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[liberationtech] Towards a Public Communication and Information Infrastructure

Doug Schuler douglas at
Sun May 8 20:57:48 PDT 2016

I'm currently working on a short paper — basically an editorial or op-ed —
on the idea of an open-ended, non-profit, citizen-led public alternative
communication and information infrastructure project. I’m not exactly sure
what that means but I’m envisioning something that supports a variety of
basic features that people use (search, chat, photo posting, etc. etc.) as
well as more advanced features such as deliberation, discussion,
collaboration, decision-making, etc. It would probably need to be built
with federated, integrated, distributed open source modules and be governed
by its users and developers in some sort of open public way. It would be
used without surveillance, data harvesting, censorship. The paper won't be
long and it certainly won't be authoritative or comprehensive; at this
point I'm just trying to help surface the idea and get feedback.

My plan is to build the case somewhat in the paper and to suggest some
ideas that are likely to be useful in thinking about moving forward. That's
why I'm writing to you all.

If you have any points or suggestions or examples that I need to know about
as I work forward I'd love to hear them. I probably won't be able to
incorporate everything in this initial piece but, ideally, as time goes on,
the suggestions you make would help inform the project.

Please send me your thoughts on this.


— Doug
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