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eCampaigning for Internet Freedom

Those of us using the internet in campaigns to change some social or environmental policy call ourselves ecampaigners. But ecampaigning is based on internet freedoms which are under serious and increasing threat. Whether the dimension of freedom is technical, such as the end-to-end principle, or legal, such as the absence of state blog regulation, we can't assume it'll continue to exist. And web 2.0 (a.k.a. the social web) could accelerate the dangers to internet freedoms. It's possible that ecampaigning will become completely neutered, so that we won't be able to anything controversial, we won't be able reach half the world's population, and in any case people won't want to get involved.

privacy invasion

One of the most serious threats is privacy invasion. There's a reason why Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion - they want to learn all about our habits so they can target more effective advertising at us. Yahoo (proud owner of Flickr and Delicious) says it wants social networks to define its business - they don't just want to know about us, they also want to know about our friends. The National Security Agency in the USA has set its sights on the datamining of social networking websites for intelligence gathering. With the advent of web 2.0 we are seeing the emergence of the panoptic gaze of web 2.0 and infrastructures of dataveillance. As well as violating our individual privacy the web-enabled data aggregation can lead to “social sorting†beyond the consumer realm, allowing authorities to reinforce social differences and enact discrimination. (Ironically, this is a dark reflection of audience segmenting, which is a key technique for effective ecampaigning).

filtering

Many ecampaigners assume that the internet is still a global space, but it's actually in danger of becoming a set of censored national enclosures. Back in 2002 only 3 countries regularly filtered & blocked content (China, Iran & Saudi Arabia), but according to the Open Net Initiative it's now up to 25, and the scope of the blocking is growing, as in the recent blockings of YouTube. (The human rights impact of YouTube will be the subject of a future post here). States and corporations are inseparable partners in the business of internet filtering - as Alexandra Samuel says

In the digital era, the infrastructure for policy enforcement is often digital - and the creators of that infrastructure are generally private companies. That makes state security inseparable from corporate security; the ability to enforce policy compliance extends only to the extent that your technology is hack-proof. This creates a complicated relationship of policy interdependence among countries: consider, for example, the fact that China's firewalls - the infrastructure for its information controls, and the target of much hacktivism - run on routers from US-based Cisco.

This profitable partnership to fence off the internet leads to a kind of real-time revisionism and has received justifiable condemnation .

censorship

Many people were shocked to learn of the censorship and imprisonment of Egyptian blogger Karim Amer who was sentenced to four years in prison for defaming both the president and Islam. This unfortunate blogger wasn't a hardcore human rights activist - his blog also includes film reviews and other personal minutae. He was, however, outspoken and even offensive - which he has every right to be under international law. His jailing may prove the general point that when social media seems to be making a social difference, repression will surely follow. And in the participative spaces of web 2.0, censorship can come in many forms. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights might value free expression but the same thing can't be said of YouTube's Terms of Service, which leaves content vulnerable to vague allegations of being 'objectionable' or 'inappropriate'. What becomes of freedom of expression in the pseudo-public spaces of the online monopolies?

copyright

Another threat to internet freedoms is the aggressive expansion of copyright and so-called Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Although these issues are beyond the ken of many traditional rights organisations they can have a direct impact on ecampaigning. Corporates have already responded aggressively to the use of their logos in online campaigns, although happily there have been robust defences by organisations like Greenpeace. Web sites can also be subject to take-downs through legislation such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which can become a form of legalised harassment and disruption against campaigning web sites. In the future, the Digital Rights Management technology that'll be built in to the very heart of our hardware could be spying on the fact that we've been watching a certain campaigning video on our PC. All this flies in the face of the traditional protections that copyright offered to parody and fair comment, let alone the concept that mixing and mashing is the emergent free speech of our times .

net neutrality

And finally, but perhaps fundamentally, we've all grown used to the idea that bloggers can compete with the CNN for the internet audience, and there are many examples where this has led to some kind of media or social impact. This won't be the case on Internet 2, the 'next-generation' high-speed internet which is specced out as a tightly controlled and locked-down environment, removing any of the bugs/features that gave the internet its freedom.

why should we campaign for Internet Freedom?

