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[liberationtech] Dave Winer calls for a Web Trust

Rebecca MacKinnon rebecca.mackinnon at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 14:19:31 PST 2010


http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html
A Web Trust to publish and store our creative work

By Dave Winer on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM.

The discussion at this weekend's flash
conf<http://personaldemocracy.com/pdfleaks>in NYC on WikiLeaks
raised <http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/11/moonMissions.html> the
question of where we can store our web writing and photos so that they are
as safe as they possibly can be. Trusting corporations to manage this is
obviously not a good idea. If this was theoretical before, it's now
pragmatic, after Amazon cut off WikiLeaks.  [image: Permanent link to this
item in the archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3740>

That suggests that we need a new kind of institution that is is part news
organization, university, library and foundation -- that acts as a guarantor
of best-possible freedom from corporate and government limitations. We
already know some things about this organization, I believe. [image:
Permanent link to this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3741>

These are just back-of-the-envelope scribbles. Consider this a
discussion-starter for the next meetup. [image: Permanent link to this item
in the archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3749>

1. It must be *long-lived*, like a university -- probably with an endowment,
and a board of trustees, and operations limited to what's described below.
It can't operate any other kind of business.  [image: Permanent link to this
item in the archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3742>

2. It must create a least-common-denominator storage system that is
accessible through HTTP. Everything must be done with *open formats* and
protocols, meaning all components of its system are replaceable.  [image:
Permanent link to this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3743>

3. It must cost money, so the *user is a customer* and is treated as one.
This also allows the vendor to assume its own independence from the
interests of the publisher who uses the system. The same way the operator of
a printing press was not responsible for the words he or she printed on the
paper. [image: Permanent link to this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3744>

4. *Simplicity* of the user experience is primary so it can be accessible to
as many as possible, and so that technical people don't provide yet another
filter for the free flow of ideas. Factor and re-factor for simplicity. [image:
Permanent link to this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3746>

5. The trust must serve the bits exactly as they were published. *No
advertising*.  [image: Permanent link to this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p3750>

That's where I want to pick up the discussion. [image: Permanent link to
this item in the
archive.]<http://scripting.com/stories/2010/12/13/weNeedAWebTrustToPublishAn.html#p9>


-- 
Rebecca MacKinnon
Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Co-founder, GlobalVoicesOnline.org
Cell: +1-617-939-3493
E-mail: rebecca.mackinnon at gmail.com
Blog: http://RConversation.blogs.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rmack
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