop and suggest additional options.
This series consists of three conversations in which we will frame the broad opportunities, consider them from a variety of perspectives, and provide time for audience and stakeholders to contribute additional examples and/or join on to any of the efforts underway. We invite creators, thinkers, policy makers, funders, and activists to imagine the next steps. Background materials will be provided in advance of each session and we encourage participants to familiarize themselves with those materials so that we can make the most of the shared discussion times. We encourage people to participate in the entire series as a means of building community and moving ideas to action.