It's very worrying that most ecampaigners are ignoring these threats to the environment that they depend on. Of course, they're all busy doing online campaigns for the core mission of their organizations, whether it's environmental, human rights or whatever. But key techniques like blogging, social networking and global campaigning are already being impacted by reductions in internet freedoms, and this is reason enough for ecampaigners as a profession to be collectively involved in campaigning against those threats. But there's a deeper imperative as well, arising from the nature of the information society, which is the fact that the internet itself is becoming an actor in many of these core missions. For example, the internet is not just a tool for communicating about human rights, it is itself a terrain for human rights struggle. Many development organizations see access to the internet and open knowledge as a key element of economic & social development. And, as Rolf Kleef pointed out, even environmental agendas may interpenetrate the internet via the Aarhus convention (which grants the public rights regarding access to information and public participation and access to justice in environmental matters). But many established organisations don't yet get it, and the danger is they'll only realise when it's too late.

on what basis should we campaign?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the legal frameworks drawn from it provide a plethora of policy tools to defend internet freedoms, ranging from Article 19's right to seek, receive and impart information freely, to Article 12's defence of privacy and even Article 20's right to freedom of assembly. Most governments are already signed up to the UDHR and (more or less) to the international treaties that flow from it. On the copyright side we can pursue the openings of Creative Commons and the work done at WIPO by organisations such as CPTech (for example the right for developing countries to manufacture local versions of AIDS drugs)

who should campaign?

In my humble opinion, all ecampaigners and the NGOs they work for should contribute to a broad coalition campaign to preserve internet freedoms. It is not safe to assume that the battle can be left to the usual suspects, whether that's digital freedom groups such as the EFF or traditional human rights organizations (whose grasp of digital issues can be pretty weak), because the issues are too broad for any one organisation to cover. In the UK it would be logical to look to existing coalitions such as the Global New Media Group, which emerged from the new media campaigning of Make Poverty History. An alternative hub could be something like the Open Rights Group , which is committed to defending civil liberties in the digital
world and was itself born out of a kind of ecampaign (a pledge on MySociety's Pledgebank). Whatever form the campaign takes it can take advantage of the way the internet itself supports emergent foms of collaborative innovation.

how should we campaign?

Almost all ecampaigning is some kind of advocacy - pressuring someone like a government official or corporate CEO to make a decision or change a decision. For sure, we need active campaigning for internet freedom, so we need to follow the tried and test methods of developing an influencing strategy & identifying target audiences. But there's also the really interesting possibility of using hacktivism, in the form of the policy circumvention defined in Hacktivism & The Future of Political Participation :

Policy circumvention is here defined as legal noncompliance that: a) is a strategic political response to a specific policy, law, regulation or court decision b) focuses on nullifying the effect of a policy, law, regulation, or court decision, and c) creates some non-excludable benefits (though there may be additional, excludable benefits of non-compliance).

Rather than waiting for a bad law to be changed, policy circumvention routes around it - a tactic that goes back to the original nature of the internet!

hacktivism

A good example of hacktivism in practice is the Citizen Lab's Psiphon tool. Psiphon is a censorship circumvention solution that allows users to access blocked sites in countries where the Internet is censored. A really nice aspect of Psiphon is the social side of the tool - rather than being a public tool it operates through networks of trust between people in censored and un-censored locations, which also makes it difficult for the authorities to detect or block. Another exemplar of hacktivism is The Onion Router a.k.a. Tor which provides a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tools like these act directly to negate the threats of filtering, censorship and privacy invasion. Note that policy circumvention is not the same as law-breaking; in fact, using these tools enables people to directly enact their rights under international law. Moreover, research suggests that policy circumvention is an additional pressure for policy change because it undermines the credibility of the policies themselves. It may be that policy circumvention and hacktivism will have a bigger part to play in all the ecampaigning of the future. To quote Alexandra Samuel again:

in an information economy, policy circumvention will be an expanding sphere of political activity. The domains that are most vulnerable to policy circumvention are domains that are dependent on information: information distribution, and information control. In an information age, more and more economic and social activity unfolds in these domains. That means that more and more of the state's activity, and its policy responsibilities, will unfold in domains that are vulnerable to policy circumvention by hacktivists.

