Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Today I'll be attending the Atocha Workshop.

On March 11th 2005 the Atocha Workshop on Global Terrorism, hosted by the Safe Democracy Foundation, will create a repository of original thinking on Global Terrorism that will continue to be fed weekly in the form of a weblog by creative thinkers on the subject from around the world.

The launching event will take place at the Atocha Train Station on March 11th, 2005 at the restaurant Samarkanda. Here, in in an atmosphere that will encourage creative thinking, around 200 people will participate as policy proponents, webloggers or as public; all will be engaged in the discussion of the proposed policies.

The program is online. It should be quite interesting. I heard a rumor that it will be broadcast live on CNN, but I'll try to confirm this.

I will be on a panel from 15:10-15:55 about Media Misperception and The War on Terror (Conference Room). The other panelists are: Mario Bettencourt Resendes - Publisher Diario de Noticias, Nick Fielding - Senior Reporter of the London Sunday Times, Rebecca MacKinnon - Fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, Ahmed Rashid - Author of ‘Taliban’ and ‘Jihad’, Dr. Steve Gorelick - Vice President for Institutional Advancement of The CUNY Graduate Center.

Kofi Annan is speaking now. He says that terrorism is a direct attack on human rights and the rule of law. If we destroy human rights and rule of law in the response to terrorism, they have won. Many responses to terrorism, even by those among members of the UN damage human rights. Upholding human rights is not merely compatible with fighting terrorism, it is essential. He is going to work on UN guidelines to responding to terrorism while following International human rights guidelines.

UPDATE: full text of speech. via Alvy

I am at this moment co-moderating the Democracy, Terrorism and the Open Internet panel at the Club de Madrid International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security with Marko Ahtisaari. We worked all day yesterday drafting a document we are calling "The Infrastructure of Democracy". The draft is currently available on the Global Voices wiki. Please give us some feedback.

Special thanks to Martin Varsavsky for giving us the opportunity and to John Perry Barlow, John Gage, Dan Gillmor, Chris Goggans, Pekka Himanen, David Isenberg, Rebecca MacKinnon, Andrew McLaughlin, Desiree Miloshevic, Jeff Moss, Ejovi Nuwere, Kazuhisa Ogawa, Marc Rotenberg, David Smith, Wendy Seltzer, Gohsuke Takama, Noriko Takiguchi, Paul Vixie, David Weinberger and Ethan Zuckerman who came all the way to Madrid to work on this. Thanks also to the other people in the room who contributed.

UPDATE: Transcripts of IRC discussion with Ethan Zuckerman's transcript of most of the comments. Thanks Ethan!

The official summary of the session is on the conference site.

UPDATE 2: Here is the full text of the recommendation draft:

The Infrastructure of Democracy
Strengthening the Open Internet for a Safer World
March 11, 2005

I. The Internet is a foundation of democratic society in the 21st century, because the core values of the Internet and democracy are so closely aligned.

1. The Internet is fundamentally about openness, participation, and freedom of expression for all - increasing the diversity and reach of information and ideas.
2. The Internet allows people to communicate and collaborate across borders and belief systems.
3. The Internet unites families and cultures in diaspora; it connects people, helping them to form civil societies.
4. The Internet can foster economic development by connecting people to information and markets.
5. The Internet introduces new ideas and views to those who may be isolated and prone to political violence.
6. The Internet is neither above nor below the law. The same legal principles that apply in the physical world also apply to human activities conducted over the Internet.


II. Decentralized systems - the power of many - can combat decentralized foes.

1. Terrorist networks are highly decentralized and distributed. A centralized effort by itself cannot effectively fight terrorism.
2. Terrorism is everyone's issue. The internet connects everyone. A connected citizenry is the best defense against terrorist propaganda.
3. As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.
4. As we are seeing in the distributed world of weblogs and other kinds of citizen media, truth emerges best in open conversation among people with divergent views.


III. The best response to abuses of openness is more openness.

1. Open, transparent environments are more secure and more stable than closed, opaque ones.
2. While Internet services can be interrupted, the Internet as a global system is ultimately resilient to attacks, even sophisticated and widely distributed ones.
3. The connectedness of the Internet – people talking with people – counters the divisiveness terrorists are trying to create.
4. The openness of the Internet may be exploited by terrorists, but as with democratic governments, openness minimizes the likelihood of terrorist acts and enables effective responses to terrorism.


IV. Well-meaning regulation of the Internet in established democracies could threaten the development of emerging democracies.

1. Terrorism cannot destroy the internet, but over-zealous legislation in response to terrorism could. Governments should consider mandating changes to core Internet functionality only with extraordinary caution.
2. Some government initiatives that look reasonable in fact violate the basic principles that have made the Internet a success.
3. For example, several interests have called for an end to anonymity. This would be highly unlikely to stop determined terrorists, but it would have a chilling effect on political activity and thereby reduce freedom and transparency. Limiting anonymity would have a cascading series of unintended results that would hurt freedom of expression, especially in countries seeking transition to democratic rule.


V. In conclusion we urge those gathered here in Madrid to:

1. Embrace the open Internet as a foundation of 21st Century democracy, and a critical tool in the fight against terrorism.
2. Recognizing the Internet's value as a critical communications infrastructure, invest to strengthen it against attacks and recover quickly from damage.
3. Work to spread access more evenly, aggressively addressing the Digital Divide, and to provide Internet access for all.
4. To protect free speech and association, endorse the availability of anonymous communications for all.
5. Resist attempts at international governance of the Internet: It can introduce processes that have unintended effects and violate the bottom-up democratic nature of the Net.

The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security organizers have restricted press access. The press are restricted to a separate area and don't have access directly to the conference. This is one case where bloggers are lucky not to be considered "press". Having said that, I think they should give the press access to this conference. I guess they can join the IRC channel or read our blogs...

Unfortunately, I'm too busy participating to be blogging it well right now. I hope SOMEONE is blogging this.

David Weinberger: As Jon Stewart would say, "Washington Post - You read it here 12th."

UPDATE: I appears that too many press were invited and the couldn't all fit. It appears that the root of the problem is a logistical one rather than restriction for the sake of it...

Our workshop on Friday is supposed to be broadcast live on CNN. I'll post more details when I have them.

Victor is organizing a bloggers meeting on Saturday in Madrid. I'll be going. Anyone who wants to come, please sign up on the wiki page. It is on Saturday 12th, March 2005 at 21:00. The location is La Giralda restaurant, Calle Maldonado 4.