Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hired: I’m the new #Gov20 DC Correspondent for @OReillyMedia!

I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new job! Earlier today, I accepted an offer from Tim O’Reilly to be the Washington, D.C. correspondent on Government 2.0 for O’Reilly Media.

I’m hitting the ground running here in the District of Columbia, since O’Reilly’s upcoming 2010 Government 2.0 conference is only a few weeks away — and there’s plenty to do.

Over the following months, I expect to write – a lot – about how technology is being used to help citizens, cities and national governments solve big problems.

I also expect to frequently explain what “government 2.0” is, since the term is in my title! I’ve written before about the language of government 2.0, the history of disruptive innovation and the ways government adapts to technological change. That’s part of it. So is Tim O’Reilly’s concept of government 2.0 as a platform, naturally.

And so is writing about government transparency, the Open Government Directive, relaunches of .gov websites like SupremeCourt.gov or Reboot.gov, and the people behind the technologies that are driving change and innovation.

There’s no shortage of case studies to highlight, from the local town green right on up to the federal or international level. Just listen to the voices from the Gov2.0 LA unconference for a small sample of the perspectives on the issue.

O’Reilly’s goal in Washington D.C. is to “create a context in which people can think” differently about the role of technology in government, and the role of government in society. I look forward to helping to create that context.

In service of that goal, I’ll be blogging, conducting short interviews with government officials and industry participants, writing features and using the rest of the tools for digital curation I’ve been honing in the past several years.

I’m very excited to get started. I expect my new position to be challenging, engaging, rewarding, occasionally frustrating and never dull.

I also expect the process of writing about government 2.0 case studies to be a reciprocal process, as readers help me to understand more about what stories are important to them and which voices deserve to be heard.

I hope that in the days and months to come that you’ll share your perspectives, ideas and suggestions with me.

The story of government 2.0 is already being written every day by citizens, civic hackers, advocacy groups, government employees, researchers and technologists.

As a digital pilgrim, I look forward to chronicling that progress.

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Is it ethical for journalists to “friend” sources on Facebook or LinkedIn?

In this video, Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs & professor at the Columbia Journalism School, answers my question about whether it’s ethical for journalists to friend sources on social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. Sreenivasan was speaking at a workshop on social media tools and tips hosted by the Online News Association in Arlington, Virginia.

Sreenivasan has posted many useful social media resources.

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Sounds of Spring in Dyke Marsh

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Alexander B. Howard

Blog: https://digiphile.wordpress.com
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Federal court rules against @FCC in Comcast case, lacks authority to regulate net neutrality

As reported by the Associated Press, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia has ruled against the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) failed to show it had the Title 1 authority under the Communications Act of 1934 to tell Comcast what to do to enforce network neutrality rules over broadband Internet providers. The ruling is a significant victory for Comcast Corporation, which had been involved in a dispute with the FCC over network filtering of P2P filesharing software after its customers complained that the cable giant was interfering with P2P apps.

“The commission has failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast’s Internet service to any statutorily mandated responsibility,” stated a three-judge panel of the DC U.S. Court of Appeals.”

The FCC made the following statement:

 “The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies — all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers — on a solid legal foundation.
 
“Today’s court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.”

 

Today’s decision followed a January hearing where the federal court judges showed skepticism of the FCC’s authority to require broadband Internet providers to give equal treatment to packets as they moved over telecom networks. As Karl Bode writes at DSLreports, before Comcast’s win over the FCC:

Again, no FCC fine was levied, no new rules were imposed, and Comcast barely saw a wrist slap for lying to consumers and the press multiple times, in both filings and in print, about throttling all customer traffic, 24/7 using user packet forgery.

Comcast ultimately shifted to a clear 250 GB monthly cap and a more intelligent and less blunt force method of targeting network congestion. Still, Comcast never much liked the precedent the FCC’s actions set, so Comcast lawyers have spent the last few years trying to argue that the FCC never had the authority to dictate how Comcast manages its network. The FCC found themselves on uncertain legal footing because the rather flimsy network neutrality principles (pdf) created by previous FCC administrations were painfully vague.

The decision creates a roadblock in the FCC’s path towards moving forward with elements of its national broadband plan. The decision might mean, for instance, the FCC lacks the necessary powers it requires to shift spectrum from TV companies to wireless providers.

As a result of the ruling, Comcast and other broadband service providers may reasonably be expected to filter P2P filesharing again. As Cecilia Kang reports at the Washington Post the FCC’s loss in the court “comes just days before the agency accepts final comments on a separate open Internet regulatory effort this Thursday. And the agency will be faced with a steep legal challenge going forward as it attempts to convert itself from a broadcast- and phone-era agency into one that draws new rules for the Internet era.”

The full text of the Comcast vs FCC ruling is embedded below. As comment from the FCC and Comcast becomes available, I’ll post it here.

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Cherry Blossom Festival and Spring Flowers in DC

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