Certainly there are people like Ron Deibert of the Psiphon project who are focusing on the need to develop this field of work to “ensure that protecting freedom of speech online is embedded within the research agendaâ€. Perhaps the need to defend internet freedoms gives ecampaigners an urgent incentive to pioneer this new form of campaigning.

social networking and social change

It's hardly a surprise that large NGO's are starting to experiment with social networks, given the sheer numbers of people using them and their high media profile. But, judging by comments on the eCampaigning Forum wiki , there's some uncertainty about how non-profits should approach social networks, and especially how to get an effective return for the time that has to be invested in these relationship-spaces. NGOs are also anxious about the loss of control - in a participative space, what happens to the brand and the carefully crafted messaging?

Of course, some groups have already leveraged a lot from these space, such as the Genocide Information Network (see also my previous post ). Despite the fact that there are now some decent initiatives from larger orgs such as Oxfam's Oxjam and Amnesty's Make Some Noise (both MySpace, and both focussed on youth + music) I still think that the agility deficit of large organisations means that smaller groups or non-profit start-ups like GI-Net will find it easier to get to grip with social networks.

A parallel dynamic comes from what i call the first law of web 2.0, which says that people will do it anyway. Community groups and grassroots activists aren't waiting for large NGos to decide whether social networks are kosher - they're just going ahead and using them (for better or for worse).

Another and newer issue for NGOs is the potential fragmentation of social spaces, as niche communities start to spring up. It's hard enough for a traditional org to decide what to do about MySpace or YouTube, so the multiplication of spaces must seem like a dizzying kaleidescope. The flip side of this is the emergence of social networks focusing directly on activism, which could give non-profits a direct route to interested audiences and cut out a lot of the noise. Right now this seems like a growing trend, with examples like Change.org & Project Agape , but there's also some scepticism about whether this is a good thing. Perhaps they'll be complementary - you go to an activism community for a guaranteed response and to a global pool to filter out new constituents. A recent development is the extension of the LinkedIn business network to support charities .

It's also useful for Western organisations to remember that social networks are a global and growing phenomenon, despite the digital divide. This also complicates the picture for BINGOs because (of course) different cultures use (different) social networks in different ways. The majority of Orkut members are in Brazil, and it is also popular in India. China has QQ , Japan has Mixi and Cyworld originated in South Korea. Youth in Kosova and the Kosovan diaspora use Hi5 rather than MySpace or Bebo. Across the Middle East the picture seems varied; while there are Iranian MySpace pages with thousands of friends, Saudi Arabians seem keener on Orkut, and there are MySpace look-alikes like MuslimSpace.

Despite the attraction of numbers in the dominant global communities like MySpace and YouTube, they are corporate spaces that could pose problems for sustained ecampaigning. Like shopping malls, they are pseudo-public spaces where our presence is tolerated as long as we are not interfering with the creation of (advertising) value for the owners. NGOS should take note of reports that Yahoo shut down many anti-war Yahoo Groups. We may assume the carry over of internet freedoms like free expression, but where does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stand in relation to YouTube's terms of service? (more on this in a future post).

So should NGOs thrown up their hands at the complex and time-hungry nature of these spaces, with their in-world cultures and hard-to-define returns? I think that would be unwise. Whatever the shake-out that follows the new web boom, these spaces hint at emerging online behaviours that aren't simply going to go away. And if the next generation are flooding in to these spaces, perhaps NGOs have a duty to be there, even if it costs them in the short term. For if, as Danah Boyd says, young people are

using the sites to present themselves to a small group of friends and get their recognition and feedback. The sites are an opportunity to define in public who they are. By providing an audience, and the tools to interact with that audience, the social networks are satisfying that need. Boyd calls this behaviour “identity production” and, employing a favourite phrase of hers, says that young people are trying to “write themselves into being”

then shouldn't NGOs be ensuring that the causes they represent are part of that mix?

From a human rights perspective I think the social networking phenomena may have a deep significance. Events like Rwanda have shown the relative impotence of international legal frameworks to prevent mass human rights abuses. We certainly need the values of the UDHR to be embodied in activists that are part of social networks (locally and internationally) and who, by being in communication with one another, feel more empowered to to take action on the ground.

