I participated in the Global Voices session at the Berkman Center and promised earlier to post my thoughts. The bad news is that we didn't get far enough to come up with a conclusive plan, but the good news is that I think we have enough momentum to move forward. The discuss was quite sober and practical and was not nearly as techno-utopian as we are often criticized of being and often tend to get.
I think the key difference between this meeting and others that I have attended was the large number of mediums (Wikipedia, OhmyNews, traditional journalism, human rights organizations, bloggers, TV and radio) as well as the strong regional diversity (Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Kenya, Korea, China, Japan, Pakistan, US and many others). Most of the people in the room were already members of a variety of organizations and projects so we tried to find a common ground. I think that we came to a consensus that freedom of speech and providing voice was extremely important and this could and should take various forms. We agreed to commit to working together to help each other in our efforts. I'll post more when we are a bit more organized, but you can see the discussion we are having on the blog, see a partial list of the participants on Hoder's wiki (it will be moved to a permanent place soon), see a log of the real-time transcripts provided by SJ and join us on #globalvoices on Freenode to chat. There are more resources on the blog. Sorry it's a bit disorganized right now. We will try to organize it more soon. One of the things we hope to do is be much more inclusive of ways to participate and not focus on any one mode. This will complicate things a bit, but I think it's worth it.
I just got back to Japan after a few weeks abroad. It's the longest trip away from Japan that I've taken in awhile. When I was in the waiting area before boarding the plane, which was mostly Japanese, I noticed that the Japanese people seemed peculiar. I remember feeling this in the past after long trips. It's like suddenly I'm aware of weird Japanese body language, fashion, behaviors and facial expressions. It made me self-conscious too. I'm sure this is a pretty common phenomenon, but it was odd because it was disproportionately stronger compared to a one week trip away. Maybe it's because I was in Paris, South Africa, San Francisco and Boston before returning and the variety of cultures scrambled my cultural blinders. It was also strange reading the International Herald Tribune on China's anger over recent statements by Japanese about ramping up their military while watching the Japanese news in the plane talk about the same thing from their perspective. It was like having two cultural identities coexisting in my head. Somewhere over the arctic, both cultures seemed mighty peculiar.
I'm at Logan Airport on my way back to Tokyo. It was great meeting everyone and thanks for the very stimulating discussions. I'll try to write up some of my thoughts on my flight back.
I just got through security at Logan and I didn't notice until the guy at the security check looked at my boarding pass and said, "you have been selected by the airline for additional screening." Yikes. I looked at my ticket and it had the dreaded "SSSS" on it. Crap. It wasn't that awful. I got a pat-down and a very thorough examination of my carry-on bag. I wonder how I was selected for additional screening. I hope I haven't been added to some list that will haunt me forever. I wonder if it's something I blogged. Or maybe it's something I said at the conference. Or maybe it's who I was hanging around with in Boston. ;-p
via Emily at Smart Mobs
Conviction could lead to a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both."
I wonder what they're going to do about mobloggin' Aibos...
On a more serious note, although "it carves out exceptions for law enforcement, intelligence and prison work," what does this mean exactly? How about private security cameras? I remember hearing about ISPs where the sysadmin had parties where they would drink beer while reading user email. I'm sure there is a security camera version of this.