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[liberationtech] Dave Winer calls for a Web Trust

justin saunders justin at
Tue Dec 14 11:07:17 PST 2010

I'd also like to chime in on point 3. A paid access model seems
counter-intuitive given the Wikileaks experience referenced as the
impetus for a Web Trust. A FOSS (including beer) model would seem to be
a requirement for such a Trust; real information independence can only
be based on principle and not on finances. Post-secondary institutions
(most of which have both endowments and paying students) imho illustrate
this fact; examples abound of the very kind of non-freedom from
corporations and government limitations mentioned in point 2.

Both the Internet Archive and Wikimedia Foundation spring to mind as
examples of lasting, non-profit information repositories; although the
purposes and practice of those orgs are somewhat different than what is
being proposed here, perhaps they would make useful case studies?


On 13/12/10 05:19 PM, Rebecca MacKinnon wrote:
>   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
> <> in NYC on WikiLeaks raised
> <> 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.  Permanent link to this item
> in the archive.
> <>
> 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. Permanent link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> These are just back-of-the-envelope scribbles. Consider this a
> discussion-starter for the next meetup. Permanent link to this item in
> the archive.
> <>
> 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.  Permanent
> link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> 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.
>  Permanent link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> 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. Permanent link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> 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. Permanent link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> 5. The trust must serve the bits exactly as they were published. *No
> advertising*.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.
> <>
> That's where I want to pick up the discussion. Permanent link to this
> item in the archive.
> <>
> -- 
> Rebecca MacKinnon
> Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
> Co-founder,
> Cell: +1-617-939-3493
> E-mail: rebecca.mackinnon at <mailto:rebecca.mackinnon at>
> Blog:
> Twitter:
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