Drupal and the Dot Org Boom

The news that Amnesty Seeks a Drupal/CiviCRM Vendor signals a move in to open source that should benefit Amnesty and have a wider impact for NGOs and the open source movement. I started advocating for open source at Amnesty's International Secretariat more than two years ago, but anyone who has been a change agent within a large organisation will know that it's a big challenge to get a strategic commitment to FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software). Of course it helps if a like-minded organisation has already taken the plunge, and we got a lot of support from Andrew H. and Romilly G. who had already steered Oxfam's adoption of Plone. This made the case that serious NGOs were adopting enterprise-ready open source and also, through Oxfam's participation in the Plone Foundation, showed that a large NGO can be an active member of an open source community.

The best way to keep pace with the rate that web tools evolve is to be part of a community of innovation. So I was excited by the buzz of community activity around Drupal at the Netsquared 2006 conference, where I could see an emergent sweet spot for web activism at the confluence of FOSS developers and social activists. A stream of developments confirms this trend, from CitizenSpeak's free email advocacy service for grassroots organizations to the fact that Drupal is a leading contender as the platform for development of the WITNESS video hub (a human rights portal).

For me, the increasing adoption of open source tools for real-world impact validates several years of commitment to bringing together FOSS & NGO communities. This work has been inspired by organisations like Aspiration in the USA and the Tactical Technology Collective here in Europe. In the UK we formed a small collective of volunteers which organised the Social Source events in 2004 and 2005, and it's great to see how many of the participants have made important contributions to the common DNA of open source and social change.

One of those groups was Mute Magazine, who became early UK adopters of CiviCRM. and full credit should be given to the CiviCRM community for the way their software has risen to enterprise level. When I looked at it 12 months ago it was hard to see it competing against off-the-shelf CRM solutions by ASP providers like Kintera, Convio and so forth. But such is the pace of development that it is now a credible solution, especially if your criteria include internationalisation and the potential to interface with mobile channels, both of which should be important for international NGOs who want to engage constituencies in the global south.

I think there's an underlying dynamic at work here that goes deeper than the pragmatics of ecampaigning, and I like Juha Huuskonen's notion of the Dot Org Boom "referring to the same development as Web 2.0 but from a different perspective. Dot Org Boom is proposing that the current wave of development is heading to non-profit direction,something that Web 2.0 promoters would probably not want to agree with". Propagated through the PixelACHE festival the notion of the Dot Org Boom is actually a non-web idea, drawn from a study of social entrepreneurs from around the world and focusing on the activities of Ashoka Foundation, but Juha says

Our version of Dot Org Boom consisted of independent media, open source community and NGOs. Considering the fact that all these three areas share the same basic principles - open, non-profit activities based on volunteer contributions and grassroot organisations - it's striking how little collaboration there has been between these areas. The tactical media/indymedia/activist networks used to be very different from the sourceforge/slashdot/geek camp and the NGOs were mostly left out of the loop, happily using their Microsoft tools. What I find essential in the Dot Org Boom is that these three components - open content, open tools, open organisation models - are starting to find each other. Web 2.0 people would like to ignore the organisation component of this transformation.

 

UPDATE: Twitter for Human Rights

in

Great to see that Global Voices is now on Twitter. And, even better, the updates are available in Chinese and Spanish as well as English.

Thanks to all-round Twitter/IM hacker Mario Menti for pointing this out. (Mario was behind the censorship-evading IM Persian news bot I mentioned in my previous post).

Having had a bit more time to watch the ebb and flow of Twittering (check out Mapping the Twitosphere ) I can see an immediate application being Twitter updates by human rights defenders who are under threat ("Made it to the office safely this morning") or, perhaps more practically, by the people who are trying to defend them, such as volunteers from Peace Brigades International. The subscribers to the Twitter feed would be given a pre-arranged checking / action protocol that would allow rapid response in case of trouble.

Josh Wolf free but citizen journalism under threat

I'm very happy to see that Josh Wolf was set free on April 3rd, and I'm proud to say that this blog featured the 'Free Josh Wolf' banner. However, I've just had a quick scan of Josh's blog and I have a different view about the most important lesson of his imprisonment. His focus is the legal situation of journalists in the States, whereas I see more of a threat to the web as a participative space. The internet has become a tool for social impact, and the most important thing to defend is its use by ordinary citizens.

josh wolf

Josh refused to turn over unpublished video out-takes to a federal grand jury investigating a July, 2005 anti-G8 demonstration which he had covered on his blog. He was never been convicted of a crime. He was held on civil contempt in an effort to coerce him to testify and turn over his unpublished material to a federal grand jury. On February 6th he became longest-incarcerated journalist in U.S. history for refusal to comply with a subpoena on journalistic principles.

The immediate scandal of Josh's case is summed up by Dan Gillmor (a prominent advocate for citizen journlism). In short, the federal governmant blagged jurisdiction his case "using a pretext so flimsy that it would be laughable if the issue wasn’t so serious — it says there’s a federal case because federal tax dollars helped pay for a city police car that was damaged in the demonstration". In fact, it should have been handled at state level, where he would have had protection from imprisonment. So after his release Josh said

Much of the debate has focused on whether or not I am a journalist; this question is nothing more than a distraction and a red herring...The question that needs to be asked is not "Is Josh Wolf a journalist?" but should journalists deserve the same protections in federal court as those afforded them in state courts.

I think the threat is in the question 'who is a journalist'. It's clear that this will be used to divide the deserving from the undeserving. The space for ordinary citizens to use the web to report social issues is already being squeezed. See, for example, the recent French law on filming acts of violence - the implications of which are spelled out by Sami Ben Gharbia :

France’s Constitutional Council passed the Sarkozy law which criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. During the parliamentary debate, government representatives said the law is meant to target a practice known as “happy slapping”, defined in Wikipedia as "a fad in which an unsuspecting victim is attacked while an accomplice records the assault (commonly with a camera phone or a smartphone)." In France, therefore, the filming and broadcasting of acts of violence such as the riots which took place in the Paris suburbs during the month of October and November, 2005, will henceforth be the prerogative of accredited journalists only. Under this new law, any other eyewitness who records acts of violence, or anyone who makes the content available online (the operator of a web site, for instance) could face up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of nearly US$100,000. In an ironic twist, the law was announced on March 3, 2007, exactly 16 years after amateur videographer George Holliday filmed African-American Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police officers. The officers' eventual acquittal in 1992 sparked off riots in the city.

So one way the clampdown comes is in the name of tackling antisocial behaviour. Historically, we've seen this tendency before. The original Public Order Act in the UK was introduced in the 1930's in the name of dealing with Moseley's Blackshirts (the British Fascist movement) - but in the subsequent decades it was used over and over again to suppress civil disobedience and left-wing protests.

My interest is how to defend the use of the internet by people who aren't (as the French law says) 'professional journalists'. Talking to experts on the role of Human Rights Defenders it seems to me that journalists are the ones who get the most attention and protection, both through professional organisations and because global society broadly accepts the role of 'journalist' as something socially necessary. (Note: I don't wish to minimise the specific threat to journalists where that exists e.g. in overtly repressive regimes). But what about all those other segments of society who are learning to use the net to report on social problems that are critical to them?

So, for me, the issue raised by Josh's case is the need to step back from the label 'journalist' and look at why that's seen as a necessary role in civil society. In Josh's first post after being freed he quoted a US Judge Douglas (from a press freedom case in the 1970's) who said "The press has a preferred position in our constitutional scheme, not to enable it to make money, not to set newsmen apart as a favored class, but to bring fulfillment to the public’s right to know". Surely this role is being massively and positively expanded by the blogosphere (one only has to look at Global Voices as an example) and in general by the participative internet (see for example my earlier post UCLA Student Tasered: is YouTube a human rights tool? ). Do we follow the citizen journalism of Dan Gillmor and say "While Wolf’s sympathies may well have been with the demonstrators, he was engaging in journalism when he shot that footage". Or do we just dump the category of journalist all together and find other terms for our right to participate and to be heard? In harsh times, is it enough to be reporters, or do we need to become defenders? Josh quotes the same Judge Douglas as saying

“As the years pass, the power of government becomes more and more pervasive. It is a power to suffocate both people and causes. Those in power, whatever their politics, want only to perpetuate it. Now that the fences of the law and the tradition that protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims".

198 Methods of Online Activism

In the run up to the eCampaigning Forum 2007 there's been some interest in how to integrate online and offline campaigning. I like the way that Alexandra Samuel draws comparisons between offline & online activism, as part of establishing her definition of hacktivism .

 

Different activist repertoires: some examples
  offline online
conventional Activism:
Voting
Electioneering
Non-violent protest marches
Boycotts
Online activism:
Online voting
Online campaign donations
Online petitions
transgressive

Civil disobedience:
Sit-ins
Barricades
Political graffiti
Wildcat strikes
Underground presses
Political theater
Sabotage

Hacktivism:
Web site defacements
Web site redirects
Denial-of-service attacks
Information theft
Site parodies
Virtual sit-ins
Virtual sabotage
Software development

What I'd really like to see is an online equivalent for Gene Sharp's amazing list of 198(!) Methods of Nonviolent Action , which was published back in 1973. (Thanks to Ian Chandler's Effective Campaigning course for pointing me to that).

I know that some won't have any online analogue, but the process of figuring that out may throw up some new ideas for online activism, and we're sure to end up with a full spectrum list of ecampaigning techniques.
So there's the challenge for the eCampaigning Forum (and beyond). If you can think of an online tactic for any of the offline ones from the list, please add them as a comment or send them directly.

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT ACTION

(from Gene Sharp, The Methods of Nonviolent Action, Boston 1973)

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION

FORMAL STATEMENTS
1. Public speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public declarations
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions
COMMUNICATIONS WITH A WIDER AUDIENCE
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting
GROUP REPRESENTATIONS
13. Deputations
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
16. Picketing
17. Mock elections
SYMBOLIC PUBLIC ACTS
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colours
19. Wearing of symbols
20. Prayer and worship
21. Delivering symbolic objects
22. Protest disrobings
23. Destruction of own property
24. Symbolic lights
25. Displays of portraits
26. Paint as protest
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds
29. Symbolic reclamations
30. Rude gestures
PRESSURES ON INDIVIDUALS
31. "Haunting" officials
32. Taunting officials
33. Fraternization
34. Vigils
DRAMA AND MUSIC
35. Humourous skits and pranks
36. Performances of plays and music
37. Singing
PROCESSIONS
38. Marches
39. Parades
40. Religious processions
41. Pilgrimages
42. Motorcades
HONOURING THE DEAD
43. Political mourning
44. Mock funerals
45. Demonstrative funerals
46. Homage at burial places
PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES
47. Assemblies of protest or support
48. Protest meetings
49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
50. Teach-ins
WITHDRAWAL AND RENUNCIATION
51. Walk-outs
52. Silence
53. Renouncing honours
54. Turning one's back

THE METHODS OF SOCIAL NONCOOPERATION

OSTRACISM OF PERSONS
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott
57. Lysistratic nonaction
58. Excommunication
59. Interdict
NONCOOPERATION WITH SOCIAL EVENTS, CUSTOMS, AND INSTITUTIONS
60. Suspension of social and sports activities
61. Boycott of social affairs
62. Student strike
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE SOCIAL SYSTEM
65. Stay-at-home
66. Total personal noncooperation
67. "Flight" of workers
68. Sanctuary
69. Collective disappearance
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)

THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS

ACTION BY CONSUMERS
71. Consumers' boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent
76. National consumers' boycott
77. International consumers' boycott
ACTION BY WORKERS AND PRODUCERS
78. Workers' boycott
79. Producers' boycott
ACTION BY MIDDLEMEN
80. Suppliers' and handlers' boycott
ACTION BY OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT
81. Traders' boycott
82. Refusal to let or sell property
83. Lockout
84. Refusal of industrial assistance
85. Merchants' "general strike"
ACTION BY HOLDERS OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal
91. Refusal of a government's money
ACTION BY GOVERNMENTS
92. Domestic embargo
93. Blacklisting of traders
94. International sellers' embargo
95. International buyers' embargo
96. International trade embargo

THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOOPERATION: THE STRIKE

SYMBOLIC STRIKES
97. Protest strike
98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)
AGRICULTURAL STRIKES
99. Peasant strike
100. Farm workers' strike
STRIKES BY SPECIAL GROUPS
101. Refusal of impressed labour
102. Prisoners' strike
103. Craft strike
104. Professional strike

ORDINARY INDUSTRIAL STRIKES
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike
107. Sympathy strikeRESTRICTED STRIKES
108. Detailed strike
109. Bumper strike
110. Slowdown strike
111. Working-to-rule strike
112. Reporting "sick" (sick-in)
113. Strike by resignation
114. Limited strike
115. Selective strike
MULTI-INDUSTRY STRIKES
116. Generalised strike
117. General strike
COMBINATION OF STRIKES AND ECONOMIC CLOSURES
118. Hartal
119. Economic shutdown

THE METHODS OF POLITICAL NONCOOPERATION

REJECTION OF AUTHORITY
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
121. Refusal of public support
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance
CITIZENS' NONCOOPERATION WITH GOVERNMENT
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections
125. Boycott of government employment and positions
126. Boycott of government departments, agencies, and other bodies
127. Withdrawal from governmental educational institutions
128. Boycott of government-supported institutions
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
131. Refusal to accept appointed officials
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions
CITIZENS' ALTERNATIVES TO OBEDIENCE
133. Reluctant and slow compliance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
135. Popular nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
138. Sitdown
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of "illegitimate" laws
ACTION BY GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL
142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
143. Blocking of lines of command and information
144. Stalling and obstruction
145. General administrative noncooperation
146. Judicial noncooperation
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
148. Mutiny
DOMESTIC GOVERNMENTAL ACTION
149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units
INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL ACTION
151. Changes in diplomatic and other representation
152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
154. Severance of diplomatic relations
155. Withdrawal from international organisations
156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
157. Expulsion from international organisations

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION

PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERVENTION
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast
a) Fast of moral pressure
b) Hunger strike
c) Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
161. Nonviolent harassment
PHYSICAL INTERVENTION
162. Sit-in
163. Stand-in
164. Ride-in
165. Wade-in
166. Mill-in
167. Pray-in
168. Nonviolent raids
169. Nonviolent air raids
170. Nonviolent invasion
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction
173. Nonviolent occupation
SOCIAL INTERVENTION
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
176. Stall-in
177. Speak-in
178. Guerrilla theatre
179. Alternative social institutions
180. Alternative communication system
ECONOMIC INTERVENTION
181. Reverse strike
182. Stay-in strike
183. Nonviolent land seizure
184. Defiance of blockades
185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
186. Preclusive purchasing
187. Seizure of assets
188. Dumping
189. Selective patronage
190. Alternative markets
191. Alternative transportation systems
192. Alternative economic institutions
POLITICAL INTERVENTION
193. Overloading of administrative systems
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of "neutral" laws
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government

Chuggers in Cyberspace

I'm starting to get a bit bothered by the innovative fundraisers in BINGO's who are pushing in to places like MySpace & Second Life, because I'm afraid that hunting for donations in the new virtual spaces will put people off the other things an NGO can offer (like opportunities for activism). It's ungrateful, I know, considering the fact that fundraisers bring in the money to pay my wages. And I feel quite ambivalent about it, because at least the fundraisers are agile enough to know that MySpace & Second Life are important developments, which is more than can be said for many campaigners!
So I applaud their drive to innovate, but I'm concerned about face-to-face fundraising leaking over in to experiments with social networking. (According to the Guardian newspaper, face-to-face fundraising "is the name given to the fundraising technique where teams of cheery, bib-wearing young people in the street sign up passers-by to give money regularly to charity via a direct debit. But people who are not fans of the fundraising teams have been known to refer to them as "charity muggers" or "chuggers".)

The participative nature of the social web makes it a place where people can go beyond a passive role, and potentially become part of the solution they want to see. Of course I understand that many folk don't have much time to give, and sometimes giving money is all that is possible (hey, i've got a family too). But what happens when folk in Second Life start to teleport past the office of the human rights organisation, because they don't want to get hassled for a donation? Or when people reject MySpace friend requests from campaigns because they can sense it's just a sting?

I know I'm pointing the finger at the wrong people. It's not the fundraisers' fault that they're being creative - that's a good thing! But it would be a shame to see NGO's written off because something as interesting as Save the Children's virtual yak gets hammered in the same way as Heifer's water buffalo (a critique that resulted in widely-watched YouTube video, BTW). The root of the problem is the strategic failure of non-profits to embrace the disruptive nature of the Net. Perhaps, as some suggest, the corporate model is no longer well suited to public benefit work, and the internet itself will play a part in the emergence of new structures for organising around social impact.

Urgent Action IM Bots and Twitter for Darfur

I'm a long-time admirer of backstage.bbc.co.uk and I'm wondering how their experiments with IM bots could be applied to human rights. (IM bots are programs that use IM as an interface to send information & respond to commands. IM users can add the name of the IM bot to their buddy list the same way they add friends). Bots could be used for campaign updates in the manner of the BBC news flashes or as a way to push messages that need urgent action, such as faxing / emailing an embassy about a prisoner of conscience.

Another fascinating possibility is the use of bots to evade censorship in those situation where IM protocols are unfiltered. An example is this IM Persian news bot from the backstage.bbc crew. And perhaps they could be used like IRC bots to deliver vital chunks of information, such as online privacy tips or the updated list of open proxy servers accessible from China.

Things become even more interesting when Twitter is introduced. Of course, backstage.bbc already started twittering.

But to me the critical thing about Twitter is the way it can be updated (and read) via mobile, and how that can reach in to urgent areas or situations in a way the internet can't (yet). In his post The Potential of Twitter in Africa Soyapi Mumba says

"In Malawi for example, there are about 50,000 Internet users against about 700,000 mobile phone users out of a population of about 12 million. Twitter allows users to post a small update via SMS, instant messaging client and the web. Anyone who chooses to follow you will get that update on the Twitter home page, or their mobile phone of they choose to. Unlike most mobile phone web services, you can update via SMS from anywhere in the world and from virtually any handset".

I heard UN emergency relief coordinator John Holmes in a radio interview describe how he was blocked by a Sudanese army checkpoint from visiting a camp for the displaced in war-torn Darfur during his first visit to the country. For an NGO wanting to convey the immediacy of it's mission in the field, Twitter could provide compelling live updates in 140 characters or less; imagine a Twitter that says 'Blocked at checkpoint - arguing with army colonel'. This is a great way of engaging people and giving them a sense of what's happening on the ground.

 

The unanswered question is whether we can come up with forms of (cyber)activism that are just as immediate, so people can do someting meaningful in response to the Twitter. On a similar subject, Andy Carvin explores the humanitarian relief potential of Twitter in his post Can Twitter Save Lives?

Cyberpunk meets UNDP

"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts...A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding..." --William Gibson, Neuromancer
Wouldn't that be an amazing way to experience the data from the UNDP; the statistics of life and mortality, the tangents of development and disarray marked out as peaks and fjords that our avatars could fly through? The data, in fact, that Gapminder has visualised so vividly in 2D. So why not an engine that imports stats like those into Second Life, where they can be experienced in the way that William Gibson originally imagined? It seems like one step towards this is on the cards, judging by blog posts like 3D import tools for Second Life , although this still focuses on importing static 3D objects like buildings, cars and so on. Where are the pure data import tools?

And this begs the bigger question; why is Second Life a 3D representation of real-world objects at all? I know there are lots of reasons why this makes SL an interesting place with a lot of social potential. And it's actually the not-quite-real aspect that gives SL a lot of its buzz. But still, it's a virtual re-creation of our world, not the Gibsonian data-space.

cyberspace

Second Life is more like Neal Stephenson's Metaverse; an immersive virtual world populated by avatars. Which is cool, but it's not the Net. It doesn't help us visualise the data-space, the nodes and trails of information, including the trails that we leave and the giant repositories that bureaucracies build. Only today I was discussing with freedom of expression and privacy colleagues the urgent need to visualise these threats to online freedoms. I suspect that only when we can fly through an old skool Cyberspace will we get a keen insight in to the enroachment of censorship and corporate data-mining. Let's hope that, by then, it's not too late...

UPDATE: Gapminder and net censorship

Oops. It doesn't look like we're going to see Trendalyzer, the software behind Gapminder , used to visualise net censorship , as "Trendalyzer’s developers have left Gapminder to join Google in Mountain View". So that should make "the beauty of statistics" safe for Real-Time Revisionists.

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